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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our Goodbyes

(by Miia)
Monday morning Chris and I both sent out text messages to the many people we had befriended during our five months in Ghana. The day was a kind one, with a flood of messages and phone calls coming back at us with well wishes. Like our wedding parties, it was somehow so touching to get a look at all the good people who have blessed our lives.

After finishing up some last pieces of work, I did the rounds, stopping in at all the little shops we had frequented - Mary who sells bread, Ama Mansa who also sells bread, Rebecca who sells us yams and tomatoes, Suzie who sells drinks, Ananse the tailor, the shoe-repair guy, the batik guy, the woman who sells us water and the woman who sells us regular foodstuffs. Some were so sad to see us go, giving us small gifts of bread or canned drinks for the trip home. Henry, our friend who was in the car accident with us in November, came over to be with me as I packed and Vida stopped by with two pieces of batik she had made and gave as a going away gift. Stephen and Prosper met up with us at lunch time and gave us a piece of batik to remember them by. Kwaku came home from work early and Conor, Chris, Chantal and I went out for our last supper.

We went in two taxis to the airport with Chantal, Conor, Kwaku, Mary, Chris and I. Dacosta was already waiting for us there. After we checked our baggage, we rejoined our friends and laughed, talked and sang some songs. Again, it was so heart warming and when, at last, we left them, we heard Conor calling out, "Obruni!" our inside joke making fun of all those who call out to us Obruni every day.

Heart heavy, we joined the long queue, pushed our way through immigration and got on board the plane that, while waiting on the tarmac, had electricity failures three times. But at last, we were up in the air and by sunrise landing in London.

As I always do, I am having a hard time adjusting. I feel dizzy with the culture shock. How different and vast the world is, how different people are. Sometimes we will say all people are the same, all people are kind, all people are generous, etc. but there are differences that you can feel and live. Neither good nor bad, you just have to adapt, find the beauty in it, and enjoy it for what it is. And of course it's sad when you go. It's especially sad when you leave friends who you know will probably never have a chance to visit you so staying in touch will be about when you make it back. In our case, it seems unlikely that we will be in Ghana any time soon.

I don't know how else to describe it. That's just a little about how it is. I miss Ghana as I miss so many people in so many places in the world. But for now, this is the freshest, the most intense and the saddest. I hope it will soften with time and I will be left with a strong sense of appreciation, understanding and love for Ghana. I hope I can share that with you with respect and reverence.

Much love, as always, Miia

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