Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Summer Family

My host family is Ghana is so great! We have settled into a daily routine. I wake up between 5 and 6 a.m. every morning and come out to find my host sister ironing clothes. We say good morning (in Fante, now, of course), she and asks if I slept well. Then they warm up my water for a shower and I eat breakfast. Yesterday I got avacado (they call them pears) and yummy! We leave the house around 7. Elizabeth, my host mother, always says, "Sarah! You are looking beautiful today!" Then we walk down the hill to the taxi station, which sometimes takes awhile since we talk to all of the neighbors on the way (the neighbors all call me Efuwa since that is my name in means Friday born). When I return home in the evenings, Elizabeth always says, "You are welcome!" and we talk about our days. She is a kindergarten teacher and has 60 in her class this session... I don't know how she does it! She is retiring next December because she will be 60, but she says she will miss her kids. Then she tells me to go watch soccer with Emmanuel. Last night the third African team was eliminated, so now they are even more nervous about the Ghana game tonight! My host sister, Pat, usually gets home around 8 since she teaches and then works at a shop. She and Emmanuel teach me Fante every night... I'm starting to remember some of it haha. The pronunciation is so hard! Ghanaians don't normally sit together and eat at the table, but they usually bring me my dinner to eat while I was soccer. Elizabeth goes to bed around 8 since she gets up at 3:30 every morning. Then Pat usually goes to bed to work on her lesson plans or read, and Emmanuel always stays up late to watch TV. They are going to teach me how to cook some Ghanaian dishes this weekend when I get back from Coconut Grove. Elizabeth is also having the seamstress come over to take my measurements. Mom, if you're reading this, don't forget that she wants your measurements, too, to have something made for you :). I am having to get used to checking in with someone every time I leave the house, but I'm usually so tired at the end of the day that I don't want to stay out late anyway. Last night Pat was worried that I had walked home in the dark, but I assured her that I had a taxi drop me off at the door. The driver didn't even know the area of town that I lived in (even though he said he did when we waved him down), so I had to direct him all the way to the house... my host fam was really impressed haha. I think I'm good at directions here because everyone goes by landmarks. If the streets are named, no one knows the name of the roads; and people definitely don't use directions (NSEW) here!

I love that there is such an emphasis on family here. Some of that may be from necessity. Most of the people I talk to have never traveled out of Cape Coast. In some of the rural villages, even 30 minutes away, some of the people have never come to the shore or seen the ocean. Children either live with their parents or with their spouses. Pat and Emmanuel are both in their late twenties and live at home, and their sisters and brothers are all married. Most people can't believe that I live by myself away from home. I thought that people just didn't travel because they don't have the resources (which is the case some of the time), but even some of the wealthier people I've met in the community don't travel because they don't have a desire too. Although I guess if I lived right by the coast I might not want to leave either :).

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