“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

Today is yesterday with a different name. The clouds and the humidity make the morning air appear a bit hazy, but the sun should be around a bit later. I’ll be patient. It is quiet, Sunday quiet. I have an empty dance card today. Though I could do a few things round the house I chose to do nothing at all resembling work. Personal hygiene dictates taking a shower and brushing my teeth, but they are the extent of my activities for the day. I hope I don’t tire myself.

My muse has gone somewhere cooler. I don’t blame her. I just wish she had left some inspiration behind for me, a topic or two, maybe even a verb. I guess it is time for a trip back to Ghana.

I didn’t realize I was going to be posted in the driest, most remote part of the country. Before we left staging in Philadelphia, I knew I was going to Bolgatanga which meant nothing to me. I had run into one of the assistant directors in the elevator and introduced myself. He was the one who told me about Bolga. I was amazed he remembered my posting as there were so many of us, about 125 trainees. I realized later he remembered because of the remoteness, the climate and the few volunteers posted in the Upper Region where Bolga was. Regardless, I always thought I was lucky living in Bolga.

My firsts in Ghana weren’t always my bests. I remember my first meal. I didn’t eat it. I also remember my first trip to the market. Right inside on a table, goat poop was sold for burning. I went outside the market and got sick. I didn’t eat the meal with the bug sort of skimming on the top. At my live-in, I was served a meal with a lump of something in sauce and no utensils. I ate alone so I couldn’t ask. I used my hand to pull off a piece from the lump and tried it. I wasn’t impressed. The lump had no taste of its own. The soup had some bony meat and a bit of heat. I left most of the meal. My first hole in the ground bathroom stop was not my finest hour. It took a bit of practice.

Fast forward a few weeks, maybe a month. I was buying Ghanaian food, mostly fufu and soup, in chop bars, hole in the wall eateries. I’d pick the bugs out and keep eating. If any were left, they were added protein. I liked goat, that unknown bony meat. I became adept at hitting the holes in the floors. Eating with my hand was all of us sharing the same bowl of fufu, all of us in our own little community. I never missed market day where they still sold goat poop. I thought of market day as a festival of sorts. I loved wandering and shopping.

It took only a little time for me to find myself at home in Ghana.

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8 Comments on ““I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I agree that today will just be a repeat of yesterday’s weather. 🙂

    I’ve never been to a country where people sit on the floor, and they eat from a communal bowl. Nor, anywhere that they use their right hand to scoop up the food with some kind of flat bread. I guess they don’t have any left handed people. 🙂 I know that eating with the left hand is inappropriate in those places because they use the left hand to wipe their posterior.

    I used to explain to my instructor candidates that the right side of the brain controlled the left side of the body and visa versa. This meant that lefties were more artistic and that lefties were the only people in their right minds. One student said that he thought that he was naturally left handed, but the nuns beat it out of him in parochial school. 🙂 Unfortunately, modern brain theory disputes that entire theory and I’m deprived of a good story.

    We humans are amazingly adaptable creatures and we can get used to living very differently when required. We in the western world don’t understand what our grandparents had to contend with more primitive conditions even here in the United States. Indoor plumbing and electricity didn’t come to many rural areas until after WWII. I was amazed that my grandparents lived into their eighties without the benifits of modern medicine and antibiotics. I always enjoy your Ghana stories.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      A small breeze popped up late in the day so the house has cooled down some. It will again be in the high 60’s tonight.

      When I was young, the nuns did try to turn lefties into righties. I have no idea why.

      You are deprived of a good story, but maybe you can keep saying it, and the candidates won’t know they can debunk it.

      Even now, in Ghana, many volunteers live in villages with no running water or electricity. They read by lamp and take bucket baths. I think most volunteers are ready for hardship and are usually surprised if they get an easy posting. I lived in what was a regional capital so there was electricity in the town. The water was sporadic, especially in the dry season.

      Ghana is a country of contradictions, of small villages with no amenities and cities with whatever you need.

      • Bob Says:

        I think the Catholic Church had some idea that left handedness was a sign of the devil, or it was just easier to teach everyone in the class to turn their paper to the left when teaching penmanship. This forced we poor lefties to hook our had over the top of the paper. It’s the main reason I don’t write any longer but type everything.

        I guess I could continue with the left and right brain theory and no one will really care. After all, we’re pilot instructors and not brain surgeons. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I never heard of it being a Catholic Church sort of thing. Perhaps it goes back to Rome. The word for on the left side in Latin is sinister which hints at evil and darkness.

      • Bob Says:

        A very interesting item about the Latin term for on the left.

      • katry Says:

        Four years of Latin do have value,, finally!

  2. Birgit Says:

    It was quite hot the last days, officially 90°F but probably more, today we finally got rain and thunderstorm again and I could refill my garden water buckets. Big hailstones next town but fortunately we only got a few small ones. We also had the annual big music festival in town again, 4 days, several stages and about 530000 visitors according to the local radio. I went downtown one afternoon by bike when it was less crowded to look around and yesterday evening for folkrock concert, a local band. Music for free but a crowded city full of drunken people isn’t really nice.
    I love your stories about Ghana 🙂

    • katry Says:

      We hit the mi to high 70’s today but it still felt hot because of the humidity. It was just awful. I moved very little.

      My sister had hailstones yesterday in Colorado. She often gets them and has had to replace her roof because of the heft of the ones which hit the roof. I don’t remember when we last had them.

      The only free music around here is the town concerts. Most of the towns have a town band, and they play once a week.

      Thanks, on Ghana!

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