Thursday, July 8
I’m sorry I’ve been so absent from the blog again. I’ve been busy settling into Accra, and when I was in the village, I ran short on money toward the end and there are no banks there, which meant no Internet café for me.
(Getting sick is fun in an isolated village, where there are no doctors past 2 pm and they run out of malaria test kits at night, you don’t have any minutes on your phone, and internet is nonexistent except at the one café which you don’t have money for. It was just a fever as I suspected, and I woke up in the morning feeling fine, but you’re supposed to be safe and get tested. Going to the hospital clinic at 7 pm in a car with Euphemia and Kofi, wrapped in a blanket with my hair flying everywhere, and no help available at the clinic, was, umm, an experience. I’d been dreaming of white-washed walls, that over-sanitized hospital smell, and bathrooms, oh, bathrooms. Foolish me to think the clinic would be any different from the rest of the village. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love, but still it’s a lot to get used to.)
Anyway, now I’m in Accra, but first I have to fill you in on Ada.
My last days in the village were perfect. There wasn’t much class because the kids had sports competitions during the day (just with their own school, cause the government postponed the village-wide ones as you’ll soon read). I was just hanging out with the kids, getting to know them, then in the afternoons running play rehearsal. They discovered my camera and had quite a time taking pictures. They taught me some Dangme, the local language (“study hard,” they said), and I would talk with them about home or ask them about what they want to do when they’re older. We would just chat, and I tried to fill in some of the huge gaps in their current events knowledge. I told them that they should study hard and apply to Haverford, cause we have some Ghanaian students. Justice and Andrews, two of my kids from the play, even wrote down the name of my high school. Justice said he wants to email them and say he knows me so he can make friends? Haha okay…
In a way I feel I accomplished more with them outside of class. I could give them individual attention, and we didn’t have those stupid rows of desks. In class, I was always subbing for just one day, with no lesson plan, no idea what they’ve studied before, and little chance to follow up on the lesson. When I would just talk with them, they would crowd around me in a big circle, and they all wanted to be there. It was relaxed, but I think we both learned more.
Meanwhile, I’ve been in Accra. At the JAC, I’ve been looking into grants and working on proposals. Outside the office, I’ve met with some of the top artists in Ghana – Larry Otoo, who is awesome and took me to his studio; Ablade Glover, who is pretty much the number one artist in Ghana (perhaps Africa?) and runs the Artists Alliance, and amazing collection of contemporary Ghanaian and African art that I told him sure beats the National Museum; and Ato and Adwoa from the Foundation for Contemporary Art (FCA), which promotes young artists and stimulates (/makes) the young contemporary art scene. My professor Ruti Talmor, who does anthropology work on art in Ghana, has actually done some work with the FCA. I’m going back to the village each week to work on the play, which is still going on. We had a dress rehearsal just before I left, are having another one today, and will have performances next week and the week after.
And the rest of time in Accra has been busy, busy, busy. I came here knowing basically no one, but I’ve made some friends at the hostel and met some of their friends, and Kelvin knows people, so there’s always someone around. Last weekend I saw Naa from Haverford and Debbie from Bryn Mawr. It was great to see familiar faces, and we had an amazing lunch at Naa’s aunt’s house (tilapia, stew, banku, rice, chicken, and mango). Professor Jesse Shipley was in town to film the Black Stars’ arrival. I went to the airport too, but I just missed Jesse. As for the Black Stars, they hopped right onto their bus so you could barely see them, but it was cool to be there. Yesterday I went to the Holiday Inn pool bar with Kelvin and some friends, and guess who was a couple tables away from us…the Black Stars coach. With his wife and translator. She was wearing a light purple top and some great heels.
Whew, so that’s Accra for you. Loud, crowded, and a million people bothering you, but exciting and plenty to do. Now, back to Ada.