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Published: April 17th 2015
April 17, 2015
After living in Ghana for 10 months I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends, especially right in this neighborhood. I’ve mentioned a couple of them over the course of my blog. Adults, children, and even animals. So where do I start?
First of all, I told you about Mavis as our “house mother.” However, I never mentioned that she only comes on Saturdays now. After she graduated from university she was required to do a job specific to what she studied (nutrition). Therefore, in October we had to hire a new woman to do her job. Hannah has been here this whole time now. She’s definitely different from Mavis, but she’s nice and sweet. She’s 19, from Tamale, and didn’t go to school, so many of us have been teaching her how to read. She often brings her phone to me and asks me what her friend wrote. She’s a fast learner. Also in the house is Abu, who is Jamal’s 15 year old nephew. He lives in one of the outside rooms and does a lot of odd jobs around the house. It’s so nice to have him
here because he’s like a little brother. He can be very quiet at first, but once he gets to know you he can be very silly. He’s sweet and it’s so nice having a little brother to play around with. Also in the house, besides the awesome volunteers of course, are the two dogs: Peace and Callie. Don’t let the names fool you, they’re both male. They can seem crazy at times, but they are both sweet. Callie is more socialable and always is looking for friends to give him love. He’s a spoiled dog because of that. Peace is more skittish around humans. I think he was treated badly before he came here. You have to be careful and let him approach you. Also the weirdest thing ever is that as soon as it gets dark he gets friendly. Seriously, during the day he’ll stay away, but once it gets dark he will approach you. One more fixture in our house is Chris. He’s the one who manages a night club in Osu (Hot Gossip). He’s from Australia, Jamal’s best friend, and practically lives here. New volunteers often mistake him for a veteran volunteer.
He knows he shouldn't be inside the house.
to some of my other friends. I’ve mentioned Afotey and you’ve seen pictures, so I don’t need to go into detail there. Through him I’ve made some other good friends. The closest ones are Kwame and Ivan. Kwame lives in the same house as Afotey, while Ivan lives across the street from them. A girl that hangs out with them a lot Cindy has also become friends with me. There’s also a lot of others in the neighborhood that I know and am friendly with, but I’m not as close with them. Another guy who comes around a lot, but doesn’t live in the neighborhood is Mansur (pronounced Mon-soo). However, since I had a hard time pronouncing his name at first he told me to call him Delwin, which is one of his many names. His cousin Amos now is going to school in London, but he was Chris’s best friend and that’s how we became friends with Delwin. He is a very nice guy and is about to graduate from university.
Alright onto the children. There are a lot of children who I’ve become friends with. There’s a little boy whose family owns a shop across
the street from the house, so we go there a lot. His name is Kwabee (short for Kwabena), but I call him Little Obama. His family loves it and he always laughs. Naciera and Shameel (I doubt the names are spelled correctly) are Jamal’s niece and nephew and Abu’s cousins, so they come around a lot. They are so cute. At another shop down the street from the house there are some more children. Naomi, who’s around 12, and her little brother, who’s about 2. Kelvin is adorable and used to be afraid of me. However, I’ve worked slowly with him and now he’s my buddy and even lets me hold him sometimes. Before when other children tried to put him in my arms he would cry bloody murder. Children are often afraid of obrunis, so that’s what I had to work through with Kelvin. There are a lot of children on that street. One girl around 5 years old is Rashida. Oy, she is a force to be reckoned with. She is sassy and has an attitude like you wouldn’t believe.
Now let me explain a little about names in Ghana. Ghanaians usually have a bunch
of names. It depends on what tribe they’re from (around Greater Accra the tribe is Ga) and the religion they belong to. Ghana is a very religious country. The majority of the country are different branches of Christianity, but there’s a good percentage of Muslims as well, especially as you head up north. There are still some people who practice the traditionalism, but I don’t know anybody who does. Anyways, that is a factor in what the names are. At the orphanage most of the children have a Christian name and a “house” name. The “house” name is because we often have a lot of children with the same name. Currently we have 3 Emmanuels, so it becomes necessary. Another name that people have are their day names. It depends on the day of the week you were born. Each day has a male and female name, and in the chart below the male name comes first and the pronunciations are in parenthesis. For example, I was born on a Friday so I’m Afua.
Monday: Kojo (Kho-joh) and Adwoa (Ahd-jo-ah)
Tuesday: Kwabena (Qua-beh-na) and Abena (Ah-beh-na)
Wednesday: Kwaku (Que-queue) and Akua
Gabby at the orphanage
This is for my parents. She's wearing shoes that they brought for the children.
Thursday: Yaw (Yow) and Yaa (Yah)
Friday: Kofi (Kho-fee) and Afua (A- fee-ya)
Saturday: Kwame (Qua-meh) and Ama (Ah-mah)
Sunday: Kwasi (Que-see) and Akosua (Ah-kho-see-a)
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