25 January 2010
Today, got up at 7:30 and set out to find building ZK. It was not on the map, so I ended up asking the porter, a student and a library employee for help. The porter suggested looking in the Zoology building, I suppose because of the ‘Z.’ Unfortunately, this building happens to be way out in the boonies of campus. I decided that if I was going to go there, I had better know for sure that this was the right location. So I asked a student. He was confused by the letters I gave him and he started listing other main lecture buildings that sounded nothing like ZK. (Which by the way, is pronounced ‘zed kay’ here. I haven’t stopped getting a kick out of that. Not that it comes up often.) At one point he asked a question that I thought was, “Is it Emily?” And I spent a moment being confused, because I had not remembered his name, but figured maybe I had forgotten that I had told him, so eventually I said yes. But then he said, “Oh, okay, I can show you where MLA is, but it is a language hall, are you sure you have a class there?” He had said ‘MLA,’ not ‘Emily’. Strike two. At that point, I had gotten close to the library, which is roughly at the center of campus, as far as my sense of direction can tell. I figured, hey, maybe people at the library know things about the campus. I asked a few men there, and they passed me from person to person. Finally, one man took a look at my paper and asked, “Is [ZK] a book?” As patiently as I could at this point, explained with the little knowledge I had, that no, this was a place where I had a lecture. And he seemed confused, but then acted like he knew where this place was. He walked with me out of the library, because Ghanaians tend to go out of the way to be helpful, especially when we say ‘hello.’ A lot of “hello-ing” goes on in Ghana, which is cool. At the end of our short journey, we were at the bookstore. He told me to take a staircase and I would end up at my classroom. This seemed unlikely, but I had no other leads, so up the stairs I went. Sure enough, at the top I found some stored materials and an empty classroom. Not what I was looking for. Finally, I decided to head to the music department. I figured I probably wasn’t going to find the class on time, but that I could at least maybe figure out where it would be next week. So I got there and checked out the notice board and guess what?! ZK is not a building! It’s a professor. Rather, his initials. The class was not in some grand lecture hall, but rather, in a small classroom by the music offices. Yay! I made it!
I saw a couple people I knew in the class, mostly from doing Beauty and the Beast. I sat and waited and met some of the other students for a while. Finally, a professor walked in. I couldn’t understand what he was saying at first but I gradually found out that he was not the professor for the class but someone else from the music dept. He had come to make sure we didn’t leave class and tried to steer conversation in the direction of Southern African music. He didn’t try teaching it, but he did want people to stop having their own conversations. This wasn’t very well received. I’m not exactly sure what triggered it, but students started standing up and giving passionate speeches about having to take required courses for the major that they didn’t think they should have to take. They had a lot to say. The rant topic evolved into one about the music department being the most disorganized and flawed at the University. And really, after dealing with numerous departments, I’m inclined to agree. Oh, because did I mention that when I was talking with someone before class, he told me didn’t think they’d had a professor to teach voice for a while now? Awesome. Richard, my voice teacher at Goucher, will be thrilled.
Anyway, the professor stayed calm in a bored but power trip kind of way (if that makes any sense) and made a lame attempt to address these concerns. I’m not really sure why that man wanted us to stay in the classroom that whole time, but we were there for the whole period and the professor never showed. Whiz-bang of a first class at University of Ghana.
A little later I walked to Culture and Society, Poli Sci class, with a couple friends. Most ginormous class I have ever been in. I think it fit 500? Whoa. The lecturer was over 30 min. late, but he did arrive to give a basic overview of conflict and have us draw a tree that was supposed to be a symbol for conflict. I imagine it will get more interesting eventually. I hope. I drew a pretty sweet tree though.