Sunday, June 19, 2011

First Impressions

Ah I made it! After much travel I am officially living in Ghana. There are so many new things and sites that I am having a sensory overload. To describe what it is like is almost beyond words, but I will tell you one story to try to capture the uniquness of this new place I call home.

Vision quest is an opportunity for the volunteer to visit a current PCV and see what it is all about.  I was chosen to head to the northern region where it is more rural, traditional and Muslim.  There is a good chance that I will be sent to this region for site so I was very excited to see and explore the area.  It took a group of us a full day to reach Tamale where a PC office is on buses.  The next day we were going to split up and get on tro-tros to our destination. I was going to a town called Chirifoyilli and it was too small to be on any map.  I went to the crowded Aboabu station (one of many tro stations) and started asking where the tro to this small town was. A man pointed to not a tro, but a massive open bed truck about the size of a school bus. After looking bewildered at him he assured me that yes this will be my transportation for the next two hours. I had to climb a ladder up and over the truck and jump in.  It was market day in the village before my destination.  One woman asked me where I was going because when you see a white woman by herself jump inside a truck Ghanaians will make sure she knows what she is doing. After many slaps on the arm and pointing of fingers, I finally settled down on a bag of salt surrounded by the older woman. They did everything they could to make me comfortable including pushing woman with children away from me. Then everyone started to feed me. I have no idea what I was eating, but I did not want to be rude.  I dug in with my hands and shoveled the food in my mouth.  They quickly learned that I did not know their language. One woman I believe told me I was her friend and another asked my name. Soon I heard "Hannah" being whispered all throughout the truck. 

The truck stopped at the market; however, I had no idea if this was the place I was supposed to be at so I began asking people if they knew a Kim or white woman. No one did. I called Kim and found out that I was a 45 minute walk from the village. The options were to wait and chill out and wonder in the village or continue with the truck. Of course I waited and witnessed my first goat kill three steps into the market. When Kim arrived we drank pito (fermented millet) and sat in a hut. 

That night it was a lunar eclipse. The moon turned red and the vastness and brightness of the stars was brilliant. The traditional story is that the sun swallowed the moon. To free the moon the kids parade down the street drumming for the sun to release the moon.  I just kept thinking this is Africa.

1 comment:

  1. SOUNDS BEAUTIFUL!...sorry I missed your call I was extremely upset when I saw ur missed call and text on my phone. I was in class and honestly if I had seen you calling me I would have excused myself even though my teacher would not have liked that very much lol--but I think hearing from you would have been worth it. I am so glad you are having a good time getting used to it there. Miss you tons already and cant wait to hear from you one way or another in the near future!...xoxoxoxo

    -Chrissy Pants