Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10-15-10...didnt get to post this till today


The 2 month mark has been passed! Lots has happened. Here goes. I seem to be posting once every 2 weeks. I know it’s a lot-Space it out!

2 weeks ago:

The weekend before last Jarret, Mo, Anna Rose and I went to Togo. And it was awesome. Togo is on the Eastern border of Ghana and things are a bit different there. You tro-tro 3 hours, wait in line and fill out repetitive forms, get your visa checked and BAM! You are now in a whole new country! Togo’s streets are beautiful. You won’t see any curbside gutters, which makes it so you rarely smell that septic smell so present in Ghana city streets. You need to go somewhere? Flag down a motorcycle taxis and whip out your best French skills because Togo is French-speaking and they have CRAZY amounts of motorcycles filling the streets. While walking on one block around 7pm I counted all motorcycles that passed and I got up to 53. Yea- Sweet, right? It is the best feeling in the world riding on the back of one in the sun with the wind in your face. Look to the right and what do you see? Only a white sandy beach littered with Palm trees, fisherman and naked children. We had a great time, much to the fact that we were generously hosted by Sean’s couch surfing friend Kokouvi. One of the highlights about Togo was the food. God bless the French for croissants and bagettes…Real bread, mmmmmmm. We also got fresh healthy hamburgers and crème cakes. Yum!
Ohhhhh I forgot about the Fetish market in Togo. Fetish markets are for local medicines and magic. Like local voodoo. They have little wooden dolls and leopard skins and dog/cat/bird/alligator/monkey heads, porcupine needles (for asthma), dried lizards, a gorilla foot (to help you be a better goalie), ostich and elephant foot, sea turtle head, bulls heads. CrAzY stuff. Kinda gross. We got to meet the voodoo priest and our tourguide explained a lot of local beliefs. Really interesting.

Last week:

I finally got to interview with the microfinance community development NGO that I was interested in. I start that on Monday and I am a little nervous about traveling independently even though it is super easy to get to. I really hope that this will work out. I have felt restless because this has taken so long to get set up and I have felt a bit disappointed because the internship was one of my main prerogatives for this semester.
Day after my interview: I flew to AMERICA!!! My beautiful Mom and Oma picked me up from the airport and I spent the next few days eating glorious American food and hanging out with family in preparation for my brother’s marriage on that Saturday. The rehearsal dinner was great and everyone got up and told stories about the couple. Oma’s was my favorite I think. Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves and I loved it. The wedding was beautiful. I was a bridesmaid and I cried like a baby up there. The sermon was solid and the ceremony was brief. The organ filled the wooden church with music and I was overflowing with Joy when they walked down the isle as man and wife. That whole 3 days was a whirlwind. I am so thankful that I got to be a part of Luke and Anna’s wedding ( I even got to sign their marriage contract as a witness!) and I am so thankful that I got to see so many friends and family at the wedding. Family from Canada, Michigan, New York, North Carolina all in one house at times .
It was strange to be back in the US. In some ways I prefer Africa. It was a lot to see so many people at the same time and to try to answer the question: “How’s Africa? What’s it like?” I try but I think it is one of those things that you really have to see for yourself. All the quirky differences are nothing when you live somewhere. It is all normal. I find it interesting how little we know about other cultures. Even here in Ghana many Ghanaians I have met have never been 3 hours to visit Togo. They think they won’t be able to communicate and they have no desire to visit. In my mind I feel sorry that they will never ride a moto-taxi, play on those beautiful beaches or eat that great food. Same with Americans, like me before this semester, who have no idea about Africa: there is so much goodness missed out on when all we think about Africa is a tribal National Geographic episode or a Compassion commercial. I didn’t even really care to travel all that much before now but I am glad I came somewhere so unknown as Ghana and so mysterious as Africa.

On arrival back to school , I felt weird about being in the US. In some ways I prefer America. It made me homesick pretty bad for a few days. It sucks that I can’t live two lives at the same time. It sucks that I have to miss out on my life there to expand it here. The visit from school friends on Sunday was so great. It made me want to call home more so that when I get back there isn’t a question of how I am doing or where I have been. It is so hard to communicate it all at once. I love those girls. On the plane I opened a second packet of love letters from friends (and Grace) in the States who couldn’t visit but wanted to send a word. Reading so much love for me was unbelievable in some ways and I am extremely blessed to have it even if I don’t deserve it. I think that’s what made me more dissatisfied with Ghana on second arrival-the reminder that I have so many people and responsibilities and an impact back home. Here I still feel like a visitor and not one who really gives back all that much. I hope that my internship changes that.
One thing to readjust to is the inefficiency of time. Teachers are still on strike and I think they are meeting today so decide whether to end it or keep going. It is pretty perfect for me because I didn’t miss any class while traveling home. We are still guaranteed credit and most of my classes are still meeting for the international students. I still have a history test tomorrow. Blehhh.
There is a 13 year old girl whose house is right next to my dorm and we play soccer with her a lot. We have been calling her Sarah. She kept asking to come to my dance class so I picked her up before class. She loves me. I know because she wrote me a note telling me. It also had 10 sentences about giraffes and monkeys. :D. So, I take her to dance and on the way I find out her name is Salamat, shortened to Sala, NOT Sarah. Hilarious. My deal with her was that she could come but I had to be able to see her at all times. She loved watching the circles of movement and the singing of songs. She wants to join next week so I am going to bring her a white shirt so that she will fit the dress code. At the end of class the drummers got up like they usually do and corner different T.A’s who show off their moves. Then the drummers turned to students and a few got up to show their stuff. Sala wanted me to dance. I said no. The drummers moved towards different white girls and they kept shying away. I thought in my head I would bring the chicken wing to Ghana so I jump down, shake around a bit and next thing I know- I am doing the coffee grinder. They absolutely loved it and went crazy yelling and it made me laugh inside. Ahhh good day.

Water was out in the dorm again so I just bathed near the spicket that works 24/7. This week we have had a lot of time to practice hand stands and steal couches from the TV lounges for our rooms. We are lazy so we take Jarett’s motorcycle across campus to the internet café. I have also been treating everyone to my huge suitcase full of about 35 lbs of All American goodness. Macaroni and cheese mmmm, oreos mmmm, chocolate bars mmmmm. We made oreo milkshakes the other night. Our blender was broken so we put the cookies in a zip lock (also from the US) and banged it around on the floor. We fine crushed by rolling my Peanut Butter over the chunks. The boys churned FanIce vanilla and chocolate and we stuffed ourselves with way too much sugar when it was done. It still feels like summer here. I wish the pool was open on Sundays. The pool has unbelievably high diving platforms. Higher than 50 feet for sure. I really want to jump off the highest but the ladders up are roped off. Hmm… One day…..

Update on the Rasta school for poor kids:

Sean has gotten really close with the Rasta guys and he volunteers there a lot. The people that were letting the Rasta’s use their shell-of-a-building have decided to recommence building so the school no longer has a building. Sean got together with the guys and they bought some land a mile down from the previous building. They have begun building and in a month they should have a school building of their own. Rumor has it that Sean is paying for it all out of pocket. 1,000 US is the estimate cost. Great kid that Sean. One of the coolest I have met by far.

Love you.


Ps. I have been really bad about sending letters and postcards and I feel bad about it. So don’t be mad. I wrote like 5 cards but they got out of date real quick. So who knows….I’ll work on it!