Walking to lunch, Joyce tries to teach me phrases from her local language-from the Volta region. I try, she laughs at my inability to properly pronounce anything. I ask her, how many languages she speaks, she says 5. And, once again, I feel like a dumb American. She asked me, how many I speak. I say, English, and some Spanish. She then asks how to say a few key phrases in Spanish, and immediately commits them to memory. I can say hello now, and respond “good” when asked how I am. I also asked Joyce her favorite beach around Accra (she has lived here 17 years, since high school). She hasn’t been to any. Evidently, she has a slight fear of the ocean-apparently, this is typical. But she was enthusiastic about trying to go to one “now that she has a friend to take her.” I promised that of course, I would accompany her. I am beyond grateful to have made a friend so early on, and has been a great companion. Her ease and joy makes her an absolute pleasure to be around. Later, she took me to lunch and had me try another local dish, red-red. It’s just beans with a chili sauce that you eat with fried plantains that have a ginger-cayenne seasoning. The sweet and spicy is excellent, and the flavor combination is familiar. So far, I’m loving local food. I’ve read many blogs stating how much volunteers disliked the food, and perhaps I’ll tire of it too, but so far, it’s fantastic.

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