Life so far…

23 April 2012

I made it safely to the city-I have no idea how. The morning I left Gumo there was a really bad motorcycle accident on the main road in front of the village. Motorcycles are very popular in Tamale, and very very few people wear helmets. Walking around the city you can see an entire family on one bike. Or a woman with a child in front and a baby tied to her back. It’s pretty crazy. In Ghana anyone’s business is everyone’s business, so there was a huge group of people surrounding the accident. I caught a glimpse of one of the men who got hurt and he had a shirt tied around his head-I’m sure there was a huge gash in his head. They got him into a taxi, to the hospital and the men were delibirating something. About an hour later, they were piling buckets of dirt and rocks onto the road. It took me awhile to realize they were making a speed bump. In the States a community would have to go through so much paperwork, decision-making, etc. for a speed bump to be put in place. But here, the elders and men of the village decided to create one-right then and there. It was funny at times because there was no warning for vehicles, and their work was constantly interrupted. And a few taxi’s had to make a few attempts to get over the bump.
Then, it took awhile to leave Gumo, but Asana, Auntie Azara and Rukaya kept me company. Taxi’s don’t usually pass through Gumo early in the morning, so we sat for a while waiting. At least we had good entertainment from the speed-bump construction, and people would approach me and ask “Why didn’t you tell me goodbye?”- people that I’ve never seen before… Asana and Auntie didn’t want me to take a ‘lorry’ a truck/bus vehicle; so instead they called down a motorcycle…I don’t know what they were thinking either. But, I know what you’re thinking mother-how could I get on the motorcylce, without a helmet, with my big backpack, when a bad accident just happend? I don’t know, adventure…! It was terrifying at first, especially going over the speed bumps. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of how ridiculous I looked. But somehow the driver and I made it safely to where I was meeting Sala.
I’m staying with Aunti Fati and Sala, two SIT staff members. I’m sitting outside now under a tree for shade. Their home is surrounded by trees and there are chickens, roosters and pigeons everywhere! I’m really glad I decided to stay here-it’s really peaceful and I’ve been able to meet more wonderful people. It was also interesting transitioning from a village to the city for several reasons. I sleep on a bed inside, but everyone sleeps on the ground..and last night I could not get to sleep. ( I also don’t sleep with a bug net, because I think I would get heat stroke..haha so let’s hope I don’t get malaria in the last week I’m here!)
I might’ve been overstimulated from a tv show playing on the laptop, and Bad Boys 2 playing on the TV, all at once. But I was also incredibly HOT, I could not stop sweating and I was wearing only underwear! Also, the kids sleep in here until 6.30 or 7, where in the village everyone was up by 5am. They also watch TV alot here, but it’s never really loud, which is nice. Two nights ago we watched the new King Kong, which was really weird..Selma, an older girl really got into the fighting scenes-it was great fun!
There are four young kids here, which makes it difficult at times to do my work, but yesterday they would NOT leave me alone, so I gave them 2 flashcards each and mechanical pencils that I brought. They sat down at the table with me and they made drawings while I typed. Success!
I’m finished with my observational research, I’m just doing interviews in the city now and trying to finish typing it. It’s supposed to be 30 pages, but who knows if I’ll be able to make it that long…I want to finish it early because many of us are going to meet up in Cape Coast and enjoy our last few days here! It’s SO crazy to think I have less than 3 weeks here. I haven’t been thinking about it much (which makes it go by faster) because I’ve been worried about finshing my paper in time and spending time with my friends before we disperse across America. The goodbyes are going to be the saddest!

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