Monday, of this week, I go through my normal morning routine and then head out to get breakfast. There are these lightly battered donuts with a hard boiled egg inside that has recently stolen my heart… or stomach from my usual koko and kosi. My plan is to get two and then give one to my friend Andrews, who is in the midst of the ladies on the stretch leaving town. He has always offered me food he’s been eating in the past, but I have thanked him and told him that I was full. I don’t want to take food from him after hearing the stories of his family life and his dreams shot down by armed robbers, multiple times. Recently he’s caught onto my strategy and he’s bought me my own portion so I can’t refuse the gift. He’s a good guy and I probably owe him a breakfast or two, so I decide today is the day.
I get the egg filled donuts from an elderly couple who are always excited to see me. After I greet them and talk for a bit, I head over to Andrew’s store. When I get there he has two other friends there. I don’t have enough for them all, so I decide to greet the rest of my ladies along the path and then come back. As I’m walking away, Andrews tells me that I’m invited to his usual breakfast of buttered bread.
I greet my ladies and skip the one dishing out food for the school children. She’s the one who has given me bananas, pinapple, and cabbage many times in the past. I greet her on the way back and she bgives me a heaping pile of a food called wache. It is dark and looks like big pieces of rice, almost the size of a bean. She even adds a piece of fish on top. As usual, I ask her how much I owe her and she tells me just to take the food. Now I’m carrying a bag of eggs and a bag of the wache. On my way back to Andrews he has more friends at his place and they are insistant in me going home to eat my food before it spoils. Not thinking quickly enough for how to solve the problem I just head home and figure I’ll try antoher day. Great, now I’m heading home without giving Andrews any of the food and I’m actually coming back with more food, that was given to me! That was pretty much the opposite of my plan.
Back home I eat the eggs and save the wache and fish for lunch. For the rest of the morning I take care of Expo stuff and prepare to give the final test for Wonoo tomorrow. I want to do the ceremony on Wednesday, but Spencer needs to givure out the funds available and print out the certificates for the students, so we agreed next week would be best. My only issue is if the tutor, Ben, cant make it the following week. He is the only one who has to travel far and I don’t want him to miss because of that. I also don’t want Spencer to miss the ceremony because I know him and these students have a strong connection. After I plan a little and create the final test I heat up my lunch. The wache is very good and she gave me a lot of peppay, which I always love. I’m getting better at preparing the ifsh too. It’s already cooked, but I have to be careful when I take it apart or the bones will be broken into pieces all through the fish. If I split the fish in half and leave the spinal cord in tack, then the tiny bones will mostly still be attached to the bigger bones. Then I can just grab the tail and lift and all the bones come out at once in a nice attached string. However, if I break any of the big bones, then the smaller ones fall off and stay in the fish meat. Then I will have to spend an extra half an hour eating while I have to hkeep stopping to pick out the bones. This time I’m successful and get all the bones out easily.
After lunch, I have a few errands to run around town. Spencer visited a school for diabled children and paid them to make some fabric for the Expo staff. He gave me some fabric to make an expo shirt. I take the fabric to the talylor right next to my compound. He’s eating, so I tell him I”ll be back. I go over to visit George Bush. I haven’t seen him for over two weeks because last week he was sick and the two weks before, I was sick. I enter his store and excitedly greet him. What I haven’t asid about George Bush in the past, is that he is physically disabled, so it takes him a long time to walk anywhere and it always look painful on his knees when he does. He has to do a strange duck walk and shuffle on the tips of his toes to get around. I always feel sympathy for him when I see him walking, but I try not to show it because I don’t want him to feel any worse about his situation. Then, he tells me he wasn’t sick like I was, but he had a problem with his knees. Apparently some one found him on the ground and asked him what he’s doing sitting there and not at work. He told the person there’s something wrong with his knee and he can’t stand. After that he went home and eventually to the hospital. He’s telling me all this and I feel like I could cry at this point. It’s a shame that such a genuinely good and generous person could have such a hard time with life. I apologize that he had to go through that and say some praises about god in Twi. He asks me about my sickness and I quickly tell him the basic details as I feel bad that what I had to deal with didn’t compare with what he did and still has. I ask him how he is going to get home from work with his heavy bag and he says that his brother is there to help him. I’m glad because not only is the bag heavy, but it’s heavy because it’s full of money. He’s a micro finance manager, so his job is to deal with a lot of money every day. Then, he says that he leaves before his brother, so he has to carry it in the morning. I tell him that I would like to help him in the morning, but he says it’s fine andplus I don’t even know where he lives and I just quietly agree. I tell him it’s great to see him again and leave, tell him that we will meet again tomorrow.
I head back next door to the tailor and hand him the cloth. He takes it and measures my toro. He asks how much I want to pay and I give him 5 cedis. He tells me that’s fair because he normally charges 10, for for the fabric. As I’m leaving he tells me he is going to try his best to give me a quality shirt, so Iwhen I get more fabric I will go back to him. I laugh, thinking that’s always how it should be, and leave for the SHS.
I take the long way so I can greet the people in the places of town I don’t normally go. My mission leately is give give people more of my time and really get to know and listen to everyone in the town. The second group of people I pass on my walk, call me over and I join them on their stoop. We go over the usual conversation in Twi and then they start to teach me more Twi words. At the break of the conversation I tell them I’m thirsty and I’m going to leave to buy water. They tell me to sit and send someone to buy me some. I sit back down and try to absorb more of the Twi. My head is spinning at this point because we’ve gone over so many new words, that are unrelated to anything I’ve done. A woman comes back to the group with two sachets of water for me. After some time I tell them I must be going to the SHS. I continue and buy some bananas and ground nuts for the walk to and from the SHS.
I meet the Academic Headmaster and get the dates of when the students close from school, so I can appropriately plan the ceremony in Antoa in Two weeks. On my way back to town I stop by Moses’s shop and offer him some bananas. His eyes light up as we share some of the bananas. He’s pretty busy working, so we don’t talk much, but I’m transfixed watching him work. He’s a welder, grain grinder, car mechanic, and blade sharpener. It’s always fun watching the myriad of tasks he is completing. This time he gets on the grain grinder and it’s very loud, so I decide to take my leave. I greet my ladies back into town and then stop by Andrews shop. No one is here and I’m glad as I pull out the rest of the bananas. He gets me a water like usual and we share the bananas and talk. Then he goes and buys us some meat pies and I’m quickly stuffed, so I give him the rest of the bananas to finish.
I head home and get ready to fetch some water as the sun is setting. I’m getting much better at fetching the water and my arms aren’t burning quite as bad at the end of the three trips. I’ve also developed a strategy to fetch water at both time of the day when the sun isn’t up, but it’s light is still providing enough to see. I wrap up some things with Wonoo and get ready for the big day tomorrow.
As I’m getting ready for bed I get my headphones to relax to some music while I fall asleep. This has been my main antidote to listening to the people behind my place ‘churching’. It’s a very small church and for some reason they feel the need to blast their microphones and music as if they had 10 times the audience. Not to mention that their singing sounds like a wounded animal and they don’t hold back as they all scream at the top of their lungs. As I’m listening to music I get an idea. I realize how small Antoa is and figure it will be very easy to find George Bush’s house. I couldn’t imagine hearing him falling one morning and hurting him self because no one would offer to carry his bag. I make a strong determination to remember to go to his house around 07:00 to help him get to work. After that I fall fast asleep.