Monday, May 14, 2012

Signing off.

I got the note from Travelocity. :) OOOOORRR, I am psychic. Meeting in
Morocco sounds lovely, I'm game.

It won't be too late to book upon my return home? I don't know if I
can come to the Cape because Erin and I have had a road trip planned
during August and I believe it's during the same time that the trip to
the Cape is planned.

I am very excited to see you and get to spend time hanging out with
you. It'll be good too, to live close to you and be able to spend a
lot of time together.

I've got a pit in my belly though at the thought of leaving. I taught
class 4 today and they did well (apostrophes). Now I will work on
packing, writing in my students' diaries, cleaning, etc. I can't tell
you how grateful I am to have Hannah here. She has offered to take
over diaries with my students, teaching Richmond for me, and, well, I
just feel good about leaving the place in her hands.

Well, I'm gonna finish this here application and submit it. I think
this will be my last message before I return. I love you. Call me if
you need anything.

I hope graduation went well. Can we eat dumplings when I come home? I
hope the weather is nice.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Less than a week.

You booked the tickets! I am SO happy for you and dadzilla! You'll have an amazing time and I hope you'll both come back slightly fat and joyful. Also, thanks for the essay notes. Is it horrible? I just can't seem to get into the groove.

On that note, no flight to VT for me? Am I not going?

Less than a week left and, for the record, I've already started crying. Lemuel wrote me a little note in class and, well, I'm just so full of adoration for that guy and, sigh. Ha! And I wonder why all the students think we're dating. :)

I just talked to the U. After some pestering, I've found the best spot for cell phone service in my room. Good to learn it now. OH! ON THAT NOTE, I JUST learned that it's super rude to wave to anyone with a left hand or accept an item with your left hand. Why did no one tell me this earlier? Bah. I just want to apologize to everyone I've ever interacted with before.

So, my last week. Ugh. I pick up all items from my seamstresses on Monday. Tomorrow I have open, so I anticipate some general hanging around. Sunday I'm...cough...going to church because I promised Langabel I would once before leaving and, hey, it's my last one. Then Beauty invited me over to teach me how to cook banku. Monday = class and packing. Tuesday = class and packing and, if possible, a secret trip to the beach during school hours. Wednesday = parties in class (I'm bringing honey for all the students to try, but it's a surprise) and then I'll leave the village and catch a trotro to the airport at 4 or so. Oh, wait, on Tuesday we're also having a s'more party.

The week has been fine, the students haven't showed up to class much and none of the teachers have been teaching, I've taught apostrophes though...and "Down by the bay" and the like. It's been good.

The 4 young white Canadians left, and one, their mentor, is left. I really like her from what I can tell. She's chatty and fun and when I say, "Try this!" she does. Plus, she likes fish. I've been eating an insane amount of banku and tilapia with peppers. MMM.

Well, I should get back to my application. I love you a lot. Please let me know asap if there's anything you'd like me to bring you.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I love you, but I don't want to go home yet.

Hi! Thanks!

Don't worry, I have been making the most of my time. Yesterday, I went to the beach with Elom and Beauty...drank palm wine, ate groundnuts and coconuts and bofruit, swam, read. It was perfect. I've been getting a little irritable because, well, you know how I get when there are lots of people around (plus, I've been jealous because they're getting lots of special treats!), but, at this moment, I've got nothing but joy inside.

Right now, I like that I don't get special treatment (in truth, there hasn't been enough room at the table to include me, so I've been eating outside with other folks) because it means I'm part of the family. :)

Also, right now they are all at the beach and it's been kind of a perfect day. I woke up before 6 and sat on the porch and read. My book is slightly lame, but it's growing on me. Sitting on the porch in the morning means I get to get in all of my morning greetings with ease and see everyone else as they're just starting out their days. The weather is still cool then and if I have a cup of coffee, some bread and eggs, WELL, tickle me pink. Then the white people went to Keke's house to see a baby outdooring which I skipped because I was making Naomi a birthday card (she's 13!), then I gave her the card and some gifts and she was shy and sweet and just perfect as always.

Then, I watched a movie with Stronggy in his room with Mustapha snuggled in between us. The movie was cheesy, but the company was perfect.

After, we went on a walk (me, Nico, Naomi, Emmanuel, Wisdom, Mustapha) to Angona (the place where we took you where you can see the village across the lake, only accessible by canoe) AND when we got there I saw Raabi (a student at the school, I think she's 5, she's so adorable I can barely handle it) across the way and greeted her and THEN, a boat came to take us across! I have never been across, neither had Naomi (and remember it's her birthday!), Nico has once. Then I got to see their village. It's an island. We walked around and chatted and then we were gifted some coconuts (mmm!) and came back. Sweating and parched we trudged back to the village and now I'm working on my application (well, will be soon). Tonight we'll have some birthday s'mores for Naomi (no one here knows what they are except that they've seen them on the television).

