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Published: September 8th 2005
Broda and Kate
My homestay brother Broda and I waiting at the junction for a tro-tro to go to my Twi classes.
Every taxi and Tro-Tro (mini-bus) in Ghana is named like boats are in the U.S. Most of them are religious phrases or names in Twi, but I rode one today that was named "Feel Free." This is definitely how I feel here. Another one fo my favorites... "THe Monkeys are Confused." Who knows??
I've made it to Kumasi!! My new home for the next two weeks. What was supposed to be a 5 hour bus ride turned into 7 hours when we came across an oil tanker that had flipped over and was perpendicular to the road in front of us. Not something you see every day. The entire town and all the people bloked in their cars were gathered in a huge crowd around the truckto help and figure out the situation. What would have been pure chaos in the U.S. with people honking horns and cursing everyone off was a peaceful exciting and friendly event that was awesome to observe. After 2 hours of discussion, a Guiness truck backed up and pulled the tanker upright with a wild web of chains. We barely made it back to our bus consumed by a wild mad rush back to everyones cars. Crazy!
SO we arrived in Kumasi just in time for lunch. Our director warned us that the people at Aunti Lizzie's Kitchen are going to greet us with hugs and yelling and excitement because they will think we are the same group from last semester! The only white people they have ever seen are SIT students, so they think we all look the same and are coming back. So I wasw hugged and picked up by this huge woman yelling Rachel, Rachel, Rachel!! (haha - funny confusion) After lunch we were given an introduction tour of 6 places we wil have to go everyday on our own using public transportation. I am tellig you all now....I will get lost 6 times a day at least. If you know me even just a little you are aware of my lack of a sense of direction. To walk the streets of Kumasi is a stimulation overload, not to mention the majority of the people speak Twi. Asking directions is going to prove to be extreamly chalenging. I have the whole weekend with my new family to figure it out before my language class, seminar, and dance classes start on Monday. Our first assignment is to draw a map with all six important locations including my house and the clinic (which supposedly all SIT students visit at least once- no visits yet, knock on wood). Hopefully my map will help me.
OK here's a common interaction at the market I had today...
I was playing with this little kitten in front of a car parts vendor's stall.
What are you doing?
I'm playing with your kitten.
You want to buy kitten, Abbruni (white girl)?
No I just want to play with it.
Yoo (OK), I go get box.
So the guy wrastled this little kitten holding it by the neck and the back legs and stuffed it into a box smaller than a cube tissue box. I yelled the whole time, "Dabbi, Dabbi, Dabbi (No, No, NO) I can't take the kitten. I don't want the kitten" He kept yelling, "It's white like you, I give you good price." I was very close to buying the little guy just to get him away from the vendor, but... Finally Aunti Ester came and said "Adwoa Kate, you can't have a kitten!" We finally straightened out the confusion and moved on. I can only begin to imagine what my homestay will be like with out Aunti Ester there to bail me out.
I was proposed to on the street today. A Ghanaian guy asked me to marry him. I said I couldn't and that I was already married. I pointed to the ring that my Aunt Sue gave me that Yemi, the Academic director told me to put on my left hand for protection. Out of the 15 girls in my group I actually have had the least marriage proposals. I usually get the ones who ask me for my mailing address and e-mail address (Ester says it's because I don't have a good body for birthing!!) Being on the skinny side is not attractive here. After 130 days of eating all 3 meals of fried food saoked in red oil, I may soon have those birthing hips that all Ghanaisn men swoon over.
Alright, I must go, I am exausted!! I meet my family tomorrow!! SO excited. One of the guys in our group already met his. We were walking down the street and a man in a Mercedes pulled over and said to Joel, "You are my son!!" He recognized him from his photos he sent. He told Joel that he wouldn't be there the next day to pick him up, but his "servants would collect him." So Joel lucked out, Ester warned us that not all the families are as lucky as Joels. I'm kinda glad of that. I'm looking forward to bucket showers and so many babies and goats!! AHH I have to go!! Love you all!! E-mail me!
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