Monday, March 23, 2009


Sssssssssssssss! is the sound used in Ghana to get someone's attention amidst all the street noises. It's very effective. This sharp hissing sound stands out very well and it takes little effort to make or to make loud. An "excuse me" probably wouldn't work with the other bustling noises around.

In the U.S., whistling is often used or maybe snapping the fingers or a sharp shout of "Hey!" Maybe you know how you might get someone's attention in another culture and can share it with us in the comments section.

After you get someone's attention, a good thing to learn right away in Twi (tchwee)is: " Mepaakyew, me pe nsuo." This means in English, "Please, I'd like some water." Twi uses many symbols I won't be able to print, so these are rough examples.

Mepaakyew (please) is pronounced like "May-PAH-cho" or "May-POW-cho". Me pe (I'd like) is pronounced "May-PAY" and Nsuo (water) is pronounced "En-SUE-oh".

"May-PAH-cho, may PAY en-SUE-oh" I'd like some water please.

Or if you're hungry, You might say "Me pe jollof" (May pay JOE-lof). Jollof is a very delicious dish of fried rice wrapped around some meat such as chicken along with some salad mixed in. Yum or "Eh DAY PAH PAH!"

Cold water is everywhere in the cities of Ghana. The hygienic water is packed in square plastic sachets (bags) of 500ml and are often sold by women and children who carry the sathets of water in baskets on their heads. With your teeth, you rip open a little opening in the corner to suck out the water. The sachets cost 5 pesewas or about 4 U.S. cents.

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