Friday, June 12, 2009

Update

So I took a break from my last entry to eat dinner. Before I left for dinner, I was feeling so itchy on my arms and legs (but I couldn’t find many mosquito bites on my body) so I just covered myself in bug spray like I do every night and headed out. By the time I got back to my room, I was so itchy that I took the only allergy medicine I brought with me, Benadryl and it knocked me out. So this evening I will finish with my update.

Back to yesterday – So I usually take a break after lunch and go back to my hotel to shower and nap or write or go to town or do whatever else I want. Yesterday, Evanx, who walks me back to my hotel every day after lunch wanted to stop by his aunt’s house to get some oranges for me. I had been to his aunt’s house before and it was very close to the orphanage so we walked over there. We walked carefully as it had been rainy all day and the ground was covered with dirty puddles – definitely not the kind you want to jump in. Evanx brought back a bucket full of green oranges. I can’t remember if I have already shared this with you or not but the oranges here are a bit different from the ones back home. The oranges here are green. And yes, that is when they are ripe. It was something that totally confused me when I was first offered an orange here. I am used to it now and the only thing that still confuses me about the oranges here in Ghana is why they are called ‘oranges.’

Anyways, Evanx brought the oranges over and we cut them and enjoyed a number of delicious oranges. We were sitting outside under a covered area as it was sprinkling, but then it started pouring again. It poured for a minute and then stopped. And then, it started again. This time, it didn’t stop after a minute; it stopped after about an hour. We kept eating oranges and watched the rain fall.

Evanx’s nieces were preparing dinner. It was only a little after 1pm but the preparations are quite a chore. They started by cleaning the snails. Evanx asked me if I would eat them and I said no. He explained to me that there is no blood when killing a snail so it is fine for a vegetarian to eat but I disagreed with him and was not in the least bit interested in trying a snail. Then, they washed the palm nuts and started to pound them to make the palm nut stew which is traditionally eaten with fufu (a local dish made of cassava and maize). I was asked if I had ever pounded fufu or palm nuts. I had to admit that even though I had watched a countless number of people pound these foods, I myself had never tried. I was given the thing used to pound the food (a pounder?) and gave it a try. I knew they would laugh at me when I tried. I was quickly proven correct about that. They laughed as I tried to pound the palm nuts. I did not have as much practice at they did and definitely not as much upper arm strength. They laughed at the way I pounded the food and told me that I needed to pound it harder. Maybe over the next few weeks, I will get more opportunities to pound palm nuts or fufu and learn how to pound the way the locals do.

As the rain continued to pour down for quite a long while, we decided to walk back to the orphanage as it was closer than my hotel. All of the children were inside as it was nap time and it was raining and very muddy outside. Of course, there were some children who were running around and being very loud as the others attempted to sleep. I stayed at the orphanage until the students were released around 5:30. It was quite a long day to say the least. It’s amazing what a toll children can take on you, especially when they are under the impression that you are a human playground.

While I was at the orphanage, I had been thinking about my thesis research which I had planned to do this summer at Buduburam Refugee Camp, close to Accra, the capital of Ghana. I realized that although I had been talking to people who work with various organizations at the camp for the past few months and had amazing contacts and opportunities to take advantage of there, I didn’t need to go somewhere else to do my research. Hohoe is my community and I didn’t want to leave Hohoe for two weeks to go to Buduburam. I realized that I am already comfortable with the people in Hohoe and there are so many interesting things that can be studied here. So, I informed Raymond, whose aunt who runs an orphanage at Buduburam and had offered to host me that I had come to a realization that I didn’t need to go to a foreign place to do my research but rather, I wanted to stay local and do my research here in Hohoe. He understood and told me that we could still visit his aunt one day when we go to Accra. This sounded perfect to me.

I talked to Patrick about my change in plans and asked him to help me come up with some research topic ideas regarding childhood education that would be of benefit to the community. As he is a teacher, I thought that he would have some good suggestions that would also be important for the community. So over the next few days, I hope to decide on a topic.

Anyways, I am going to be traveling to Ho tomorrow to visit my adopted family again so I will update you again after I return.

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