Friday, June 27, 2014

Settling In

       The hardest thing to adjust to here is the difference between Ghana time and New York time. In New York, 7:30 means 7:30. In Ghana, 7:30 means 8:30, or maybe 7:20, or maybe 9:00. Just be ready. Or don't be ready. It's your choice, because, "It's Ghana, no pressure." I went immediately from schedules and to-do lists to sitting in a chair in the afternoons with nothing to do for hours on end. It was a little unsettling at first, but I'm pretty good at it.
       This week I taught a science lesson about the two seasons in Ghana. Apparently, we're in the one where the weather "gets pleasant." When I walk through the markets or sit somewhere without a fan, I'm not so sure. During the day at school, there is usually a lovely breeze when you open all the shutters and doors. Sometimes a chicken walks into the room through that open door, but it walks back out soon enough, no harm done.
       In school, I've been teaching English, math, writing, and science. The girls don't have textbooks, so they do a lot of note-taking. They don't always have notebooks either, so the volunteers try to buy some to donate, along with pencils, erasers, and markers. They are so grateful to receive them, and it's taught me that I waste to much and take too much for granted. I've never before been concerned about whether or not I would have a pencil for school, but so many do. Even so, they are very giving, and will squish into one bench so they can give me their chair.
       During breaks, they tried to teach me a clapping game that I can now participate in, but I have no clue who is winning. I can't figure out how it's scored, but I clap and trust that they'll tell me when I'm out. I take pictures of them, and then I have many girls around me asking me to "snap a picture" of them. I give a lot of high fives and hold a lot of hands too, so I'm never alone.
       Today was two of the volunteers' last day at the school, so there were many good-byes and a lot of raucous dancing. Some of these girls could be professional drummers, and I'm surprised the desks are still standing after the beating they took. I did see one girl pounding nails back into a desk with a rock, so they probably won't last forever.
       It's hard to believe that one week is done. I can now hail a taxi to town and more importantly, get one back to the house. I can greet people in Dagbani, and I can sit with my own thoughts for hours at a time. It's not always easy, but it's a start, and I have plenty of time to perfect these skills in the weeks to come!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post. I love reading about your adventures. What a culture difference... but what a wonderful experience. Thanks for the reminder about not taking things for granted. Happy for you and sending you some hugs and a big imaginary fan that runs even when the power is out. :) Xo