The First One to Touch Her Wins!

1-21-10

I started today with the sunrise. I remembered my quest for a nice shot when I woke up, but Senam was in a rush to get the kids off to school and himself off to work that he flew past my chance. I suppose I have several dozen more opportunities. I also made the mistake of taking my malaria medication in the morning before eating. I have been trying to find a good time for it and the morning is definitely not correct. I had the worst nausea and lightheadedness that I have had in a while. I had to sit at the back of the library and obsessively open the not-working web browser to keep my mind off of vomiting. It would have been the kind that only produced bile, too. Not fun. After about an hour it passed and I went to class exhausted without the day having begun.

The students that came today were Edward, Edwin, Amanda, Ines, and Vava. Vava was kicked out of class within an hour for misbehaving and I was assigned to Ines to help her with reading. I quite like Ines, but I fear that she could be learning a lot more quickly. As a matter of fact, they all could be. Every five minutes or so their attention was lost because of the teacher reprimanding one of them or visitors appearing to say hello. The classroom serves as an office for three as well, with no divider between their desks and the students. This leads to constant interruption. The kids like me a lot, however. Not only am I an American superstar, I also don’t yell or hit for misbehavior. In all honesty I could care less if the kids write perfectly on the line or not as long as they understand the lesson. I have tried in the past to take children individually to the library to work on reading, but Auntie Lizzie insists that the kids stay in the noisy classroom.

In the afternoon I had my usual interactions with flirtatious Ghanaian men. I am learning how to jokingly reject them. I was asked to go to the beach and the club on two separate occasions and said no without saying ‘no’ on both occasions. I also played the violin. Barely. I played a few scales and it felt awkward and soothing to be playing strings again. While Kekeli and Fiifi went for their piano lessons, I sat and played minesweeper on the computer while listening to my iPod. It was a welcome reprieve from the constant attention that Ghana requires. My brain must burn very many calories just processing the social interactions I have. I have to remember the correct greeting depending on who I meet, when to cross my legs and when not to, who I shake hands with and who I don’t, all the while trying to appear like a human who this comes naturally to, and not the robot that I come across as every once in a while.

Most notably I was a human goalpost today. Fiifi and several of his friends decided that the first one to touch me would ‘win’. I had to run across the school in an attempt to get a gaggle of 8 year-old boys from attacking me. It was a lot of fun nonetheless.

When I got home with Geena (we had one hour of peace while the kids were with a family friend), I told her my thoughts about changing organizations. She encouraged me to pursue this wholeheartedly, which I greatly appreciated. She agreed that SOS was not meeting my internship needs, and that I should seek something more related to my interests. I explained to her why the village wasn’t appropriate for me, and she reaffirmed what Senam had said before that the village women take the information foreigners bring in one ear and let it out the other.

Tonight I will be speaking with Senam and hopefully tomorrow I will find myself some other potential organizations. Unfortunately it is the end of the week, but I am playing hookie from school (with the teacher’s permission) and going into Accra with Evans. I am excited to see the city, and I hope my next post brings good internship news and funny stories about my day in the City.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #19: All treated water in Ghana is not the same. While most are safe to drink, the chemical taste can still cause an upset stomach. The safest bet is to drink Voltic water. I have found IceCool to be quite pleasant as well.

Practical Ghanaian (Internship) Tip #20: Take fifteen minutes each day to do something for yourself. Fifteen minutes of music completely clears my head and makes life more bearable for me. You might read a book, watch T.V. (if that is an option), listen to music, or just take a walk.

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