A Summary of Last Week and the Fetish Con

3-22-10

Last week was a blur of fun and adventure, mostly unrelated to my internship. On Tuesday women came to the office to apply for a loan, making the total number of applicants too many to know. In the evening, we decided to make pasta with tomato sauce, so Laralyn and I went on a small quest while Justine took a nap. We walked all the way down the hill with no luck and stopped at a shop with a flame to see if they knew where to find some. The woman there, named Florence and from Togo originally, told us to follow her. We walked back up the hill down a path and through an alley, eventually getting to a woman’s backyard. She had tomatoes and onions, so we bought some, thanked her, and made our way back to the main road with Florence. The tomato sauce I made with a headlamp on (the lights went out in the middle of my cooking session) was quite nice, and well worth the random trip to suburban Pokuase.

On Wednesday we gave second loans to a group of Amasaman women and a group of Fise women. It was quite an exciting day and many photos and videos were taken of the moment. Madam Aisha’s group came dressed in their finest wax prints and all of them looked quite elegant. The Fise women came in regular clothes, but dressing up wouldn’t have suited their personalities. It was quite an exhilarating day at the office.

That evening, Laralyn, Justine and I went to salsa night again and met Willan and a group of his friends. I wasn’t in a dancing mood, but it was fun to sit and talk with everyone and take in the merriment. Omar, one of Willan’s friends, was from Chad studying computer programming in Ghana. He and I talked about politics and he tried to teach me some French for most of the night, and eventually we got up and awkwardly danced. He has to be at least 6’6” so it was challenging doing a partner dance (especially so since neither of us understand the concept of moving together). Before we left Laralyn said goodbye to some men she had met the previous week and one of the guys gave me a crushing handshake which put me in a bad mood for the rest of the night. Laralyn blamed alcohol but I didn’t care…one shouldn’t drink enough to not realize one’s cause of pain. When we got home the new volunteer, Meggin, had arrived, but she just went to bed so we sat around and talked with Hayford for a while before calling it a night.

On Thursday nothing happened in the office since no loans were given out and no one needed to repay. That afternoon we gave English lessons but I barely participated because I was quite tired and in no mood to deal with Madam Aisha. On top of it I was sick from inhaling all of the dirt and grime. In the evening, however, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to return to Bywell, the nightclub with live highlife music and prostitutes. It lived up to my expectations as we were seated between two prostitutes and their Johns (thanks Mom!). The music was good and we sat around eating and talking, watching all of the old men and their prostitutes dancing and getting drunk. Meggin was once again quiet, which was starting to get annoying, especially since she seemed to have a snooty attitude attached to her quietness.

Now let’s skip ahead to Monday. Work was entertaining because two new groups of women came in to apply for loans and we interviewed for a new office worker (Dorcas got a better paying job and stopped coming after she told Hayford). Comfort, the girl interviewing, translated for me halfway through her interview while Hayford tended to something else, and I gave her kudos for doing a great job while at a work interview (She started the next day).

That afternoon Laralyn and I were supposed to go to a fetish ceremony, but found out it was cancelled. Instead, Moses, one of her African dance partners, told us that he would take us to meet the fetish priest’s mother (also his grandmother, conveniently). The old woman poured (or rather, spit) libations on several shrines around the house, and then we moved to the neighbor’s (Moses’ aunt) and finally to the late fetish priest (Moses’ great grandfather) before returning to her home. After Moses took our cameras the first time and made us pose for pictures in the first shrine I realized it was a scam. Sure enough, at the end of all of this (even though we brought the Schnapps for the libations and didn’t actually ask for the shrine spit tour) Moses told us to make a ‘big value’ contribution to his grandmother, which we did since he was so bold about it, and then he led us to his aunt’s house to ‘say goodbye’ which never happened since I refused to give more to her and she walked off in a huff (I have gotten quite bold with Ghanaians, I must say). Laralyn and I laughed all the way home, and she told me how on Saturday one of the dancers said that “Biggie wasn’t happy” about Meggin.

It sums her up pretty well. She’s overweight (presumably from drinking two Cokes a day) and she never seems happy or interested. She hates onions, tomatoes, too many vegetables, and pepper, all of which are in every Ghanaian dish, and she dislikes ‘too many textures’, which I am not sure what this means. Really, Laralyn and I have made bets about how long she will last in Ghana. She’s supposed to be here for 3 months, but I give her two weeks before she calls home demanding to leave. Her mom will come to VPWA in May for two weeks and I can’t imagine how she will be then. Seriously, I’m happy that I will only have a short while with her.

Ghanaian Travel Tip #71: Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. You will find that you meet awesome people and have awesome experiences if you do (such as buying tomatoes from someone in their back yard late at night).

Building Name of the Week: Amen Scientific Herbal Hospital

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