Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Reading over this I realized – I say ‘wow’ a lot.

After I left Accra, I went to Koforidua to visit another volunteer and to go to the bead market. I ran into a bunch of volunteers there, a lot of girls from my group live around Koforidua. I love the bead market, but I spent too much! The next day I headed back to site and arrived in the early afternoon. The compound was empty, which is weird because a lot of other people live there. I met one of the Orchestra members, Alex, on the way up to the house. Once we arrived I saw my cat and then I started looking for the babies. Alex could only see two. But when I left there were three. Then I saw a huge line of ants and I just knew that the third baby was dead. I took the other two babies into my room and another one was really sick, obviously about to die. I was so upset. Of course, I started to cry. Slowly a few more people came because the Orchestra was going to have practice. My crying was slightly uncomfortable for them, but I also tried to be discreet. That night, the second baby died. I buried the two sisters under a tree together (which everyone thought was strange, they don’t bury animals usually).

Since then the last baby has grown and is doing well. The mother was looking for the other children for awhile but I think she’s alright now. It still breaks my heart. I think I may just keep the baby also. Two cats aren’t too many.

The next day I recuperated. I spent my nights playing with all the beads I bought. I know it won’t be my last time at the market either. The following Sunday, the Catholic Church had its harvest. I wore my new caba and slit (it’s a top and a long skirt), which is lime green with a black head scarf, to show mourning for one of our elder members of the church that died while I was away. We called him President or Old Man – he was very nice and very devout. His son came to the harvest to stand in for his father

The harvest was a joint service, meaning other villages came also. People donate food items and it is auctioned off. I sat in the front with about 10 or 12 other people, we were like the elders, but really I think I was put there so that I could donate more money to the church. It’s fine though, it was a lot of fun. People brought chickens, bread, eggs, plantains, fufu pounding sticks, yam, rice, etc. A lot of money was raised and we had fun in the mean time. I bought some bread with two eggs. It was little but something.

The next few days I presented an HIV/AIDS program to the JSS students with one of the new teachers. The teacher, Mr. Buafo, really wanted to do something and he was a great counterpart. We’ll continue when school gets back into session after the holidays.

The Orchestra had two performances at the end of last week, one with the Wildlife Division and one in Accra. The Wildlife Division program was in a small town and when we arrived around 60 kids surrounded our tro and just stared at me. The group members think it’s funny but also help me out. After being there around an hour I look up and see a white lady walking in. In my mind I think “Wow, I’m not the only white person. Who is this and what’s she doing here?” Not soon after I realize – it’s Dixie! I ran over to her and gave her a big hug. We sat together and enjoyed the day. The group and I arrived back in Mesomagor and we had a visitor from Sweden. The tour guide took her on a village tour and I got ready for the night. I ate a sandwich and bathed. I went into my room to pretty much rest for the evening and I hear a car pull up. I hear sister Ama Afua’s voice, the lady who lives at my house. I went to go outside to welcome her and she called me. I go out there (this is around 6:30 so it’s getting dark) and Patrick, one of the other volunteers is there with her. I was totally shocked. It was a lot of fun to have another volunteer visit, no one has. I asked how his ride was, he said fine, only 10 people in the taxi. He brought a loaf of bread, which was nice, because he ate it. He also loved (as do I) the raspberry jelly my dad sent. It’s almost gone, despite only having it a couple weeks. We hung out and the next day watched the group perform, went on a hike through some farms and went around town. Everyone was shocked that I had a friend visiting, especially a man.

The Orchestra then left to go to a performance at Accra. I really didn’t know what the performance was about but it turns out it was an award show. So, they performed and we arrived back at the village Sunday morning at 6. I slept most of Sunday away. We were all exhausted.

One hilarious thing happened while going to Accra. Everyone was really sweet, most don’t ever go to Accra so they were really looking and taking in everything. We were at a stop light and the ladies on the driver’s side started pointing and looking at something. I was trying to figure out what they were looking at but didn’t see anything that struck my eye. Then I saw it, the car next to us was a man driving and in the back seat a little girl, in a car seat. I don’t think the women from my village had ever seen a car seat. When you take public transport the children sit on your lap or stand between them. It was one of those moments I thought “Wow, I barely even noticed that. It is so normal in America.”

Yesterday was my one-year-at-site anniversary. On December 12th last year I arrived, via Peace Corps, at my village. I remember standing there and looking at all of my things, seeing all the people staring at me, and getting tears in my eyes. I looked at the Peace Corps personnel that were there and I just said “I don’t know where to start, I am really overwhelmed, what do I do?” It was really frightening to be left, not to know where to start or what to do. Now I feel more comfortable, especially with the people. I still have days when I don’t know what to do but it’s fewer than before. My time is going fast here. Soon, it will be over.

Now I am headed up to the Northern Region for an HIV/AIDS meeting. It’ll take me about two days to get up there so I will leave in the morning. I am looking forward to seeing Tamale; I enjoy the atmosphere up there. I can’t believe Christmas is coming so soon. It really hit me today. I went to the bank (in Cape Coast) and was overwhelmed with air conditioning, tinsel, a 10 foot Santa Claus, Merry Xmas and Happy New Year signs and a mini Christmas tree. I thought “Oh yeah, Christmas is coming.” I’m not sure what I will do this year but I know next year I will be eating a ton of mashed potatoes, gravy, mom’s onion bread, carrot-pineapple-orange jell-o and whatever meat is there. Mmmmmmm……


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems I always check to see if you've posted within a day after you do it. Our souls truly are connected! I'm so glad to hear you are doing well, I see you've experienced much loss of things that become dear to you, and I'm sorry you've had to go through that. It looks like you've gained a lot of strength and knowledge on your journey. I love you. Thank you for being an inspiration.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,
it's Anne at AGD. Girl l love reading your stories. i miss you lots. can't wait to see you face to face. i'm so proud of this young man a new man? ") keep having fun and a great time. love ya

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I love reading your blog. We miss you at AGD!!!

-Jeanne Henning

5:00 AM  

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