I Love Ghana 23 November 08

Joe B from the Peace Corps was visiting the area this weekend. He delivered some long lost packages and mail to me. Packages came from Melanie and Dennis, one from Beth, small ones from Mom and Dawn. Then a bundle of letters, Newsweeks and postcards came as well. One reason I love Ghana is that family and friends in America don’t seem so far away. The world is very small. I communicate with people in America. They send me things in the mail that I have asked for. Thanks for the Gold Bond Beth. Thanks for the Basil seeds Den and Mel. Thanks for the Werthers Jack. And they send me things they know I will love. Thanks for the Bubble Gum Mom. Thanks for the hippo puppet Dawn! So with Email, the cell phone and snail mail the people I love in America don’t seem so far away.

 

My front yard was full of kids this morning. It’s amazing I think they all must have smelled the Tootsie Pop I gave to Elizabeth. They all came, first Dizzy, then Rose and her brother, Ephasia followed. Elizabeth said we should call Monica over and give her a toffee. (Remember here all candy is toffee.) Abigail and Doris arrived by bike. Who am I forgetting. Oh yes the girl who came with Ephasia and Abraham who came with Rose.  When I got Tootsie Pops for the last three I remembered that I hadn’t gotten myself one. When they all saw I had an extra there was pandamonium! Six or seven little hands reaching. Little voices pleading to be the one to have a second toffee. “Doesn’t Madam Vic get a toffee?” I asked.  A chorus of “Oh yes Madam Vic” arose.  We sat on the stoop in the not hot hamattan breeze and licked our lollies! I love Ghana because Toffee can make our day

 

Then I remembered I had to do laundry. My favorite dress, purple of course, was dirty. So I started getting the stuff out. Five sets of hands were there to help me. Ephasia, Elizabeth and Monica immediately took over when I started to wash. Apparently I don’t have the right technique. They all tried to show me and it was Elizabeth who finally got through to me. There is no way to describe how to hand wash my clothes correct. Who knew there was a right and a wrong way. The girls were flabergasted that I didn’t know how. They asked “Didn’t you wash clothes in America?” “No” I replied and paused for effect. The mixture of looks on their faces was wonderful. Horror, amazement, wonder….. Then I continued “A machine washed my clothes.” Looks of relief were the most prevalent. I think for a moment they imagined people all over America wearing really dirty clothes.  I love Ghana because we help each other

 

I just sent Thomas out the door with a bowl full of chicken soup.  He came to me this evening and said “Teach me to eat your food.” I had the soup in the fridge so I pulled it out and put it on the stove. We sat down in the hall to eat. He had a few bites and said “My mother should taste this.” He had a few more and said “My father should taste this.” I told him to take it to his house if he would like.  He checked with me again about the correct procedure for dipping the bread in the broth and covered the bowl and left!  I love Ghana because we teach each other

 

Last night Francis, the assistant headmaster, invited me into his house to eat banku. They were watching a Nigerian movie when I came in. While his wife prepared the banku Francis showed me the family photo album. She brought out one serving of banku and soup for me.  I thought that they must have all eaten. So I ate. Unlike me I did not say “Have you already eaten?”.  I committed two faux paus one I walked into the house with my sandals on. Two when I started eating I forgot to say “You are invited.” Then when I finished. Francis’s wife brought out everyone else’s meal. Again I didn’t ask, but I need to know!  While they ate Francis had Thomas put in a home video of the 2006 Foek Festival.  I love Ghana because I was invited into a home, shown family media and given a meal. Who knew I would have a chance to watch the dreaded vacation video in Ghana! Really it was interesting. I can’t wait to go to the festival this year

 

When I was saying good bye I said to Francis’s wife that I was going to have to cook for them during vacation because she had cooked for me three times that week. She said “Oh no. You are a stranger and we want to welcome you.” I love Ghana because I was a stranger and they welcomed me. My skin is white. I talk funny. I mess up on their customs and culture so many times. Yet they welcome me

 

The debate club debated the merits of the oil that has been found in Ghana.  The student turned out in their Sunday whites ready to listen to their fellow students debate this topic. It’s all very civilized. I have never been involved in school debating so it could be this way everywhere. Each side had three speakers. The first lays the foundation of the arguments. The second one builds the structure. And the third adds the finishing touches. The students are passionate. They are nervous. They are confident. They have researched. They have not researched. But they are all learning a very valuable skill of standing in front of people and presenting a speech. I love Ghana because I get to be a judge in a school debate.

 

When I open my door in the morning I look across the dirt road and see a field. The grasses are drying to a golden brown. When I walk to school the butterflies dance around me. Yellow one here. That lovely black and white with a splash of a color I can’t quite make out in front of me. The brown ones there. Goats cough! Who Knew!  I can sit and watch a young male goats head butt. Roosters crow morning, noon and night. Wait that might not be a plus. The hamattan breeze is warm and dry. When I walk home from class after noon, the sun is hot, the air is dry and there is a gentle breeze. Oh I love the warm sun on my skin. The rains during the rainy season are wild and unpredictable. At night the sky is so clear and the stars are so bright. I can see the milky way. Juipter and Mars are up in the early evening and all of Scorpio visible in this part of the world. I love Ghana because it reminds me that the world God created can be so beautiful
 

-vc

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