ARE YOU PACKED? YOU TOOK YOUR SHOTS? LET’S GO GHANA! AND THE BEST PART IS… YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET A PASSPORT!
Coming to Ghana Day 9 – Down by the riverside
I decided to wash some of my clothes and my towel so I have a week worth of clean clothes, towel and underwear. I drew water from the bucket that Shalom filled up the night before by the river. I got my soap and started washing everything by hand. It was hard work in the heat. I rinsed my clothes, threw away the water and hung my clothes on the line to dry. I had not done this since I was a young teenager back home in Guyana. It had brought back memories of mum washing our clothes in the back yard and I would fetch water from the outside pipe to assist her. It brought a smile to my face of simpler times in my life.
After a well-earned breakfast, we took advantage of the cloudy morning to power walk to school. When we arrived we learnt that on Tuesdays the children have two free periods and a break to play and socialise. The teachers sat under the shade and supervised the children. I did not understand why nor did Marie because we never experienced school like this one before.
Dorkus, Shalom, Marie and I gathered in our chairs and spoke about the plans for the lessons for the rest of the week. The children had exams next week so we needed to go over everything they already learnt. The pressure was on and I wanted the children to do well. My students from my class would ever so often run to me to play or bring a book to point at pictures to learn the words in English. They taught me a few words in their language which was a great experience.
One bowl of rice and peas later, Marie gathered her class to teach them to read in English. She made books out of printing paper and yarn as a binder. Her students took out their pencils and colouring pens and copied the words and pictures on the blackboard. I gathered my children to teach them to count under the shade. There were so many smart children in the school and I thought to myself, “I pray these bright children will have a chance at a formal education after they graduate primary.” I felt like their parent as well as their teacher. I enjoyed each child for their personality and love.
The school drew to a close and we all power walked back to the base with the cooling breeze and our backs to the sun. When we got home, we were dripping wet in sweat. Marie stripped and collapsed into the chair. I went to pick up my washing, change my sheets and wash a mango to eat.
I was exhausted! Five local children returned from last week to take a peek at the “ya-voo”, Marie. I was not in the mood for noise and tomfoolery so I stood guard at the porch whilst eating my mango. They came and greeted me. I greeted them but did not move from my porch. They were desperate to catch a glimpse of Marie. I retired inside to relax and closed the door. The children stayed for a few more minutes before leaving.
Later in the evening when the breeze returned. Marie, Shalom, the teacher and I came out onto the porch to enjoy the cool of the evening. Much was not exchanged between us but we all sighed with relief from the continuous sweating. Shortly after, Shalom grabbed her water basin and said she was going down to the river. Marie and I volunteered to go down with her. She gave me a bucket and said that we can carry the water like a Ghanian.
We passed a few locals on our path to the river. They mostly were staring at Marie. When we got to the river, Shalom walked a few feet into the gentle river and scoop water into her basin. I followed her into the river and filled my bucket. Shalom glided gracefully out of the water and she instructed me to wrap the towel to make a base then place it on me head and put the bucket on top. I was not convinced so I said I will carry the heavy bucket by its handle. On the other hand, Marie wanted to try. I lifted up the bucket on to her head with the towel underneath. She was already getting wet from the lack of balance. We were all laughing because with every step Marie took she was getting soaked. I managed to convince her that we should carry water the “western” way otherwise we will not have any water left in the bucket and it was already dark. We took turns fetching the water to the base leaving Shalom far behind because she had to walk slow to avoid dropping the water basin.
We grouped at dinner to enjoy the cricket sounds and stars. Afterwards we flopped into bed and did some work on our laptop before passing out to the sounds of a blustery night.
Stay tuned for day 10 when go to the seamstress to make us Ghanian outfits.
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