It’s Monday and I’m ready to start another great day. Today on the schedule I will go to American Man’s house at 10:00 so he can introduce me to the big wigs at the SHS, I will travel to Wonoo to speak with the English Master to get the term schedule for her class and make copies for the initial JHS test tomorrow.
I head to American Man’s house at 09:20, just to make sure I get there in time. It is the back way out of town so I won’t see as many people, but those few ladies can be very talkative some days. I literally got to his house not much at 09:30. I like to get to places early, but this is just too early. Good think I brought a book and flash cards. I came in his house and told the guard I was there early and didn’t expect Daniel to be ready. Daniel’s wife insisted I come in and she put on the news for me as I half paid attention and half studied my Twi.
The news was mostly focusing on Syria. There was a live debate of some sort on with John Kerry and the UK and France people. It seemed like the people in the debate were making fun of John Kerry for not knowing how to speak French. I felt a bit embarrassed to be on the American side. It almost seemed like they were making fun more for only knowing one language, than just not knowing French. Then he ended his sentence with bonjour. Except he said it in an American accent. It’s one thing if he just didn’t try to learn French, but don’t show a lazy effort. Who knows though maybe instead of using the time to learn French he is working hard to keep up on issues all across the world. I have a strange feeling that’s not his excuse. I guess if I focus on John Kerry instead of his topic of discussion that would be a bit hypocritical.
I don’t know all of the details of the Syria situation, but the parts I have heard have been very disturbing. I feel compassion for the men causing the violence and wish it wouldn’t involve innocent people, especially the young children. I wonder how many of these world leaders have taken the time to fully understand the Muslim religion and the extreme sects that have formed. How much time have they taken to understand the community situations where these extreme group are most often formed. I’m not saying any of this is justified, but maybe there is a bigger picture to these people, then just being evil. What, if anything, are the developed nations doing to contribute to this mess? Maybe our dependence on foreign oil was a spark? Maybe it all started when humans migrated out of Africa to the Fertile Crescent, where there over processed the land and created much of the desert that covers the Middle East. Please, don’t misunderstand; I’m not trying to defend the opposition. I think what I’m talking about now is bigger than the Syrian issue. All I’m saying is that the world leaders need to stop pointing fingers and defining people as right and wrong. There are different aspects to every situation and every one is entitled to their view, but until we begin to ask why and really, compassionately, understand each other, this kind of violence will continue perpetually.
Hah, I had to get that out my system. I don’t have anyone here I can rant to yet, so I this stuff will just come out at times. I want to be very clear though. I don’t pretend that I know the answer or that my ideas are correct. My ranting might sound aggressive at time, but I really want to hear and fully accept different viewpoints. I understand that I am too young to know what I don’t know, but if I don’t start to challenge this stuff now, then I will just grow into a cog in this machine of suffering and pain. If you think I completely have this thing wrong, then let me know I’d love to get a different viewpoint to think about.
Wow all this is going through my head while I’m watching TV at American Man’s house. I’m good at staying present aren’t I? So, Daniel just came and now we are headed over to the SHS. Did I just say so? The headmaster was happy to meet me, but really to busy to deal with such matters. He sent me over to the Academic Headmaster. American Man and I left setting an appointment for me to come back on Wednesday for a list of 10 of the brightest SHS students. American Man told me that he is happy to drive me two towns up to the junction that heads off to Wonoo. He is going in the other direction because no one really ever needs to go to Wonoo. As we were getting into the car he is commenting to me about how hot it is. It feels a bit hot, but I’m trying to ready myself for the hot season. Apparently it is so hot that people just don’t leave their houses from 09:00 to 16:00. I think it’s nice out and I’m ready for a long walk to Wonoo. This is the same place that the large truck dropped me off last week. The people here must think I have a lot of friends. The walk was fairly normal. I greeted everyone I passed and there were only a few people that didn’t get a huge smile as they responded. The people along this walk are so friendly it’s almost sickening. I even find myself waving to the cars that pass. I would never wave to a car that passed me back home. I got back to the town right before Wonoo and got more marriage proposals. This woman was a little more aggressive and I think was talking about sex. She was so forward she just said it in front of the people and the young man next to her even translated it for me. I just laughed and really hoped she just had a good sense of humor. I got to Wonoo and found out that the English Master is in the hospital for the day. They Headmaster then told me she would be in tomorrow, when I arrive for the first tutoring session. Either it wasn’t that serious or that is a bad excuse. Either way I still needed to come to make copies. I walk back over to the primary school to the second story, where there is a copy machine and computer lab. The copy machine is probably the first one that was ever created in the US. It’s huge! I’m trying to figure out how to load paper and there are big plastic handles that I have to turn to pop the back off. I half expect children to be sitting in the box with a file and ink pen. Well, that is the process for copying keys.
