One week down, eleven to go…

Not that I am counting.

Today was as hot as the devil’s crotch. I have officially been on my adventure for a week and none the worse for wear. I cannot decide how I feel about my time so far, it has been interesting, but also quite tiring. I think it will continue to be this way until I am used to my surroundings. I still wake up wondering where I am, and still go to bed wondering how I will make it for three months.

Today was Sunday, and therefore not a very eventful day. People rest on Sunday, not quite to the extent of orthodox Jews do it on Saturday, but close. I slept in until 8:15 and woke up panicking that everyone had left me and gone out. I also feared that they might be here getting ready to go to church. It turns out that the Humado family didn’t feel like attending church today, so I was off the hook. Because he did not go to church, Senam decided to go to work for “a bit” (12 hours; I think his wife is quite angry about this), and the rest of the family lazed around. I watched an Indian film, in which a young man lied about cancer to get the girl of his dreams, only to find out that he actually does have cancer from smoking cigarettes (drama!), half of the new Pride and Pejudice, Mulan 2, an ad for Who Wants to Be Rich, and a variety of cartoons, mostly about the Bible with Kekeli and Fiifi. That afternoon I had fufu with light soup (see picture for the making of fufu). Fufu is a mixture of cassava, plantain, and sometimes cocoa yam. It is like very soft dumplings, except served in a ball at least six inches in diameter. I quite enjoyed it, much more than banku. Light soup is a tomato based spicy soup that contains fish and pork. Afterwards I dozed on the couch.

This evening Nikolas, our SOS connection, came over to visit Senam and talk to him about SOS. Unfortunately Senam had not returned from work yet, so he and I went for a walk around Tema. It was my first time seeing Tema on foot, and it was quite lovely. People were strolling the streets, the bars were in full swing (yes, on Sunday), and smells of baking bread and popcorn floated through the air. Nikolas asked me about America, then warned me of the dangers in Ghana. He said that most of the tourist crime comes from Nigerians who come to the country ready to steal and scam. I will be sure to have a guide whenever I go into the city. He also talked about how much he likes to drink which surprised me. I was under the impression that drinking is a taboo in Ghana, but he says he loves to drink and goes clubbing on the weekends. I think this may have been a test to see if I will be a reliable person at the school, in which case I passed with flying colors; I don’t smoke and I drink in moderation. On the contrary, he may have also been implying that we should go clubbing together, I am not sure.

I also bathed which was interesting. I washed my hair (only three days dirty) and enough dirt to plant a seed pooled around the drain. It was quite disconcerting. At least the shower wasn’t filled with flies.

I am ready to start working. Too much idle time is making me start to miss home, which is not very good at this point. I need to be busy during the day or else I have nothing else to do except for reading and thinking. Thinking has been of some use, however. Paul, the boy I thought was Senam’s eldest son, I believe is actually the family’s helper. I think in return for paying school fees and giving him a place to live, Paul does the house chores for Geena. I have seen him cooking, cleaning, ironing, and taking care of the property since I have been here. It seems to be a hard life for a teenager, but I suppose if that is his ticket to an education and greener pastures then so be it. He is very well mannered, and will be quite a catch when he is ready to marry. Thinking has also made me realize that I will not be ready for children for a long, long, long, long time. The first step towards this is not instinctively wanting to punch them for saying the same thing over and over again (no worries, Fiifi and Kekela were not harmed).

As I type this a television program similar to Feed the Children is on and strangely no one else is in the living room. There has been at least one viewer for every other program. This is worrisome.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #11: When packing for Ghana, do not pack gel or rollerball pens. The ink will melt upon arrival and they will be practically useless (I made this mistake and now have inkblots like the first draft of the Constitution all over my skin and papers).

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #12: Ghanaians don’t mind if you ask them to repeat themselves multiple times. They would prefer that you do this until you understand them than pretending to and being confused.
Fufu pounding

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One Response to “One week down, eleven to go…”

  1. Chelsey Says:

    Man, you are an awesome writer! lol… I am not sure what led you to be where you are, as I haven’t talked to you since HS but I have really enjoyed reading your blog… My first thought was “why are you not taking more pictures!” but then when you mentioned the dead person I was like duh! That would make you worse than a tourist at Disney Land. I know it would be weird seeing someone snap pics in Palm Bay. Not to mention it might be some kind of social faux’pas.

    It sounds really great what you are planning on doing there. I look forward to reading about what you will be teaching!

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