Thursday, June 04, 2009

Electricity? Whats that?

It’s pitch black in my room. Okay, not exactly pitch black as I have my netbook open and the screen displays some light. All the windows with screens in my room are open to their fullest. My fan, fridge, tv, and lights aren’t working as the electricity is out yet again. The guesthouse that I am living at has a generator but once again its not working. Luckily I had fully charged my netbook but due to its short battery life, I probably won’t be able to type half the things I wanted to tonight. It’s okay though, it will force me to go to sleep early for the first time in awhile.

This week has flown by. I can’t believe tomorrow is already Friday again. So much writing to catch up on. So back to Sunday.

I woke up early on Sunday morning to go to church with Evanx, one of the teachers at Christ Orphanage. I was dressed and ready to go by 8am, the time that he told me that he would be picking me up from my hotel. I went outside to meet him and sat there for about 30 minutes before I decided that maybe, although he had reminded me about 5 times, he had forgotten that I would be attending church with him. So I headed back to my room and fell asleep. I awoke at 9:45 to loud knocks on my door and the news that Evanx was outside waiting for me. Now let me tell you, that sure is Ghana time for you.

We started walking to church and then caught a cab to take us the rest of the way. We first stopped at Evanx’s friend’s house, who lived pretty close to the church. They welcomed me and told me that I must come back after church to eat with them. Evanx’s friend, Evanx, and I then headed to the church. The service hadn’t started yet which confused me as to the reason why Evanx had planned on picking me up so early. The service was nice, or at least it seemed nice. I wouldn’t really know as the whole thing was in Ewe, the local language. The singing was nice though. All the congregants were dressed in their finest clothing – the women traditional batik dresses and the men in batik shirts, other printed or white shirts with nice slacks. The little girls were dressed in adorable dresses and the little boys in collared or button up shirts and dress pants.

After the two hour service, during which many of the children and even adults stared at me in astonishment that a white girl was at their church, we headed back over to Evanx’s friend’s house. They were sitting outside under a bamboo covering and watching the news on the television.

The men engaged me in conversation and the three little boys ran around, playing a game in which they tried to look at me but freaked out when I looked at them. One of the men, possibly Evanx’s friend’s uncle or father began to ask me how a man like him could marry an American woman. We had a lengthy discussion as I explained to him that most women in America prefer to meet and choose the person they want to marry and no, I would not allow him to marry any of my friends. I left out the fact that I didn’t think that any of my friends would be too fond of marrying someone his age. I then had to explain why I, myself would not marry him either. I have only been here in Ghana for three weeks and this conversation has already become a little too familiar.

They bought me a Fanta which I enjoyed as they drank their local drink. After some more discussion, I was brought over to an area which was set up for lunch. We ate fufu. I ate it plain as the stew they made to dip it in contained fish. After the meal, I said my good byes and thanked them for their friendliness. I was then brought over to Raymond’s house to eat a second lunch.

I was introduced to Raymond’s aunt, Deborah who was in town for the funeral. She founded and runs an orphanage at Buduburam, the Liberian refugee camp just outside of Accra. Raymond had been telling me about this aunt of his as he knew of my plan to visit the refugee camp and do my thesis research there. It was nice to meet her and she told me that I contact her before I plan to visit so that she can prepare as I will be staying with her.

From Raymond’s house, I thought that I would now be returning to my hotel but Evanx informed me that he had other family members and friends whom he wanted to introduce me to. I met all of his family, including his super sweet elderly grandfather, his parents, and his young cousins. His cousin, Nana, a young girl took a liking to me and climbed in my lap while her older brother, maybe 9 years old was scared of me and hid during the entire time I spent with his family. Before I left, they gave me some bananas to take with me. Evanx’s aunts had given me some oranges which Evanx told me he would pick up and bring to school on Monday

After meeting a few more people, it was time to head back to the funeral grounds for, yes, another night of drumming and dancing. I had insisted that we stop by a little shop and buy a handkerchief so my shirt wouldn’t get as soaked with sweat as it had the night before. The festivities were just starting so we sat around for awhile before I was convinced to get up and dance. Of course, as the only white person there, many people decided that they needed to dance with me. This made it a little difficult for me but no worries. I had a woman who would not leave my side as well as three guys dancing with me. A little argument broke out as one of the guys pushed the other aside to dance with me. It was sweet to see that so many people wanted to dance with me but a little frustrating at the same time.

I didn’t dance as long on Sunday night as I had only Saturday night as Raymond thought that I would be tired from all the dancing the night before and should take it easy tonight. I was so grateful for that. I was brought over to his house, where dinner was prepared. Then, a coconut was taken out, which I was informed was a gift to me from Raymond’s aunt, Deborah. The coconut was cut and the insides were poured into a cup for me to drink. They were shocked that I had never actually drank the milk from a coconut or had the meat from the inside. I wasn’t a huge fan of it but ate and drank a bit of it, sharing the majority of it with Raymond and his family. Raymond then told me that there was a whole basket full of 8 coconuts at his house that his aunt had sent for me.

As the week has seemed to pass so quickly and I did not write on each day, all of the events are blurring into one day. So I will just share the highlights with you. This week, Evanx and Nicholas, two of the teachers at Christ Orphanage, as well as myself measured all of the children. This was a task that was spread out over two days but still took a great deal of time each day. The children were measured as Vivian, the lady who had the sown and sent pillowcases for the children informed me before my departure to Ghana that she wanted to make uniforms for all of the children. I was blown away by her generosity. New uniforms, for the children is something that since my arrival in Ghana, I have noticed is greatly needed, as many of the children’s current uniforms are beginning to fall apart. I think that the children will be very excited to receive new uniforms in a few months.

Other than that, I have been busy helping some of the children who are having trouble recognizing and writing their letters. Although frustrating at times, it is rewarding to see the students understand and grasp the information.

As it has been a long, extremely hot week, I took a day off on Wednesday and spent a majority of the day resting and relaxing in my room. I was not feeling great and just needed a day for myself to catch up on sleep. Don’t worry, because after this much needed day of rest, I felt much better and ready to return to the orphanage for another crazy day on Thursday.

My battery on my netbook is going to die soon so I will be concluding this blog update here. It’s off to bed for me as it will actually be pitch dark in my room after I turn my netbook off. Hope all is well with everybody back home!

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