The copying is done and now it is time for the walk back. On my way out of the town I greet the people on the edges of the street, as always. I want to have a whole arm of people on my side in case something goes wrong. People don’t really call the police here when something goes wrong; the citizens just deal with it themselves. There’s more reasons that I meet the locals, but that one really forces me to take my time and not miss anyone. There is an older man on the edge of town who seemed very interested in meeting me. His face is very kind and he laughed through our whole conversation. I will make his porch a routine stop. I want to sit with him there and learn as much as he is willing to teach me. As I get toward the other edge of Wonoo I greet two women who are getting food. The woman being served takes her food and leaves. I stay and invest some time in the woman selling the food. She was very attractive in a get-her-hands-dirty farm girl kind of a way. I couldn’t tell if she was hitting on me or not, everyone here is just so nice. She was certainly less aggressive than those crazy women in the town before Wonoo. She, along with many others, is perplexed that I haven’t married yet. I feel more pressure to settle down from my new friends than I ever had from my parents. She gave me her number and said her name is Helda. She asked if I like rice and before I could respond she gave me a baggy of rice, veggies, pepper, and an egg. I pull out my money and ask how much I owe her. She told me I don’t owe her anything. I said daabi daabi daabi. Which means no no no. “I don’t feel right not giving you money, I want to support your business and town.” She said my money isn’t good there and instead to get her something next time I’m in Kumasi. I left the rice stand blown away at her generosity. As I got to the edge of town there was a large group of elderly women. I greet them planning to have the whole conversation in Twi. I hung in there the whole way until they asked me, again, why I’m not married. One woman walks up really close to me to get a good look at my face. She yells to the others “Oh, he’s just a small boy!” I leave and say “nante yie.” Remember that means walk well or safe journey. They all cracked up at my Twi. Then after they turn around I add “Y3b3 hyia bio.” That means we shall meet again. The old one, who approached me, yelped into laughter. I can hear them talk about me as I am walking down the road out of town. The walk back was very relaxing and only took a few hours.
I get back into town and just relax the rest of the night. I want to rest before I walk back to Wonoo tomorrow to administer the JHS pre-tests. I run out of phone credit and need to go across the street to get it refilled. The phones here are mostly pre paid. You start by buying a sim card that goes into the phone. This is what gives you the phone number and the processing chip to add the credit onto. Then there are vendors that sell little scratch off cards with codes that you enter to add the minutes. Anyway, I get over to the shop and greet the woman. There are a few kids around and I greet them as well. One of the kids runs up behind me and gives me a huge hug. Then he grabs my arm and starts to stroke the hair on my forearm. Next, he grabs my hand and brings it really close to his face. I think he was either smelling me or trying to taste my skin. I find out that they don’t sell sim cards here and try to walk away. The boy wont let me go! He grabs my hand and finally tries to leave with me. I’ve had this happen before with young children. I don’t think, especially those in these small towns, get to see white people very often. I really think he wasn’t convinced I was human. I had many people young and older come up to me and rub my skin and say “your skin is soft and my skin is very rough.” I don’t even know how to respond to that yet. I just say, “yes, and I burn very easily because of that.” I seriously feel at time that I am a walking museum piece.
The night ended with a black out. It didn’t help that it is a very hot night. Needless to say, it took a long time to fall asleep.