Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I made it to 200 !!

So here I sit on the terrace of an hotel in Accra having slept most of the bus trip overnight from Wa, emotionally exhausted. I have left Nadowli on the journey home to England following the most amazing 2 years of my life. As predicted, it is harder to leave than it was to come here. The Goodbyes seemed to last for ages and each was painful. The generosity of people overwhelmed me at times. Louisa instructed me not to cry. I was told to "try as hard as a monkey's buttocks" not to weep. People here don't cry! It was almost impossible at times though, especially when presented with a host of gifts and kind words. All of these were hand made in Ghana, some very locally. I have woven baskets, woven Dagaare Kente cloth and exquisite batiks too. My Ghanaian colleagues made wonderful speeches, that I am sure I don't deserve, and I responded effusively. My responses encouraged them to look to the future and their responsibilities to the thousands of children in their care. Rewards come in different guises not just in monetary form, I reminded some, but I haven't met many people here who would believe that.

On top of all of that, I have reached my target of 200 blog postings in 2 years. I am proud of that achievement as much as any other. I am grateful to those who have stuck with me and read it to the end. Thank you for your interest and loyalty. It has been a labour of love and a valuable diary of my most significant experiences. I have learned so much about so many things and the opportunity to be immersed in this culture has been an incredible privilege. I only hope my "giving" has matched my "receiving". There is much that I shall miss about Ghana and life in Nadowli specifically. Some of those things will be a little negative but most I feel sad to have lost. I have listed here the top 50, not in any particular order, of course!

Things I shall miss…………….

Sunshine to wake me almost every morning and endless warmth, sometimes too much.
Having virtually no responsibility and nothing to worry about.
Friendly greetings at all times of the day, with smiles.
The thrill of riding with Michael in challenging conditions.
Being slightly overcharged for almost everything and not caring
Hearing “It is finished” about something vital
A whole wealth of wonderful Ghanaian English phrases……. “ I came and met it here”
“African time”….being hours late and nobody at all bothered!
People managing very well with nothing.
Eating soup with my fingers
Cooking with bare essential ingredients, all from a tiny market.
Sleeping with no covers almost every night
Exciting storms and the heaviest rain
Exotic fruits growing plentifully nearby
Not having a clue what is happening in the outside world, nor caring.
Wondering what types of creatures make the amazing sounds at night
Not needing anything much and feeling free and healthy
Hearing, “I’m coming” and knowing it won’t be any time soon.
Endless sand and dust everywhere
Not being able to blend into a crowd
Wondering whether I have been undercharged for utilities
Sitting in the shade of beautiful trees in a slight breeze
So many identical plastic chairs
Getting tangled in my mosquito net
Knowing there won’t be a flushing toilet anywhere I’m going all day
Finding £133 a month more than I need to live on.
Being addressed by my colour rather than my name…”Nansapor”
The sound of sweeping arriving with the dawn
Knowing a smattering of an African tribal language and using it.
A million stars in a clear black sky and the moon lying on its back.
Trying to eat unrecognisable pieces of meat, often hairy skin wrapped tightly with intestines, floating in my soup
People offering to help me carry things, however light.
Women wearing multiple bright coloured cloths, all clashing and looking wonderful.
Wearing the same 2 pairs of shoes for 2 years.
The horror of seeing canes on teachers’ desks
Being surrounded by naturally, beautifully toned, fit young people
Farm animals sharing my living and working spaces
Being called to prayer several times a day
Being sure nothing will be quite as I’ve planned it
Buying beautifully coloured cloth very cheaply as my only retail therapy
Experiencing something new each day that excites me
Drinking water from sachets
Wearing “summer” clothes all year.
Everything being dispensed in small black “polythenes”   
Being only slightly concerned about my safety in a tightly packed unroadworthy tro 
Very polite, learned greetings from children accompanied by a curtsy or salute                                      
Almost never wishing I had a TV
Realising that managing from day to day as enjoyably as possible is all that really matters here
Knowing my washing will be dry in a matter of minutes

This blog will rest now as Adrienne will not be in Africa! However, I shall be returning here many times. I cannot really leave as Ghana has got under my skin and into my heart forever.

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