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Akwaaba in Ghana

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Kyla, YES Abroad 2019-2020, Ghana

 

When starting to learn Twi, one of the primary languages in Ghana, the first word we will learned was “akwaaba” which means “welcome.” The first word you learn in other languages is often “hello” or “my name is...” but in Ghana, it’s “akwaaba.” This didn’t make sense at the time, but it didn’t take long to understand. Everywhere I go, I hear that familiar word, but I think I heard it the most when I went to my host family’s church for the first time. At the end of the service, new people were asked to introduce themselves, and I raised my hand. I was rushed to the front of the church and told time and time again that I was welcome. The pastor shook my hand and met with me after the service, asking how I liked Ghana and, again, saying that I was welcome. Months later, I continue to feel just as welcomed by my host community!