Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday 7-27-08

Well, the day is over. I've wiped the red clay from my feet (actually, I had to scrub it off) and am sitting in bed, happy to have a moment to collect my thoughts without the chaos of an internet café. I suppose I can post this whenever my own computer has internet access at Eban House (no net there today).

A few (okay, not so few) observations/questions:

**How much have you sweated during the day if you put on makeup in the morning but when you wash your face with a cleansing cloth 12 hours later absolutely no remnant of makeup remains? A lot. I thought about Amy Jo today, as I went through the futile ritual of putting on my powder. It makes me feel better for just that moment, like I might look somewhat like my normal self, but by the time I leave the room I'm already sweating it off and my skin is turning "Obruni Koko" red.

**Having said the above, this is definitely the best time of year to travel to Ghana in my book. It's still kind of rainy season, but not an everyday thing. The temps are WAY lower than in (say) April, and the humidity even seems less intrusive. I actually got chilled last night with just my one cloth to cover up with. It is totally enjoyable in my little unconditioned Maa Oye room in the evenings, and not too bad during the day. Of course, this nice weather makes cold showers less than lovely in the morning. I could be imagining it, but it also seems that the mosquitoes are less ravenous. No bites yet. I suppose it could be the 40% deet spray I'm wearing too. ;-)

**An 11 year old child is just that--a child. I have all of these preconceived notions about what "an 11 year old" would be like (since my oldest is just almost 8). In my mind an 11 year old is SO OLD and only the BRAVEST of souls would adopt an 11 year old! And then...and then you meet an 11 year old. And she is just a child. And she just wants a mommy. And she loves and cuddles just like the 3 years old. And she asks me with all sincerity when HER mommy and daddy will come from America. "Auntie Anita," she says, with very sad eyes, "I have no mother." Yes you do Mary. She just hasn't found you yet. I haven't found her yet. But she will come. If I have anything to do with it, she will come. You do have a mother.

**A child with a medical diagnosis is NOT his diagnosis. He is just a child too. OH how Emmanuel longs for a family! He just wants a mommy and daddy so bad! He even brought Gloria (his sibling) over to me today and said, "See Auntie Anita? We are GOOD children!" I tell you what, Emma and Gloria's parents are going to be blessed with 2 amazing children. If there was any way Eric would ever let me have five.... ;-)

**I think every taxi driver is always "the nicest" taxi driver. I purposely didn't keep the same taxi driver today because I was sort of showing Fabu the ropes of getting around. Each driver was kind, and knowledgeable. I always have to fight the urge to get the driver's name/number for future ventures, but at this point I really feel like 95% of the drivers are ALL drivers that I would be happy and feel safe with. If I happen to get one of the other 5% there's really nothing lost. Stop the taxi and get a new one!

**I officially know more people here than I can keep up with. Well, that probably happened a few trips back but it is becoming very apparent this trip! You know you've been to Ghana several times when you have "an earring guy" in Osu and "a drum guy" at the Art Centre, and regularly get stopped by people in Eban House neighborhood with calls of "Auntie Anita!" What's sad is that I can't for the life of me remember every person's name. So it's, "Hi...Pastor?", "Hi...guy who rented us Eban House...and guy who did the masonry work...and guy I think is Uncle Enoch but I'm not totally sure and you seem like you don't know what I'm talking about so maybe you aren’t Uncle Enoch at all!" Yeah...you get the point. I even ran into a taxi driver from a previous trip today!

**Somehow I made it into a memory. Do you remember in February when I got to be a part of bringing 5 children into Eban House from Kasoa? One of those children totally remembers that day, and recounts it to me. "Auntie Anita, do you remember when you picked me from my village (aka Kasoa orphanage) and took me to eat (aka Frankies) and then you gave me a mommy?" Be still my heart! I will remember this child when I have a bad day. It's so amazing to me that I am seen by her as someone who "gave" her a mommy. What a priviledge this work is.

**It's very hard to tell a child that they are not yet matched. No bones about it. Our kids know why they are at Eban House. They know that a different life is coming. They don't know (by experience) what a mommy and daddy are (usually) but by golly they know they want parents--bad. I am shocked by the kids who have only been with us for a very short while that already seem to have such a sincere desire for "their turn." They ask if I have brought them pictures of their family, what state their family lives in, and all I can say is that I am still looking for their family. It is heartbreaking to see the kids then get this look...almost like they are ashamed...they wonder when it will be their turn.

**Fabric is most usually bought in increments of 6 yards here. To make an outfit they said I would need 4 (and I am big). The other two yards makes a great half "sheet" sort of thing for the nights, a great wrap to be used in lu of a robe, a baby carrier, and in general just comes in handy here (and at home for that matter). I bought a length of fabric at the Art Centre for $20 (talked down for $30) last time I was here. This time I went into a fabric store down the road (near Last Stop, on the Eban House side of the road). Got 6 yards of awesome fabric (same quality as art centre) for 14 cedis (without bargaining, that seemed to be pretty set). I'm told that the ladies just next door to Eban House will sew an entire outfit for me (Kaba and slit, whatever that means) for around $5 cedis, and will throw in hemming the extra cloth for free. It feels nice to give our Teshie area merchants my business. I think sometimes I'm so focused on the more touristy/known places that I forget about all of the great stuff we have right here in our own neighborhood. **Update since I wrote this: It cost $10 for each outfit.

**Save some money: Consider just buying one meal a day and supplementing with finger foods for the other two meals. For 25 cedis today I got peanut butter, cheese, bread, muffins, margarine, nutella (a treat I allow myself in Ghana), and bread that will last me for several breakfast and dinner meals. But don't forget a butter knife for spreading (learned that on trip #3)! I plan to get bananas too, as soon as I see a banana lady. Tuna in cans is also readily available. Besides being cheaper, it's just easier to know you can eat whenever you want to.

**Other random tidbits:
"pure water" sachets are up to 6 pesewas (6 cents) per 1/2 liter bag now. Or 80 pesewas for a quantity of 30 bags. First trip to Ghana an individual pure water was 2.5 pesewas and the quantity of 80 was 50 pesewas. Inflation.

A "shared taxi" anywhere along the road that Eban House is off of (Centry Road), between First Junction and Last Stop (maybe 3 miles?) is 40 pesewas per person. Us this service! It's great!!! There is no hassle with how much you pay, a taxi comes by every 5 seconds, and it's completely safe. As long as you don't mind close quarters with your other "share taxi" clientele, you'll have a great time!

I'm sure there's more. There's always more. But this is the limit for my brain tonight. For some reason tonight the ol' noggin just wanted to spit out light random observations. No deep stuff. And that really seems to be the prevailing thought here right now. Nobody wants to talk about what happened last week. It's all with the police now. They want to move on, slowly but surely.



Rosie 4:23 PM  

i just want to adpt as many children as i can from ghana now

HollyAnn 2:03 AM  

Good morning Anita from Liberia! Its cool to know a good friend is on the same continent! Sounds like you are having a good trip! I loved what you said about the kids remembering. You have given me some good ideas for my own blog! I am going to steal them...hope you don't mind! :)

Amy 6:59 AM  

Hi Anita- just wanted you to know I have been praying for you during your trip. Your post broke my heart... just pictures the faces of those children asking for a mom is too much for my heart to handle. I am so thankful for the work you do. Amy

Suzanne 6:00 PM  

OH my am I going to pray for that little girl Mary. Have been praying for the orphanage and Auntie Esther too:-) Glad you got there safelly.