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Friday, December 22, 2006

Looking the Other Way

Chris says, "Let's resolve to have a good day today, OK?"

And it was.

21/12/2006 - one month in Ghana

Share taxi with Chris. I get off at Circle station (Circle is short for Kwame Nkrumah Traffic Circle - one of the major traffic hubs in Accra). Traffic is killer before Christmas. Lots of standing still.

Photocopy a little shop all the paperwork for the university, incl. transcripts, resume, forms. The power connection comes and goes and the guy working at the store presses copy when the lights stop flickering.

Bus to University. Really nice woman beside me and we chat about this and that.

Drop off the paperwork. The opposition party was having it's leadership conference and the campus was full of people in colourful outfits, small parades, dancing, music. Alive.

Bus back to Circle. Buy fish pies from street vendor, a woman who doesn't speak English i.e. has not gone to school. She is warm and seems happy to communicate with me anyway, however we can.

Bus to Laterbiorkoshie and walk to the office of People's Dialogue. Hang out with Mabel the receptionist/accountant and chat. She is liking me more all the time. Me too her. Chat with Farouk and Lukman about plans for 2007 - I'd like to be doing more hands on stuff. Yes, we'll talk about it. I laugh that they should hire me and Lukman says, with great earnestness, yes! We'd love to hire you because then we could use you even more, have you here more. I'm flattered. When I leave, Mabel gives me a huge hug. Feels so good to be hugged. We've been strangers to everyone for a long time and never really feel close enough to anyone, it seems, to be hugged. I like it and feel... humbled. A friend.

I grab a cab back to Dansoman and it's a cabbie I've had before. We start to talk about politics and about the NDC candidate race. He says he's not about parties and votes for whoever makes the best promises. He starts to complain about the current party, that they haven't done enough, that crime has become a big problem. His cell phone was stolen. "Before," he says, "when the previous party was in power, if you were caught stealing, you would be killed. Now you get a lawyer!" "What we need," he says, "is more people's justice. Like, just recently a 22-yr-old guy was caught trying to steal the contents of a car in Dansoman. The people killed him. They beat him to death." "Were you there?" I ask. "Yes!" he replies, "I was there. And I think it's good he was killed. Too bad he was so young but now others know." Mm-hmmm. "Well," I say, "I think stealing is wrong. It also affects a whole community because you start to be afraid in your own home. BUT, I think is killing is even more wrong." Really, what more could I say?

I do an hour of internet and buy some canned mackerel and walk home. On my way, I stop by at a small shop stall that has beautiful batiks and fabrics. The seamstress takes my measurements and will have a dress ready for me in a week or so. Made to measure dress from hand dyed fabric: CDN$10. Can't be beat. I'm excited for my new dress.

As I am walking, I hear the familiar sound of drums in the park at the top of our street. It's a nightly thing. But somehow, I've never really HEARD it before. It's a warm early evening, already dark outside, and here I am in Africa and I can hear drums and singing. I approach two friendly looking youth on the street and ask, "What is that drumming?" "It's a group." "At the school." "No, at the culture centre." "Culture centre?" "Yes," says the young man, "I'd like to show you. Would you like to come?" "Yes, please. Let's go." He leads me down a path to a small centre at the back where there are not only drummer but eight dancers. They are dancing unbelievably fast. Indescribably fast. And still in sync. I stand mouth agape and watch. Amazing. Truly amazing. The dancers seem a little shy that I'm watching but they are so talented, so fit, so strong. They speak Ga between them, a smaller of the tribes of Ghana (the Ashante being the biggest). What fun indeed. And everyone was so nice.

Eventually I go home, make spaghetti with tomato sauce and fish. I shower and read in bed. Chris is working late for the special edition of the newspaper coming out the next day and his is the cover story. Eventually he comes home, we spend time together as he has his dinner, and tell our tales about the day.

Yes, we both had a good day. Let them all be so!


Media, Info, TV said...

It does sound like a good day. It is always nice to find that it is the simple things that can bring joy, whether you are in Canada or in Ghana, or anywhere else in the world. The whole family is still thinking of you.

Merry Christmas


Anonymous said...

Yes, let them all be good days:)


benjibopper said...

Thanks Jordan, we miss the laugh-in called the Smiths!

Mom, they are getting better all the time.

Renee said...

WOW! sounds like you guys are having multiple great days out there. Good to hear! Miss you like crazy, though. Have a happy new year!

benjibopper said...

Happy new year renee! we often look at the pics you took of us and reminisce on our TO abode. miss you too.