19 November 08 First Birthday in Ghana

I am sitting in my hall in my new permanent home. In Ghana the living room is called the hall. I am wearing a costume tiara, eating M&Ms and Smarties. A goat is outside my window coughing. This is the perfect ending to a wonderful day. When I woke up I decided today would be a day to eat things I love. I had already planned Beef Stew for supper but not the rest of the meals. So for breakfast I made myself scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, garlic and green pepper. I had hot milo (a chocolate drink) and ice cold water with it. I enjoyed my breakfast with the BBC and a puzzle. The past two weeks have been crazy busy. I assigned essays to my students, all 220 of them, and have been correcting them. I am planning a practical exam for my end of term exam so that has involved a lot of scheduling with the classes to get them all into the computer lab. (as I wrote that long convuluted sentence I can see my notes on 3 out of 5 students papers – “It is often better to write two short sentences than one long one. Remember a sentence expresses one complete thought!”) And I moved into my permenant home last weekend. So instead of the relaxed lifestyle I invisioned I felt busier than I had been in the US. As a birthday present to myself I took the morning off. After breakfast I made lime/orange ade and put it in the freezer. Oh does that feel and taste so good on a hot afternoon. It’s my favorite drink/treat. Then I went to visit Perpetua. We are only about 100 yards from each other but it feels like a long way after having daily contact. I told her it was my birthday. She yelled at me for not telling her before and then wished me happy birthday. She said to come back tonight and we would have minerals. We visited. Before I left I asked for a Pawpaw leaf to wrap my beef chunks in. Pawpaw is supposed to tenderize meat. I made my beef stew when I returned home. Gari is an excellent substitute for flour to thicken the stew. I had onions, garlic, potatos and carrots. The only thing missing was the peas. Liz would be happy! She always hated peas. I like to make the stew early because the flavors blend during the day. Also I had classes at 11, 3 then 5 so there wouldn’t be much time between classes to cook. For my bath I used 6 dippers of water. I usually use only 4 so this was an extravagance. I washed my hair as well. I used my scrub on my face. And I shaved. Almost a spa day! Before class I had to visit 3C so I got to see my favorite class on my birthday. The girls all wished me a happy birthday. They flattered my shamelessly about my age. I loved every minute of it. 3C is Home Economics and there are only two boys in the class. Throughout the morning Simona was sending me birthday wishes by text message. So my morning felt very festive. I didn’t get home from class until about 1:00. I planned gari and sardines for lunch but it actually seemed like too much trouble. So I decided to make Groundnut paste and honey instead. It was delicious. I ate it with my frozen lime/orange ade. After lunch I sat in my hall and did another puzzle. What a relief to stop reading and correcting essays. I was thrilled not to be unpacking anything else. And the exam schedule was finally finished. My Beth friend called as I was doing my puzzle. It was so good to hear her voice. In the middle of afternoon classes my phone rang. I promised myself I would answer my phone whenever it rang today. I didn’t want to miss birthday calls. Mary from PC was calling to say she was coming to visit that afternoon. It was already 4:00 pm. I was a little miffed but then I realized she was bring my packages from Accra. I would have presents on my birthday!!!! I really NEED presents on my birthday. Ask any friend they will tell you I am as bad as a 5 year old about my birthday. Last year I pretty much demanded a surprise party. Two boxes came with Mary. Mary also bought me a box of OJ and some crackers for my birthday. My first birthday present of the day. She sat in on my 5:00 class for about 45 minutes. About 7:00 Perpetua called and said I was disapointing her because I wasn’t home. I had completely forgot to tell her I had class until 7. I said I was coming small small. When I got to her house she had cooked banku, talapia and cabbage salad. There were 5 other people there to share my b-day meal. Surprise! and I didn’t even ask for it. When Perpetua served me my plate she said “When you next celebrate your birthday in America you can say that you had banku and talapia for your first birthday in Ghana.” Dizzy sang Happy Birthday to me. She also did a floor show dancing to three songs. I learned a couple of new moves from her! She was almost as excited as I was. I came home about 9:00 pm and I remembered I had two packages to open. The first one I opened was from my mom. There were plenty bubblegums and smarties. But the best part was the fitted sheet. I haven’t been able to find fitted sheets here and every day I must put my bed all back together. She also sent stickers, pencils and a LED reading lamp. Thanks Mom! I thought the next box was from my brother Dennis and his wife Mel. But no it was from the Lucy Robbins Welles Library. M&Ms. Costume Tiara. Birthday paper plates. Birthday table clothe. Noise makers. Candles. A radio pendrive. AND MOUSE PADS! MOUSE PADS! Wow Jeanette and Helen really know how to help me celebrate. Thank you my dear friends. In one of my first emails about teaching I lameted that there were no mouse pads. Jeanette sent the word out to Connecticut Libraries. She posted on ConnTech listserve that I needed mouse pads in Ghana. Connecticut libraries came through, as usual. I have enough mouse pads to last me the next year at least. Thanks CT Librarians. You rule. My third roll of smarties is finished. I have eaten two handfulls of M&Ms. The combs in the tiara are beginning to hurt my scalp. It is with a happy heart from the love of friends near and far that I will end this posting. Happy Birthday to ME! -vc


1 Comment

  1. Patty Foley said,

    December 6, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Hey Vicky – Happy Birthday! ok a few days late 🙂 I miss you at the library! Your blog popped up on a search for LRW. Always like to know when our great library is mentioned.

    but anyway – I’ll be reading to enjoy your adventure. Keep well!
    always a Friend!

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