Perfect day.


I guess I can't be too sad for missing the lilacs when I'm so spoiled here.

Also, there was so much afiangbe! We gorged on the berries and brought some back to give to the white people. They've been a bit scared to try new things, so I'm not so sure they will go for it, but maybe. :)

Anyhow, the computer is being very strange right now so I'll finish while I can. I can ask a friend to pick me up for the airport too, I don't want to inconvenience anyone. Let me know and I can ask. :)

Love you!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

All's cool, mom.

Whoah. How do you feel? Sad? Relieved? I love spring! I hope it's not over.

I've been given the a-okay for the letters. Send them to Ellie and Jessica asap, please. Don't forget to include a stamped envelope with the SCSU address there (I love you).

I'm back in the village and all is well. After Burkina I flew into Ghana and visited the slave forts in Cape Coast (wait, I emailed you there already I think), then went to the beach town of Busua and lounged for a stretch. The owner of the only internet cafe in town was on holiday so there was no internet there.

In the town (which is a beach town like many other places, full of beer, surfers, and rastafarians) I took a surf lesson (I am still awful. Really awful. Like, I feel kind of guilty for being so awful because my instructors increasingly get desperate to try to, somehow, improve my performance, then I just fall off the board and hit my head/bottom/face/leg/etc.) and walked to a couple of nearby villages. I ran into two fellows that Dima and I met on the boat trip up North so hung out with them. Their company was most welcome. I drank a lot of beer and wine.

I came back last night and Keke literally knocked me on the ground with a running/jumping hug. I am completely obsessed with her. She missed me. I missed her. And Nicholas was there and I saw tons of students today and in Kasseh when I arrived and, well, I'm just feeling awfully lucky and loved.

Dima leaves tomorrow. I'm glad it's not me yet though I know my time is coming soon. Also, there are currently 5 new white people in my house. College students from Canada doing some program called Intercordia, 4 of them will be going to nearby villages to teach there and one will be staying here for 3 months. It'll be good that the school is not volunteerless, but it's also crazy to have so many bufonos around. I took them around the school and felt like the head of a white gang as they followed behind.

Today I will visit seamstress and Saturday I'm going to the beach with Elom and Beauty. School starts on Monday though, as it's the first week, I don't anticipate high attendance.

The fellows from Busua said they're coming to visit the village next week and stay at Ada Foah, so I think I'll sneak away for an extra beach day there too.

Oof, I'm going to cry like a crazy person when I leave. Can you pick me up from the airport?

Is there rhubarb in Minnesota? Can we eat at Charlie's Cafe and go for bicycle rides?

Love you!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Serious weakness for African rastas. Oof-duh.

Hi! I didn't name her! She had the name before I got her. I just don't want to create confusion in the world. Plus, she would be a lovely representative for the Mayan people (any people, really). I can't wait to see her.

On that note, HI! I am in Ghana now and glad to be back. It's hot, of course, but unlike Burkina, it's not so hot that I wake up in the night a lot drenched in sweat and parched. I am in Cape Coast. This is where Obama first visited upon his presidency. Needless to say, much like the rest of Ghana, they love him/Americans here...except maybe moreso. I would hate to be in Ghana if he loses the next election. It's good, you know, to have a whole continent behind you. Also, I get a bit giddy at the fact that Canadians sometimes fib and pretend to be American unlike it usually is. Also, overjoyed at the English. Seriously, no one speaks English in Burkina. No one at all.

So, Cape Coast is the site of several forts/castles that were used in the slave trade. The people were rounded up by the area chiefs from surrounding areas (stretching North to BF) then brought to the forts here and kept in horrid conditions for weeks to months before a boat arrived to take them to Brazil (the most slaves from West Africa were sent there, did you know that?), the Caribbean (the second most), or the US (the least, can you believe it?). I did a couple tours this morning. It was heartbreaking and educational. I realized throughout the tour that I've actually received a pretty good basic education on the slave trade from grade school. Compared to the Ghanaians I've known here, I would have been an expert on slavery in grade 6.

Tomorrow I shall go on to Busua to spend a couple of days drinking beer and surfing (surfing BEFORE drinking, I know...). Then, back to the village to check on the progress of my seamstress (did I tell you I found an AMAZING one? She's the sister of Ernest, the science/maths teacher, however, he's a flake so it's tricky trying to do things with her as she's located in the middle of nowhere).

Also, mom, have I told you my current fear? I might want to...teach more than just English. Like, be a regular grade school teacher. This desire is rooted in my new favorite love Don't be shocked. It's just, at the primary level (not the nonsense you teach, don't worry that stuff is WAY beyond my interest level :) ) it's SO cool and fun and interesting. So, there's that. SCSU doesn't have a Master's in that though (from what I can tell), wait...does it even exist? Probably does. Probably ought to do some research.

Oh! Please wait until I give you the a-okay before sending the reference forms out, okay? I'm just double-asking my writers.

So, all is well, solidly. It's exactly 3 weeks until my arrival back. Whoah.

Hope the weather there stays nice and that you gave Calvin some birthday hugs for me. Also, have you booked my East Coast trip?

Love you!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I have enough sand in my nose to build a castle.

Hi Mom, This keyboard is not laid out like any I have seen before!
Also, I can't find a period! Prepare for a lot of exclamation marks!

I am quite happy to have received your emails, sometimes you get a bit lax about responding, so I always wonder! I am in Ouagadougou! Remember how we thought Tamale was hot? Child's play! I love that you read about the camel ride as being pulverising to the behind! Mostly, the wooden seat was pulverising for my thighs!

I don't know if words can explain how annoying this keyboard is!

So, yes, though rumors abounded about the unrest in the Sahel due to the Tuareg unrest/rebellion in Mali. Wait, look at that, I just found the period! Anyhow, though deserted (the local kids said that the last white folks they saw were a couple weeks ago in a place the internet refers to as "The town has modernized a lot and is getting timbuktu-ified with tourists. The guides are pests.") the only unsafe feeling I had was from my guide and his attempts to constantly touch me. Actually, that's a lie. I was conpletely terrified on the bus ride North, though, let it be clear that it was only in my head and there was nothing on the trip to elicit my fears. The ride was nice, a bit boring really, as we were just trekking through desert, there wasn't much to see. As I rode the camel (boy was he irritable!) the guide walked (boy was he irritating!) and the camel boy (who was lovely, but had an utterly unprounouncable name) rode on the back of the camel. We slept on mats on top of a dune. The second day we went on to a further little mango grove, then back to Gorom. The guide ditched me and camel boy, but I was grateful. Also, camel boy spoke only limited French so it was nice and quiet. I spent the night in, from what my guide and I could find, the only operational lodging in Gorom. It was like a prison cell, except they didn't even make any attempt to remove the cockroach carcasses, and MY GOD hot. What I learned in Gorom is that sometimes a breeze isn't a nice thing. Sometimes it's like you're sitting in a sauna (without the luxury of being able to strip down to your skivvies) and a BLAZE OF FIRE comes rushing at you. Ooof. Definitely the hottest place I've ever been.

A good learning experience though, I saw Tuaregs. They look just like Arabs. Are they (historically, that is)? They don't ride camels, really. They ride motorbikes like everyone else, or take the bus, you know? Normal stuff. I met fulani (my guide) people and Bella (camel boy) as well. The Tuaregs and Fulani used to hold the Bellas as slaves. Though it's now illegal, the Bellas are still in the lowest class and considerably less wealthy. It's like the US in that way - the light skinned people use and abuse the dark skinned people and still now the repercussions of the subjugation are felt.

So, yes, now I am in Ouaga, have been fending off consistent and annoying shouts of "La Blanche!!!!!!!!!!!" all day. It's exhausting. I could never live here.

I miss Ghana. The people there are more well behaved (people here smoke and drink!) and love white people more (here people are less in love with white people, they "tolerate" white people). Plus, French is so difficult and I am completely inept.

Tomorrow I fly back, via Air Burkina. Then I plan to go to Cape Coast to see the Forts and do some surfing. Oop, time is up!

You never told me why you spell Maya incorrectly. Will you do that when I have children?

I love you so much!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last one before leaving the country.

Hi Mom!

How are you?

Everything is fine here. Dad said you were worried. I am in Bolgatanga, I hear it's 45 minutes from the border so I'll be heading there tomorrow. The boat trip up the Volta was lovely. Dima and I splurged to get a cabin and, after a couple hours of effort, we got the last one. It was mangy and smelled awful, but, compared to everyone else sleeping on the deck, it was luxury. I had beer and coffee and nutella and drove the boat for exactly 2 seconds before getting shooed away. Also, snuck to the roof of the boat and saw 6 potential UFOs (or satellites, maybe) and one shooting star. Last night we spent in Yeji and today spent 10 hours travelling by trotro to arrive here.

I don't know how things will go in BF. Some people who just came from there said that the Tuareg rebellion in Mali is also strong in BF and, in the region I want to ride my camel, apparently there are thousands of refugees arriving daily so, rumors say that the entire area may be a closed military zone. I hope not sincerely, of course, and, don't worry, I'm not a foolish girl.

Anyhow, love you desperately and, holy cow, I'll be home in less than a month.