The Scene in Ghana

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So far, the massive crowds that the Secret Service feared woudl clog up the Barack Obama’s motorcade routes have not materialized, which is not to say that the nation of Ghana is not thrilled by the presidential visit. Hundreds at a time have gathered along the roads, before clogged neighborhoods and open fields where kids play shoeless soccer. Even as the press busses pass, they wave and chant Obama’s name, many wearing t-shirts that bear the U.S. president’s likeness. Photo’s of Barack and Michelle line the road, and one billboard near the convention center, where Obama is set to give an address in a few hours, welcomes both the President and “Honors Our First ‘Rock’ Michelle Obama.” Another sign simply says to the first couple, “Ghana adores you.”

Obama began the day, following the morning trip to the hotel gym, with a short motorcade to the Ghanian Presidential Castle, which is perched on the sea. One man played a trombone as Obama’s limousine passed by. “Show some love for Ghana and President of United States of America,” an announcer called out as Obama and his wife approached a diplomatic tent, where a portion of the ceremony took place. A reggae-style song played, which included an “O-bama, O-bama” refrain. (The song is “Barack Obama” by the artist Blakk Rasta. See the music video here.) The president did a brief shimmy.

Meanwhile, over at Accra International Convention Center, where Obama is coming to speak this afternoon, dozens of Ghanian officials have gathered, dressed in brightly colored quilted sheets, which they drape around their body, leaving one shoulder exposed. The speech is scheduled to begin at 12:40 p.m. local time, or 8:40 a.m. on the east coast of the United States.