Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ghana, No. 11

Storm Clouds in Esiama

Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011

Yesterday was a lazy Saturday. I didn't get out of bed before 2pm from a combination of boredom, and the fact that if I can sleep until 2pm, I might as well--such occasions don't regularly occur. The sky was overcast and the day was cool, in comparison to the high 90sF I've become accustomed to. Louise was around in the morning, and Doris was around in the afternoon. I'm starting to realize that they just come over for the television, which is fine. They show no real interest in getting to know me as a person, which means I don't have to invest much in them. They are often coming around with cousins or friends, and when they do, they don't include me in their conversations, in fact today, Doris moved two chairs outside so they could speak freely without worry of my ears close by.

Dr. Peace met me this morning and we walked to church together. It was another sweaty, loud, musical service during which I was asked to stand up and say a few words. I was also not forced into the offering this Sunday, which made it more of a delight to open up my wallet. While approaching the offering container, I realized that a lot of the people don't actually put money in the offering container, they just pretend to. It should be noted that the offering is like a Congo line- maybe they just want to dance. Indeed, it seems church here is more about music and singing rather than learning to live in the grace of God with an open heart and an open hand.

Dr. Peace and his son came over for a visit after church. He brought his laptop and wireless card so I could spend sometime online. No emails from home. A sad thing. We also talked about life in the US and Ghana, what people in Ghana don't understand about americans, what is holding their people back. It was interesting. He also asked me what my intentions were coming to Ghana. I've realized that Charles nor Dr. Peace actually ever read the proposal for my trip to Ghana. A big disappointment, which perhaps explains why they don't get that I really just want to spend my time with the orphans. And, no matter how many times I articulate this to them, when I ask to go I am told to take a day of rest and that we will go tomorrow.

The good news out of all of this is that I'm told the children ask for me, a sign they had fun out one night together. It's funny, they ask for me, I ask for them, and yet I'm told to rest. This experience is incredibly frustrating. But lessons are being learned, and even if my time with them is brief, I know that they and I will benefit from each other's presence.

You can blow out their candle, but you cannot blow out their fire.
-African apartheid proverb

Sunday evening, Feb. 20, 2011

Evening Beach Walk
I decided to go for a walk on the beach after waking from my nap. Doris and Louise are getting on my nerves a bit and I was looking forward to the alone time, out of the house and in the sunshine. Walking through the town and on the beach I received even more attention than before when walking with Doris. I am starting to become immune to it with passing smiles and waves, and the occasional answer of, "babrini how are you I am fine thank you."

I stopped by Dr. Peace's on my way back from the beach and we arranged for him to meet me at 6pm to head to the orphanage together.

When he came to pick me up Doris and Louise followed. While there I passed out the shells, bracelets, and chapstick that traveled with me for them, I gave 3 of the boys notebooks- the ones I've become fond of, and sang songs with them. We had a great time laughing, clapping, taking photos-it was wonderful. The next evening I am there I will bring paper and markers for them to draw with-I can't wait. I spoke with the older kids about writing letters to the FCC's youth group, to start a pen friend campaign and they responded. We will start writing the letters sometime this week. I'm already thinking of small things I can send them when I get back: soccer balls, colored pencils, notebooks, reading books--so many things I know they would love and appreciate and use. A lot of the orphaned were kids from the class I taught on Friday--some of the quickest ones and most outgoing. I really hope they grow up to be the young leader's of Ghana, they deserve ample blessings in their lives.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

The Two Youngest at Word Alive
Took three showers today: morning, after school, before bed, all with cockroaches--fantastic (note sarcasm).

I had a great day at the school. My first ten minutes on the compound where spent at the nursery school with Rapheal, assistant hard master, at the nursery singing songs with the little ones.

Savior, the eldest male orphan who took the photos last night, came over and got me: JHS2 English had requested me. Walking around I noticed that a lot of the orphans were wearing their rope bracelets--fantastic (note NO sarcasm). The class was focused on vocabulary and reading comprehension. I told the students if we cranked through the exercises we could spend the rest of the time talking and they could ask me anything they liked- they were into this, and after finishing the exercises and assigning homework we were deep in chat.

Questions included:

  • How old are you?
  • Are you married and how many children do you have?
  • Why are you not married?
  • What countries have you been to?
  • What is your whole name? (Ghanians have MANY names)
  • Why did you come here?

By the end of our 20 minute chat we had covered a lot of territory, and a couple of the girls totally supported the notion of being an independent, working female, the first in Ghana to understand and appreciate this.

My next two classes were art classes, the first class with the first grade equivalent and the second class back with the sixth grade equivalent I had taught both English and French last Thursday. Both classes were focused on weaving. The first graders have a hard time with english, even though it is what they are suppose to be speaking in school, Doris, their class teacher, explains everything in their local language. I let Louise (she is the art, "visual arts" teacher) take over this class as the students had NO IDEA what was coming out of my mouth- regardless of how slow I articulated my words.

She had them use scraps of paper to weave, which proved difficult with the wind sipping through the classroom through the windows- it was all a little ridiculous. By the end of the class I was walking them through a step-by-step tutorial of how to draw a palm tree- they had fun, and were excited to produce something they could keep, and many were proud showing off their finished drawings.

I had a break between the classes, and decided to think of something more involved than weaving scraps of paper for my sixth grade class- especially considering I've become very fond of this group. The answer was weaving with palm leaves. There are PLENTY around the school and Alfred and Dr. Peace were amused by the idea. They gathered a student and some machetes, and palms were gather. I was able to weave a sample mat before heading into the class.

Walking in, the students were thrilled to see me and it felt good. I asked for a couple of boys to help me (carry in the palms - I didn't tell them what we were going to do though) and Bizmark, one of my dearest orphans, volunteered and as we were walking to the palm pile he said, "thank you very much for last night." Right then, I realized why I came here in the first place. The administration and the bureaucracy are just obstacles, I came here for the kids and they are the source of my joy during the time I am here, which is difficult in many ways, but far more rewarding when balanced on a scale of the kids' experiences with me.

Walking into the class with 8 foot palm branches, the children were making all sorts of noises and I could already feel their excitement. Louise arrived and she offered to be the picture taker, which was perfect as I really wanted this to be of my own efforts and doings. I handed her my iPhone. The kids and I had a blast. They were so proud of their finished products, and other children, students, and even Raphael were peeking their heads through the open windows and doors to see and take in the fun. I loved it.

Returning back to my temporary home, I was exhausted, covered in dirt and sweat, and totally thrilled. After a small lunch and brief rest, I threw on my sundress and walked to the beach. I was hoping that after a week of being in the village the attention would calm down a bit, this was not the case. Regardless, once I made my way through the rows of huts and arrived at the shoreline, I was by myself in the sunshine and enjoying the cool ocean around my feet and ankles.

Walking back up to the house, I passed my neighbor, Frederick, the bank manager's son, who mentioned that I should invite him along next time so I don't have to go it alone - less annoying comments when you've got a local by your side. So, next time I'll take him up on that. It will be nice to get to know a local too, besides Doris and Louise, for whom I've got some reservations.
Delicious and Large Pineapple
I spent the evening on the porch watching the sunset, listening to music and writing. I saw the transition of the sky from setting sun to evening stars, it was lovely. I then ate the most delicious pineapple, and watched some interesting African television programing. I went to bed after a cold shower, and had a peaceful, cool sleep.

© Habit & Style, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...