I am in the hotel restaurant having my Ghanian coffee with hot milk. They are getting ready for a breakfast brunch and people are everywhere setting up beautiful bowls of large fruit, looks like a carnival from where I am sitting. I will take a photo.
I came down to the lobby today in my "blue eyes" Ghanian dress and all the employees of the hotel have commented about my outfit. I did not know I was going to elicit this type of reaction. I am embracing their culture and they are appreciative. I look forward to seeing all the amazing dresses at church today, I wish I could photograph all the ladies. The color and prints of the fabric are a tapestry of bold, bright, whimsical, vibrant. And a special thanks to Annette Clarke, for making my outfit. Annette I am thinking of you especially today.
I have to stop for one moment and just say, I love my IPAD, I love the internet and on this trip I brought an Apple Keyboard and I am sitting here typing 100 MPH. Technology is amazing. Yesterday I was texting from my iPad with three different people at the same time, in three different places of the world, Panama, Atlanta and Tortola Island. Patrick and Sherm, every time I use my Apple devices you are in my thoughts.
OK back to Ghana..... yesterday I rode back from the school site in Aiykumah to the restaurant we had fish stew at with Kwame. It was the two of us in the Pontiac Vibe, while the rest of the group went ahead in the Toyota Siena with Richard, the driver who is taking us everywhere during our stay in Ghana.
Kwame and I had a simple conversation about gratitude, a conversation that I will remember forever. Kwame speaks fast, he is very clear in his enunciation, he speaks with a Ghanian -British accent, and he uses hand gestures. He embodies passion 150% ..... every spoken word is the word he meant to say. He is fierce in his loyalty to his country, the children, the hope and the opportunity that is possible with education and with care and concern for the little ones.
Kwame said to me, "Mummy, I don't know how to thank you". He said, "there are no words"... he was trying to find the words, his left hand on the wheel, his right hand in the air, moving, searching for a way to say thank you that could encompass all that he was trying to say. I told him that thanks was not necessary. I told him that the gratitude between us, between Kwame and Renee and all the children and me, is a gratitude that is felt but will go unspoken for the rest of our lives.
I told him the words of gratitude are every time a KG1 or KG2 student recites their A, B, C or when a Primary 1 or Primary 2 can finally get through their multiplication tables. The gratitude is spoken every time the rumbling of a tiny hungry stomach quiets when they have Ceci's wonderful lunch. For a minute or two we were both quiet, I took a deep hot breath, and looked to the sky. The words Thank you God were in my heart and they will forever be.
When I was trying to go to sleep last night, (the time difference kicked in and my mind was fighting going to sleep) I was thinking, thinking, thinking, there are not too many times in my life when I have felt a sense of gratitude so large, so vast, so real that words cannot describe the feelings, the emotions. What a great problem to have, "not finding the right words, words big enough, loud enough, bold enough, to say THANK YOU".
Kwame is a remarkable young man. He is 30 years old. He is passionate, wise, loyal, he is a master negotiator, he is a Father to many of the children, he is a brother to Renee. He calls me Mum or Mummy. Yesterday he shared some of his life's story with Kimberly and Keith, the years living at the market he described in greater detail than what I had heard before. I could picture a band of 5 or 6 boys surviving, living, sleeping, working in a public market because they had no home. One day I am going to sit him down with a tape recorder and do a "proper" interview so I can do justice to his life's journey.
Him and Renee are a pairing made in heaven by angels, there is so much about them that is complete polar opposites, gender, culture, up bringing, economic experience, family life, yet they are a pair united in such a wonderful life journey with sixty plus children learning, learning, learning.
Today we are taking 8 of them to Labadi Beach. As many of you know I love all things water, and the ocean especially. I am looking forward to having that experience with the children, some of have never ridden in a car, some who have never seen the ocean. I will write another post when I get back to the hotel later today.
MA Y MAVA......
------ Short and sweet from my iPad ---------