Saturday, May 30, 2009

Returning from Ho to Hohoe

It’s been such a long, busy, crazy but amazing week which is why I have not had time to update my blog in so long. Things have been good though! It’s been difficult to find the time to sit down and reflect and write about my experiences because things have been happening so fast and by the end of the day, I am exhausted. I will try to organize this in chronological order so that it makes sense to you although it was not all written in chronological order.

So, let’s go back to last weekend – I was in Ho, visiting my adopted family. The weekend was lots of fun and very enjoyable! It was great to see these people who I am so close with and catch up with them. As you may remember, there was a little confusion over the fact that I would be taking Richmond back to America with me. The end of my last blog ended with me telling you that this subject had been dropped. Well, it had been dropped until Monday. What was I still doing in Ho on Monday, you might be wondering. Monday was a holiday – African Union Day so the kids would not be going to school and although the orphanage would be open and running, I decided that since I won’t be able to spend that much time with my family during this trip (as they live a bit far away), I would stay until Monday afternoon. Before checking out of my hotel, I went on a little adventure to find an ATM. Well, I didn’t have much luck and ended up going to three different banks. None of the ATMs were working and the tellers were closed as it was a holiday. Somewhere in the midst of this adventure and changing of taxis, I dropped my cell phone. I didn’t have much chance of finding it as there are tons of taxis that look exactly the same and I had no way to track down the driver of the taxi I was in. After my unsuccessful banking trip, I returned to my hotel, packed my things, and checked out. Without a phone, I had no way of communicating with my family. Luckily, I remembered the name of the village that they lived in and caught a taxi there. Because I was a foreigner travelling alone, the driver tried to charge me about 6 times the fee Dela and I had paid the day before. I told him that I would pay him what I had paid a driver the day before for the same distance. He realized that I wasn’t a stupid foreigner and quickly agreed to accept my payment.

I spent the rest of the afternoon with my family, playing with Richmond and Melody. While I was playing with them and some of the other kids, one of the young girls told me that I was red, white, and green. Green, huh? I had never really thought of myself as green but I realized that my veins on my arms, legs, and feet were, in fact, green. It was kinda funny to me but weird for the young girl as the Africans green veins do not show due to their dark skin color.

Forgive, Richmond and Melody’s mother questioned me for the first time about the issue revolving around Richmond. She was quite sad to hear that I had not agreed to take Richmond home to America with me and that this plan would not be happening. She told me about the deteriorating relationship between her and her husband, Bless. Apparently, Bless had informed Forgive that he no longer needed her and that she should leave. She informed me that she would be taking her children and leaving the family’s house within the next few days. She was going to go live with her parents, who live in town. She made sure that if I cannot find her or the children next time I come to visit (which I told them would be in a few weeks), then I should have Dela call Forgive’s parents so I can visit them. I made sure that Forgive and the children were not being hurt by Bless before I left.

As family is what I would consider the most important thing in Africa, it was surprising to me to hear that, like in the rest of the world, people in Africa also get separated and divorced. It might sound silly but it took this incident for me to actually realize this.

As it was already the afternoon, I decided that I should get on my way back to Hohoe. A bunch of the family members walked me down to the main road and on the way, John, Dela and Peace’s father pointed out the town’s waterfalls, mountains, cocoa farms, and told me all about the place where the mountains come together and how there is a mount up there as that is where their ancestors came from. It was so nice to have these things explained to me. I was truly grateful. John told me that during my next trip to Ho, we could actually go check out some of these places. When we reached the main road, I said my good byes and John and I got into a taxi. John (who was wearing the shirt that I had brought for him) said he had to go to town to do some things but I think that whether or not he actually did, he wanted to accompany me to the tro tro station and make sure I was sent off safely. I bought a bottle of water and some plantain chips and then boarded the tro tro headed to Hohoe. After the tro tro was full, we pulled out of the station. We had a much quicker ride back to Hohoe that I had from Hohoe as the tro tro does not make tons of stops, like the bus. As there are less people on a tro tro than on a bus, less stops were requested. I was dropped off in front of my hotel but quickly learned that after they had finished moving my stuff and making sure everything was okay in my new room on Friday, Raymond had taken my key. So I left my stuff with Hannah and Kayla, Elyse’s friends and hurried off the Raymond’s house to retrieve my key. I practically ran back so that I could shower and get ready as they were planning on leaving in about half an hour to go to dinner to celebrate Kayla’s birthday and the girl’s last night in Hohoe.

I finally got in to my room, jumped in the shower, and searched through my suitcases (which I had not had time to unpack yet) to find some clean clothes. I was ready in no time and then had to sit around and wait for Raymond and the driver to come pick us up. Typical, when they arrived, we got in to the tro tro, along with some of the other teachers from Christ Orphanage, as well as Gladys, the former Nursery teacher of Christ Orphanage who I knew very well from last year. We drove about half an hour to the restaurant at Wli Waterfalls. It was an extremely pretty, serene restaurant located outdoors. And we were the only people there, which was nice. Before dinner, we sat in relaxing, padded chairs which faced the waterfall.

I was taught for the second time (Dela had previously taught me) how to play the only card game that Ghanaians know. (For the reason that it is their only card game, they just call it ‘card game’). It still made absolutely no sense to me. I did not understand which cards to play or how to figure out who was winning. But our driver, Alex was sitting right next to me and helped me decide which cards to play. The guys tried to explain the game to me but they didn’t explain it very well. When I had finally given up on the game and went to go sit with the others, they were also playing the same game. I tried again and this time, Nicholas, the Class 2 teacher actually simplified the rules and showed me how to play. It made so much more sense. I understood and played with Glady’s younger brother who was about 10 years old. The game depends much upon the 5 cards which each player is dealt. And for some reason, I kept getting really good cards which made it impossible for me to let the young boy win.

We ordered dinner – I ordered spaghetti minestrone and an orange Fanta. One of our waitresses was a white woman. I was a bit surprised to say the least as I had not previously seen a white person actually working somewhere in Ghana. The guys told me that she was a German woman – they could tell from her accent. I have a feeling that, although I have not actually met any other Germans while in Ghana besides this waitress, Germans often come to Ghana. Often, when people ask me where I am from, they say, ‘are you German or American?’

Dinner was delicious. We sang happy birthday to Kayla, who was turning 22 and was presented with a kente cloth that said, ‘happy birthday’ as well as a dress made of traditional batik fabric. We then headed back to the hotel so Kayla and Hannah could finish packing as they would be leaving the following morning.

No comments: