There is a lot going on at home in America right now. Most of you know that my mom has been working in Honduras for a few years. Honduras is to Anita as Ghana is to Jordan. Every year, a few kids from Amigos de Jesus travel to the states to visit. They meet with former volunteers, meet sponsors, visit different tourist areas around Philadelphia, and most exciting for me, they stay at our house. For the past 3 years I have taken the week off from school so that I could come home and stay with the kids while they are visiting. This has been a highlight of my Fall semester for a few years! Not only do I get to brush up on my Spanish, but I love getting to know the sweet kids.
This week, the kids are in town.
Homesickness is an inevitable part of living abroad. Of course living abroad means missing your normal food (someone send me Chipotle, I’ll love you forever) and your family and friends. In some ways, when you decide to move abroad you imagine that the rest of the world will stand still while you’re away. But when you are living your life halfway across the world, you notice from afar that people and places are still moving in your absence. For me, I have noticed the college friends still going to parties and class. Still in such close proximity to one another, regretting that I wished that time away. The friends that I graduated with are off creating their own lives as I have with myself. They are working, or reaching a higher degree, exploring new cities together and on their own.
I guess all of that was a convoluted way to say that I miss home.
After a night of sadness on Friday, I woke up early Saturday and decided that I needed some comfort. Within 30 minutes, I got ready, packed my bag, called a taxi, and was on my way to my home away from home, the place that I have longed for every day in the past 4 years, Ajumako, home of Heritage Academy. I got to the station, paid 12 cedis (about 3 dollars), and boarded my trotro (20 person mini bus) for the 3 hour quest. Along the way, I witnessed a horrible trotro accident in which the bus flipped and landed in a ditch on the side of the road. For some reason, my trotro driver pulled over and everyone in my bus was shouting. I was sitting next to a little girl on the bus and I looked out the window only to see about 5 people completely covered in blood. I pulled the girl close to me and told her not to look. In the next minute, I saw injuries that I will spare the details on. I made a phone call and began to cry. I had never seen something like this before. The closest major hospital was about 2 hours away. I do not (and probably never will) know what happened to the people in the accident, but my fragile emotions were shaken by this sight and the rest of the ride was prayer that I would reach Ajumako safely.
I finally arrived home with a sigh of relief. I hugged my beautiful kiddies who live in the house in which I have stayed. I hugged my friends, and soon, the kids and I made out way to the village to see my baby Yaw, the little boy who I have been caring for for about 2 years. I figured you would like to see photos of the village so I gave the kids each a camera and told them to go crazy. Here is what they took:
Here is a photo of the market in Essiam. This is where we buy basically everything we need for cooking. The women are set up at their own stations, some selling fish, some selling tomatoes, some selling yams.
Another market photo.
This is the mosque in Essiam. A lot of the students at Heritage live in Essiam so for quite a few of them, this is their house of worship. You can hear the call to prayer sometimes. The flags on the post are flags for political parties. Like America, Ghana’s presidential election is coming up this November. Unlike America, Ghana has quite a few political parties, these flags depict two of the main political parties.
This is me walking on a back street in Essiam. There are a lot of provisions shop on the back roads. Next to me on the right is Victoria, one of the sweet students at Heritage. And on my left is Bright, one of my oldest friends in Ghana, and Yaw’s father. We is escorting Victoria and me to the road side so that we can pick up a taxi home. It was extremely hot on this day, but wearing shorts, especially for a woman out of college in this area of Ghana is a bit taboo. The fashion rules differ in different areas of Ghana. In Ajumako and Essiam I feel comfortable wearing flip-flops everywhere, but in Accra, people seriously judge other wearing flip-flops. I’ve made a habit out of wearing “proper” sandals everywhere I go in public.
This is home. Every other time I have been to Ghana, this is the house that I have stayed in. I have seen this house go through MANY transitions. The power goes out a lot (much more than in Accra) but this is home in such a real way. I have learned so much about myself and so much about the world in this house.
I am so thankful to have a place that I feel so at home in this country. At times, it is easy to feel lonely in a city that is completely new. I love living in Accra. I love the luxuries that I have here, but the comforts of home are incomparable. And I love living so close to the place that made me fall in love with Ghana in the first place.
On Sunday, I made my way back to Accra. Due to fear of the trotro and truly horrible weather, I opted to charter a private taxi for the long journey back to Accra. It cost 160 cedis (about 40 dollars) from doorstep to doorstep so for me, it was worth the peace of mind after the accident that I witnessed the day before. Praying for healing for those involved and affected.
Shoutout to Kwesi for taking me in even when I gave him not warning of my arrival. And thanks for feeding me.
Much love to all of my people on the home front. I love you all so much.