Radio Gaga

As we wander through the crowded market, having finished our shopping, we are overwhelmed in what seems like a never-ending maze, jam-packed with people. The question of how to end our day lingers. A perfect white smile forms on the little Ghanaian girl, Hagar, who has latched onto the three Americans. “You want to meet my family?” she asks hopefully. With these words the three of us perk up, because none of us had signed up for a home stay while in port with Semester at Sea. We are thrilled to be invited to a Ghanaian home.

“We will have to take a taxi,” Hagar says a bit more sheepishly, thinking that this will be a deal breaker.

“Ok,” I reply automatically, and my two friends promptly agree.

Hager is taken aback by our enthusiasm, as it equals her own excitement.

The cab drives quickly for a few miles heading out of town, drops us off on a dusty road, and is off again. A pack of goats along with some small children stick their heads out at us from behind a mundane concrete house. “Come,” Hager tells us, as she ushers us down the path to her home.

We are warmly welcomed by most of her family; however, her father stands back awhile. He ponders the three Americans before he shakes our hands. He sits quietly next to me, and I can feel his eyes as he studies my every move. An idea appears to materialize in his mind, because he suddenly whispers something to Hagar.

Before I know what is going on, I am on my feet again. We follow Hagar and her father down the dirt road to some kind of outdoor office building. As we approach, one of my friends says, “It’s a radio station.”

We walk through a green front door, and the world seems to come to a standstill, but only for a moment. An excited shudder passes over the faces of the three Ghanaians standing near the sound booth. A familiar song is playing, so I sing along to Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean,” as our group quickly tours the broadcasting room.

An intoxicating sensation comes over me when I hear the word “interview.” Do we really get to be on the radio? Sure enough, the Ghanaians sit us down in front of the microphones. A handsome looking DJ asks us about our purpose in Ghana, and we give a brief narrative of our journey.

“You do jingles now,” Hagar tells us.

“More radio time,” we are all thinking. “How cool is this?”

In my best cheesy voice, I proclaim how much I love 94.7. The three of us all sound enthusiastic as our voices play back to us. And why shouldn’t we be excited; how many people get to be on the radio? In Ghana! The thrill on our faces is matched, if not intensified, by the pleasure these Ghanaians get as we promote their show.

I couldn’t really tell who was more excited about the three of us getting to be on the radio: we three out-of-towners or our new friends. We were feeling a bit like stars when, on the drive back to the harbor we heard our voices blaring from the radio. But our new friends must have felt like they had just struck gold as they broadcast the voices of three Americans.

—Hannah Ledyard

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