Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saying Goodbye

       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.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Ghana? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Ghana in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez