Awkward Turtle Anyone? With a Side of Awkward?

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I went to S.O.S. grudgingly today.  My night was restless- I hadn’t bathed, so I was hot and itchy from sweat (which I think enticed the creepy crawlies).  When I arrived, Nicolas was nowhere to be found, but before I could feel relieved he appeared at the entrance to school.  After our greetings I went to SPED, where I vowed to read for the entire day (Flashforward is awesome!  I am assuming better than the T.V. series. Is that still on?).  I wanted to check my email before classes started, however, so I ventured to the library and avoided Nic (who goes by Nicky by the way…).  While waiting for the slow computer to load, I was asked quite politely by a teacher (I think his name was Don) to help him grade a multiple choice exam.  He looked as though he was in quite a rush, so I agreed.  By this point I checked my email and decided to run the Disk Cleanup and ScanDisk operations on the PC, so I had nothing better to do anyway.  I also was late to class.  Don eventually disappeared, I think to teach a class, and didn’t reappear until I was through marking all 60 or so of them.  I didn’t mind, however, it ate up most of my morning.  After completing this I gave up on helping the computer.  It kept freezing every time it tried to purge the 8 million useless bytes of files clogging its copper and gold arteries.

And so I sat and read until lunchtime.  I left the classroom unnoticed and two thirds of the way through my book, and went to the canteen for my usual lunch (a chicken leg, jollof rice, and 5 or so slices of fried plantains).  I was offered an ice cream, I assume as a thank-you, from Don which I declined… I was walking with a full plate of food… and sat by myself at a bench.  Eventually a little chubby girl (who I think has a crush on Fifi) and her friend came and sat with me, armed with many important topics of discussion- one of which was awkward moment number one.  The chubby one proceeded to tell me a story about a car accident she saw in the morning.  The result was a dead mother and daughter, with one living child remaining.  At first I thought she was making it up, but she seemed quite serious (even though not terribly affected by this).  I don’t know if she was telling the truth, but I didn’t know what to respond.  What do you say to that?… ‘Are you ok?’ would have been met with confusion.  Luckily I was finished eating, so I made a motion to leave and was followed by the two girls who had moved on to talking about cars.

My second awkward moment (and boy was it!) came in the afternoon.  I was deeply involved in the book by this point when I and the SPED teacher were interrupted by the head of the department, Auntie Caroline.  She loudly proclaimed that Amanda and Vava had been caught behind a building ‘fingering themselves’.  Seriously?!  Do people just say this in public in a matter of fact kind of tone?  There were children around, and I was speechless.  The two women seemed quite pumped and ready for action when they stormed out towards the headmaster’s office.  I felt bad for the girls.  While it was neither the time nor place for such a behavior, they didn’t deserve two crazy women and a headmaster screaming at them.  About half an hour later Auntie Lizzie returned with the girls and made them kneel on the floor for fifteen minutes or so.  They seemed quite unphased by their escapades.

I forgot to mention the other awkward moment, so it is out of chronological order.  At snack time, after I went to see if I could open a few documents at the library, Nicolas stopped me on my way out.  He said, “Are you hungry?” to which I responded “No.” (even though I was).  He then said “I want to buy you”.  Full stop.  The look of confusion and disgust on my face must have been epic.  So I said “Huh?” with the most unimpressed face I could manage then, and he said “Buy you a snack.”.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! So strange!

Anyway, I was happy to go home and finish the novel.  I sat and decompressed before opening my documents and treating myself to a bath.  It is currently 6PM and is getting dark outside.  The smells of food and marijuana (I’ve smelled it for the past two days) fill the air, and the family is preparing for the evening.  The children are in their pajamas, Geena is finishing dinner, and Paul is busily trying to finish his chores before homework.  As for me, I am trying to stay present in the moment.  I find that I enjoy Ghana much more when I do that.  I may never again get an opportunity to just be in a new environment with new people, new sights, new smells, and no one to answer to again.  I have found that part of the culture is not thinking.  One day during class I was caught looking into space, no doubt contemplating life, or a private beach without screaming children, and was asked why I was thinking.  Auntie Lizzie seemed perplexed when I said that I enjoyed taking time to just think.  I also get strange looks from adults and children alike when they see me reading for pleasure.  The book Cape Fear is used as a mouse pad in the SPED classroom, and I have never seen any person on the school’s campus reading outside of the library.  I am not trying to say that there is anything wrong with this, but my presence as a foreigner is always clear, not only in the way I dress, speak, and look, but in my actions as well.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #27: Everything is paid for before use.  Elecricity, cell units, water, even internet should be bought before you intend to use it.

Practical Ghanaian Travel Tip #28:  If you want to use fabric softener in your clothes, you will need to bring that with you.

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3 Responses to “Awkward Turtle Anyone? With a Side of Awkward?”

  1. Dad Says:

    Hahahahahahahha…..LOL
    I just had an awefull day of work but now I am so cheered up after reading this.

    Thank you and I love you
    Daddy

  2. Amber Bittiger Says:

    I want to buy you.

  3. Mom Says:

    Remember my theory on how Jamaicans know I dont live there? The fabric softner, we dont smell like the locals. You shouldnt have been surprised by the lack of softner. If you really want your clothes soft, you can add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse water. Your clothes wont smell like it but they will be soft.

    While I was reading the blog I was perplexed about the lack of reading, and I thought of something you might want to try. Get 3 or 4 of the girls who really think you are amazing, and get them together with a book. Dont tell them your intentions, but I think if you just propose you all just sit and read for a while, “Just try it for a little while” when they protest, and see if you could start a new trend with some of them that could spread to more kids over time. A short chat about the book after 15 minutes or so would show them they can actually get involved with the story. A mini, casual book club. I think if you make them believe it is cool to read, they may see themselves as special and everyone wants to be cool. I dont think that matters where you live. It sounds like the adults are disciplining the kid out of them in preparation for a rough life.

    You may be able to show them an outlet.

    Just a thought. I also think you were being tested by Nicky. If you had said yes he would have gladly bought you. I think you would go for quite a tidy sum, being a whitey and all. LMAO!!!!

    Keep your head up and one foot in front of the other. Your wit seems intact so that is half the battle.

    Love you,
    Mom

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