It was wonderful to sleep, eat, think, drink coffee and be spoiled by the love of my family and friends while at home. It was a much needed sabbatical. I walked straight back into the crazy hectic life I live here. The first week I left home for school in the morning and returned home between 9-10pm each night for the first time completely worn out. I moved out of Tommy's house and into a house with Corrine, a retired American nurse who moved to VOH last April. I walked into a completely empty room with my few belongings in trunks. The only piece of furniture being the air mattress that I brought with me. Thankfully Tommy has graciously loaned me some furniture to use for a few months. The harmattan is here, and I swear it blew the entire Sahara desert into the house. Everything was covered in such a thick layer of dust I felt as if I were in a house that had been abandoned for years. I have never seen such thick dust. I have also returned to the land of creepy crawlies. The ants are in and on everything, mice have been constantly spotted in the house.
It took a few weeks but I think the last of the Harmattan has past, and the last of the mice have been killed. (I won't relay the story of the mice flopping in the mouse trap, but you get the idea...) I have also finally started to settle back in my routine. There are still some kinks to be worked out in my school schedule, but that will happen with time. I am officially a student of Twi now. Twi is the language most commonly spoken by locals. I really would like to be more proficient in communicating. It makes such a huge difference when they hear foreigners attempting to learn their language. I have also begun driving. As most of you know, I got my license last October. But, had no car to drive. While I still do not, Tommy Drinnen, a missionary who works as one of the managers here, has allowed me to drive his car whenever I need. It has been so freeing! I have learned rather quickly how to fit in with the local drivers. The rules are pretty simple: dodge large holes in the cement, go around any car that is slow and in your way, honk often, drive closely behind anyone you meet, and be prepared to stop at any time. There is nothing like driving a stick shift in Ghanaian traffic. I love it!
Monday, February 14, 2011
I am not sure it is quite possible to articulate in the slightest the journey that I have been on the past few weeks. From the moment the thick Ghanaian air hit my lungs stepping off the plane until now the things that I have seen and felt during my time here have been with me with such intensity and tangibility of the very air I am breathing. I think I am finally starting to become more cognizant of and adept at processing my own thoughts. How to describe to you the dynamics of my relationships or work here tends to leave me stuttering something about lots of reading classes and beautiful children. The truth is so much deeper. I tend to blog about events because they are so much easier to explain. I wish I could truly give you a glimpse of life here. A visit for a week or two would help, but that only scratches the surface. The truth is that when you look deep into someone's eyes here you realize how similar we all are. That a mother's fears for her children here are the same as anywhere, that they are fed, safe, educated, and well behaved. Mothers spend their days cooking, cleaning, and working desperately to provide for their children. Children yearn to feel loved and safe. I can never look at a national geographic picture, newspaper image, or television newscast the same again. I read recently in the book Half the Sky (a necessary read for everyone) a story about women in Haiti who expressed it poignantly "we are human too." We often forget and let what is comfortable triumph over what we know to be true. When you know it changes you. It leads you to live in such a way to demonstrate love in a way you never have before. I have been on a journey in Ghana of learning what it means to live a life of love. I am so thankful that I have come to a place in my work and relationships here as well as in my faith that barriers are being removed and true understanding is beginning to form. I continue to hope for greater depths of insight.