Mar 16, 2014

Saturday March 15th ~

I was ready at 8am to meet Teacher Lawrenda. We visited with her sister and brother in law, Millicent and Pastor Daniel at their home in Dodowa, which is the District Capital in Ghana for the area that Ayikumah Township is in.

Our new school is located 10 kilometers from Dodowa and when we move we will be relying on many services from the Dodowa area; I wanted to meet with Lawrenda's family as they have been residents of that area for 9 years.

I of course came ready with a list of questions and I was able to gather lots of great information. Pastor Daniel and Millicent confirmed many things that I was already aware of, their perspective and their experience with services like the local clinic, the post office, the bank, the market, was very informative and encouraging.

Dodowa is a word in the one of the Ghana languages, TWI and it means, "there are plenty or there a multitude of people".

I was a tiny bit nervous driving out there, not about how to get there, but because of possibly being asked for my "driving documents", at any of the police check points along the way. I had all my documents with me, however you never know. Today the police was out in force, the checkpoints were all stopping cars and it was not my turn.

Dodowa is at least 10 degrees cooler on average than Accra area. We sat outside of the Millicent and Daniels home under a very tall and broad mango tree. I was thrilled to be in such a familiar space, under the shade of the broad arms of a very large flowering mango tree. At my Grandpa's finca in Panama, these trees were treasures for me. I was an avid tree climber when I was young and the mango trees are perfect for that activity.

We met for about an hour and then we were on our way to Ayikumah to greet Ben, Kwame's brother who stays at the school site full-time. Kwame and I will go back on Monday to meet with Divine, he manages a crew that is doing the work to get the 2nd story roof on the building.

Driving in Ghana is work. You have to pay very close attention and you have to be willing to stop traffic. Everybody does this so it is expected that cars will inch their way into oncoming traffic and someone will usually quickly give way. (usually not always)

The other big challenge is you have to stay focused on driving. There is so much activity on the roadside everywhere, when you are a passenger you can be thoroughly captivated by all the kiosks, people on scooters, bicycles, walking, vendors, goats, dogs, chickens, people walking everywhere to and fro, the ladies with all the baskets, basins and towers of commerce on their heads, the sounds of loud music or a road side preacher, perhaps a small brush fire, people crossing the street, trotos that stop right in front of you, or want to get ahead of you by passing on the right hand side of the car, and then there is always someone urinating somewhere on the side of the road, it is high activity everywhere all the time. You can easily be distracted. Today I was focused on the road, it was like being a student in Drivers ED back in 9th grade at Kennedy High School.

Back at the compound by 1pm I had a wonderful pineapple lunch. I can never tire of the delicious, fresh, juicy taste. Ceci cuts up the fruit in perfect bite size chunks. And they are always very cold.

I had some rest in the volunteer quarters, I took a nap on the small rattan sofa in the front part of the unit, I had the over head fan on speed three today, it was a hot hot mid day, the West African sun intense.

The soccer match started at 3:30pm. I walked over the field at the Anumle school area across the junction road. We got beat 6-0. The team we played was all older boys, all tall with long legs and they practice everyday. They were simply too fast for our team. Our team did a great job holding their heads up high and they had fun.

Stefan and I had dinner with Ceci after 6pm. We sat in the kitchen area until about 7:15pm. We had village wide LIGHTS OUT about 7pm for about 10 minutes. Because it is Saturday and many people are out, the collective village SIGH when the lights went out was loud.

I am typing this update in the volunteer quarters, the family next door is having dinner outside, there are 5 or 6 adults sitting low to the ground wooden benches, they are laughing, talking, having a good time. I feel like I am right in the middle of their evening. Small children are interrupting the adult conversation, singing, laughing. Every so often I hear one of the children saying "Daddy, Daddy".

As soon as I finish these last few sentences, I will go to the back for my bucket shower. Ceci will have the water ready in the shower area for me. It is a FULL MOON and the breeze is blowing - on nights like these I wish I had several buckets of water.

I will post this update Sunday. Hope all is going well wherever you are.