Adjusting 30 Aug 08

Adjusting 30 August 2008

If I write in this journal of my experiences in Ghana that I am or was depressed please family and friends don’t freak out. Rachel, another PCV, said sure there are days that I want to curl up on the bed and never move but I had those days in America too.  This is a huge change and things have been changing for the past three months well even more for me since I left my job in May. So there will be days I need to adjust my attitude.

So I will write and you will not freak out….yesterday evening and this morning I was depressed. I wondered if I could really make the move to this very foreign, very poor, very third world country. I was focusing on the things that are hard or that are very different from what I am use to. When I was laying in bed this morning the problems seemed so large.

At 7:00 am I decided to get up and then I remembered I have my own gas cooker now! I have tea, powdered milk and sugar! I can make a cup of tea. A lilttle bit of independence and something familiar were enough to get me going in the right direction. Then I turned on the radio and found a station playing Rachmoninoff (no way is that spelled correctly). This piece was used as the theme in one of my all time favorite movies – Somewhere in Time. As I ate my tomato and cucumber salad for breakfast and listened my mood picked up.

The morning was overcast and relatively cool.I went outside to buy some bread and eggs from Madame PP (Perpetua) and met my little friend Dizzy.  We went for a walk. The rainy season is the time for the flowers to come out. And Dizzy was the one to show me where they were. So off we went into the open grassland to find flowers. We also found an ant colony. I saw a cameleon that looked exactly like the dirt road goat droppings and all! They are amazing. I am not sure I really believed in them until I saw them here.

I returned Dizzy home for her tea. When I went back to my apartment I thought what shall I do now? How many times have I said I wish I had days to take photographs. That I would never be bored if I was taking photos. So I got my camera out took my longer lens and went in search of the flowers Dizzy and I had found before. After her tea Dizzy found me and she lead me to the school office building. We went to the top floor and oh what a beautiful view. The savanah is grassland but it is not only grass there are trees as well.

In our explorations we met Abigail and a couple of other children. We returned to my house. Abigail had her ICT test and some of her textbook with her. I shoed the children out and Abigail and I talked a little while.

Then Jennifer, Evelyn and Doris came over and we all played Dash. Dash is a Ghanian card game much like UNO but you use a regular deck of cards. These girls play to win but they also help each other. There is much looking over to other peoples cards and admonishments to play that card or calls to change the suit to this one. Funny enough sometimes the suit is changed to the one called out. Or reminders that you can do this or that. But after three hours of visiting and cards I called an end to the Sandema Girls Card Club and said I had work to do. I wanted to look through the photos I had taken that morning.

Again I took advantage of the new freedom of the gas cooker and made egg salad.  When the eggs were boiling I went to the front of the house to Madame Pps store and bought a coke for forty pesowas. Next to the store I saw her husband, Kampusi, digging a big round circle in the ground. I said what are you doing? He was making the foundation for a summer hut. I asked permission to take photos of the process and he agreed, So I ran to the house to get my camrera and took some photos. I asked what next and he said concrete for the foundation. I asked if he would send Dizzy when they were ready with the concrete and he agreed.

I went back and fixed my lunch. For some reason I felt the need to butter the bread for the open faced sandwiches. I never buttered my bread in the USA. I made four open faced egg salad sandwiches, two had a slice of tomato on top and two were pure egg salad joy! Dizzy came and I shared one egg salad sandwich with her. Then her dad called in to my house and said that they were going to make the concrete. So I spent the rest of the afternoon watching them work on the summer hut. I cannot wait for the summer hut to be finished!

So yes I was depressed and yes this is a sometimes a hard thing I am doing but like Rachel said even in America I had blue days. Today I reminded myself that getting out, doing something I love and hanging with people are all good ways to help make my adjustment to Ghana easier.

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1 Comment

  1. Kat Ryan said,

    September 26, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Vicky,
    I have been following you since the beginning of training and reliving my own training and my two years in Ghana (1969-1971). We were the first ever training program to train completely in Ghana, and I can see the bones of our program in yours. We started training in Winneba and ended at Legon where we were sworn in as volunteers. There was no big ceremony, just a raise your right hands, but we were thrilled to be volunteers. Your mentioning Bolga today got me to write. I was stationed in Bolga at what was Women’s Training College which, I understand, is now a secondary school. It was on the road to Navrongo, close to the hospital. The second reason is your feeling depressed. I smiled as I read the beginning of this entry as I remember writing almost the same thing. I’d tell my friends that by the time they’d read my depressing letter, I was probably just fine and not to worry. I was alone for the first time, totally depressed, and I gave myself until Christmas. I checked my mailbox three and four times a day hungry for letters from home. I don’t remember when all that changed, but it did, over time. I felt at home, and I was seldom depressed after that (except for the time with the boils but I’ll leave it at that). I often forgot to check the mail. Letters sat a few days before I’d remember. I was happy and busy.

    It has already begun for you as well. You got up and out, made your lunch and admired the flowers. I have my memories. You get to make them every single day. It doesn’t get more wonderful than that.


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