One month ago, I arrived in Ghana at night, the dark making it difficult to get my bearings or really understand where I was. Tonight, I fly again at night, stealing away while everyone is sleeping. I remember telling myself as I walked across the tarmac that first night, that the next time I saw this spot, I would be feeling sad and nostalgic. I was mostly telling myself that to calm my nerves, having just flown into Accra alone. It helped to think that soon, it would all feel familiar. In the end, though, I was right. I knew I would be.
On one of my last nights here, a Ghanaian asked me, "What did you dislike about Ghana, and what did you like about Ghana?" The answer to the first question may not come as a surprise: I was never able to figure out what time anything was happening, or whether it was even happening at all. I think I would need a lifetime to get used to Ghana time. For the second, there are many answers, but one comes easily. It's the girls I'll miss seeing every morning at school. I loved their questions and their shouts of "Madam! Madam!" I loved that they took naps during breaks, because that's just what I would have done if I were them. I loved that they were willing to do jumping jacks to wake back up before lessons, and I loved it even more when the jumping jacks just turned into dancing.
When any volunteer leaves, they sing a terribly depressing song with the line, "My friends are going away/ I have nobody to comfort my soul/ Goodbye, Goodbye." As if I wasn't already sad enough. I'll never forget when they ran out of the classroom to wave goodbye as I got in the taxi. True, they were following the teacher who had one last question for me about their exam, but I like to think that they would have done it anyway.
In other words, there are many things I'm taking away from Ghana. Some are memories, and some are weighing down my backpack so heavily that I'm really starting to dread the commute home. If things get too heavy, I'll just take a leaf out of Ghana's books and start selling the contents of my bag market-style on the streets of New York. Then it'll be home again, for a long nap in honor of my sleepy students.