Last Week’s Schedule.

Given that in the next 12 days our access to internet may not be reliable (or exist for that matter), I’m posting our schedule so that you at home have a general idea where we’re supposed to be.

Friday. We take a trotro north about three hours to Kumasi, another large city (capital of the Ashanti Region) and stay the night in Techiman so we can visit the monkey sanctuary there. I still harbor some resentment towards the species since the spic lunch-stealing-tree-monkey incident, we’ll see how it goes.

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A Strange Day

The sky was strange this morning. Directly above, clear skies. Yet ominous clouds threatening rain circumscribed the brilliant blue above me. The air was unusually stagnant, the soft omnipresent breeze that normally provides relief to the staggering heat-humidity was gone.  Even when I woke this morning, something felt off, yet I couldn’t place what. I wandered the 50 meters from the guesthouse to main farm office. The normal murmur of activity was missing, aside from muffled sounds of sheep running through the fields; hardly anyone seemed to be around. I sat on the bench in front of the main office waiting for the trotro to arrive, watching ants meander back and forth on the pavement in front of me. The trotro, which arrives every hour, appeared in the distance, but it wasn’t slowing down. The driver stuck out his hand waving back and forth, signaling it was full, I would have to wait. I slid back into my seat, ready to wait out yet another hour when a car pulled up with someone who worked on the farm offering to take me to the next junction, where I could grab a trotro to Madina station, and then onto the University. His timing was perfect, relieved, we set off.

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Religion, Everywhere.

Each morning, on the bumpy ride to work I stare out the window, confronted with signs such as “Jesus Saves Hair Salon.” Or, perhaps, “Our Redeemer Construction.” Reading these, you might think Ghana is religious. You would be right. Predominantly Christian, but with a strong Muslim following, with a smattering of other/local religions, Ghana is like most of the developing world, fiercely religious. I found in Tanzania, when asked if you were religious, the answer was, yes, of course-catholic to be specific-lest you want an hour lecture (out of concern, not malice) about your after-life, regardless of your true beliefs. So, I’ve taken a cautious approach and change the subject whenever possible. As a side note, those signs, which constantly provide entertainment aren’t just religious, like east Africa (Bling Bling Barber Shop comes to mind)-there are plenty of other, I’ll say, interesting names and signs postings (often on the back of trotros).  For example, next to the previously mentioned hair salon is a wall with a note spray painted large enough to likely see from a plane: STOP URINATING HERE FOOL. Apparently, it’s problem.

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I was born on Tuesday. I’m telling one of the workers who stopped me on my way to the clinic. November 4th, 1986-election day, though I don’t tell him this. I had been walking the half-mile stretch from my house to the farm clinic, caught up in observing the road. I was thinking it fascinating that when the sun was out the ground took on a light cafe color, but as the sun went behind a cloud, a deep orange tinge seeped up, seemingly from under the dirt. If there was water it swirled, thick, making the ground appear like wet clay that could set at any moment. I don’t know why I found this so interesting, as my eyes followed the short staccato of patched grass lining the middle of the road. I’ve been in my head more than usual lately. I think without an outlet of an “other” to relay my observations, they’ve been building up in my head, causing me on occasion to all but completely remove myself from the present. The worker who stopped me had jolted me out of my head as he said hello, in Twi. He spoke more, my dumbfounded expression made him smile, and laughing switched to English. “You understand?” No, I admitted, I didn’t. He then asked me what day I was born, meaning day of the week, not date. I told him Tuesday, and he told me he would call me adina (or was it adima), either way, I had heard “edema” as in cerebral edema. I thought this strange, until repeating, I realized that isn’t what he had said. I kind of liked edema though, I’m not entirely sure why. Each day of the week has a name associated with it, a nickname of sorts. The little boy in the house shares the same day as one of many Johns who work here, so he has taken to calling him “name.” People, I’ve noticed have many names here, I’ve yet to figure out exactly why.

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