[Written Monday, January 19, 8pm]
Let me warn you from the get go that this is going to be a hodge podge message. All day long when I'm here I try to file away little tidbits that I wish I knew before my first trip, or maybe just things that I'll never remember once I get home. So just take this as my random thoughts and a bit of info from Ghana.
**My luggage is here!!!!! I am sitting in PJs and out of the clothes I've been wearing for three days!!! I will never again take my wal-mart wardrobe for granted!
**It is really easy for me to focus on all of the ways that I think Eban House needs to improve. I would be fooling myself if I said I ever thought we would be perfect. And much of the reason I traveled now is because of things that need to be improved upon. But "our" kids (and staff, for that matter) really do have it pretty good. I'm constantly trying to improve and oversee the menu plan we have for our kids (3 meals, 2 snacks every day). It's one of my ongoing frustrations because no matter how much I try to feed our kids according to the well-rounded diet we would like for them to have in America, this is Ghana. And in Ghana they do things differently. It's hard for our aunties to wrap their minds around the kids getting that much food every day. So dinner turns into a lighter meal than I would like. But today I heard about another orphanage in our area where the kids are sometimes getting only one small meal a day. An orphanage where the kids run wherever they want in the neighborhood. An orphanage where adoptions ARE happening with American and Canadian families. I'm very thankful for our nice enclosed Eban Houses environment where, even if the kids don't get the exact balance of protein and carbs I'd like them to have, they ARE getting more than enough food every day. And they ARE getting much more supervision than your typical Ghanaian orphan.
**The more things change, the more they stay the same! Every time I arrive in Teshie I am struck by how different everything is. There are new chop bars and restaurants, and older ones have closed down. [Kjag--the Ultimate is totally new since August!] There are ATMs popping up everywhere--which is totally amazing to me! I think there were like three in the city a few years ago. New churches. Remodeled Houses. New, new, new. And yet, it's all the same too. The same construction on Beach Road. The same impassable road in front of Eban. The same really good "Chicken Burger" at Dutchotel--even though it's now called "African Royal Beach Hotel." The same fading billboard on the side of the road--but next to the brand new lighted one!
**Old McDonald...came to Ghana! Seriously, I have come to walk past the plethora of farm animals within one block of Eban House and not even notice them. But today, for the first time, I saw a small herd (meaning like 6 cows) right outside of our gate. That got me to looking at all of the other animals within a few doors. Chickens, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, cows, and a guinea fowl!
**To all Ghana adoptive parents...I cannot tell you how much your post-placement reports mean to social welfare. It is a big gathering when the post-placement photos come out and everybody loves to see the kids in their new families. Send them in!
**Shopping: Ugh. I really don't know if I am going to get to do any shopping this trip. With me missing an entire day because of travel delays, it's got to be made up somewhere. I really need to go to Volta Region and Central Region. That takes two days. That only leaves two days for other important tasks I have to do at Eban House. I seriously don't think I will be able to meet with the nativity lady. But I'll be back before the end of the year and will surely be able to get them then.
**Hot Water Heaters: I think I figured it out! My last trip in Ghana I stayed at a hotel (Rye Manor) where I knew they should have dependable hot water. And other families had all had hot water. But my room only spit out slightly luke warm water. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I flipped the switch to turn it on (think a light switch for your hot water), waited for 1/2 an hour (just like they say) and then took my shower. I could hear it working. I could feel that it was hot when I touched the tank. But I didn't have hot water. Same deal here for the past few days. And then this morning by some miracle I accidentally turned it on the right way. Of course it was at the end of my shower, but let's not focus on that. This entire time I had just walked in and turned the HOT water knob and expected hot water to come out. I didn't realize that you have to turn on the COLD water knob at least a bit for the hot water to kick in!!! Okay. So this is only a theory. But I did have gloriously hot water for about 3 seconds today when I did that. I will report back tomorrow to let you know if I have indeed cracked the Ghanaian hot water heater code! Hopefully all of you who have been to Ghana and successfully navigated the hot water heaters are not laughing at me know because I still have it wrong. I want to be right! I want hot water!
There were other things I was going to tell you but they've already passed through the recesses of my brain into a secret vault that I can't access. I should right myself notes. My brain just doesn't work as well here as it does in the states.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
[Written Monday, January 19, 8pm]