“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” 

The temperature is already 82°. The three of us, Henry, Nala and I, are happy to be in the cool house. Both dogs are sleeping. They had a hectic morning. They went out quickly, came in for a biscuit, went out again then came in and collapsed on the couch. This is their morning nap time.

I watch YouTube African Walk Videos. Most walks are through markets in Ghana. There is no dialogue except for the sounds of the market, the voices speaking Ga or Twi, the toots of motorcycles and the horns of taxi drivers. The cameraman just walks and never interacts. Along both sides of him, people walk through the market. The women wear tradition cloth or regular dresses or even pants. The men wear shirts, some in Ghanaian patterns. I watch for anything familiar.

The market is divided into sections of similar goods. In the food market section, tomatoes are piled like Jenga blocks. Garden eggs are sold from baskets. Onions, yams and oranges are in piles on the tops of small wooden tables, all of which look alike. The cloth market has folded cloth in tall piles. Picking a cloth in the middle means all of the cloth is taken off the pile then re-piled. Some sandals are in pairs while others are on the floor in a mishmash, jumble of a pile. Enamel pots and pans, toilet paper, plastic containers and whatever you might need is sold in the market. A dirt walkway, wide enough for a moto, a motorcycle, separates two lines of shacks, sort of three sided lean-tos where sellers sit under umbrellas.

I am always amazed by how much Ghanaian women can carry on their heads. I watch for bofrot, my favorite Ghana treat. They are yeasty, sweet deep fried balls of dough and are sold from glass boxes with wooden sides. I have never passed up a bofrot seller.

Watching these videos fills me with an ache, a wish I was there munching on bofrot while shopping in the market. I didn’t know what to expect when I first went to Ghana for Peace Corps training. What I found was a remarkable place with friendly, warm people, a home for those two years and for all the years after.

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6 Comments on ““Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” ”

  1. Bob Says:

    The the fifth time is a charm. 🙂

    Hi Kat,

    Your day feels cold compared to our record setting 110° with clear skies. There’s a slight chance of rain later this evening. Maybe we’ll get some rain.

    If it weren’t for air conditioning the entire sunbelt would not exist. When we arrived in Dallas in 1953 the entire metropolitan area, including Ft. Worth, barely had one million people. My father had an air conditioning system installed in his car as soon as the summer began. While driving in West Texas in 1953 he stopped in at a small town restaurant for a glass of iced tea. The man sitting next to him at the counter was wearing a ten gallon straw cowboy hat, western shirt, and cowboy boots. My father asked him how did you folks live with this heat before air conditioning. The cowboy replied, “It never used to get this hot”. When you didn’t know any better you just accepted the heat. People did most of their work in the early morning and in the evenings. They closed their businesses and took a siesta inside their homes during the hottest part of the day. They also had attic fans and the houses were built with breezeways that funneled the breeze through the open windows throughout the house.

    The summers of 1953, 1954, and 1955, were among the driest and hottest summers recorded. The city of Dallas’ reservoirs were so low that they had to pump water from the Trinity River. They had to add so many chemicals to make it potable, that people bought bottled water to drink and cook. The city eventually dug water wells in the parks around the city to fill up your water bottles.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      It has cooled down to the mid 70’s so I have turned off the AC, but it is damp. Outside smells earthy. After tomorrow, it will get down to the 70’s during the day. We might get rain on Tuesday.

      In Ghana, it often got over 100° during the dry season. I had no fan and only a small bar in town had an air-conditioner. The Ghanaians called it the cold room. I just figured that was the way it has always been so I accepted the heat. I didn’t have hot water so I took a cold shower every night just before bed. I’d not dry myself off so I could feel cool with air drying. That way I could fall asleep.

      The rains have helped all the rivers which were going dry because of the heat and previous droughts. This is when water is a gift.

      • Bob Says:

        Well, the official high temperature hit 110° at the DFW airport. It’s the hottest temperature ever recorded in September. Tonight we are currently under a small non severe thunderstorm. The thunder is music to my ears as the lighting lights up the sky as the rain falls. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I’m complaining when it is in the low 80’s. I can’t think of sitting in a 110° day.

        It is warm here for September. Usually we’re in the 70’s during the day and cooler at night. October is the best month but that seems a long way off.

  2. Rowen Says:

    I hadn’t heard of African Walk Videos, and stopped reading immediately to go find one. Fascinating! I could watch for a long time. I tried to notice things like the clothes and how people carried things. It seems to be easier to balance objects on the head if the hair is covered. I expected to see baskets carried that way but I was amazed to see open-topped bags and plastic boxes.

    • katry Says:

      I watch for a long time as well. These videos are mesmerizing.

      It is a far more crowded Ghana than mine, but it still looks familiar. The city is always busy.

      Many of the women make a small roll of cloth for the tops of their heads. That helps to balance whatever they carry. It still amazes me what women carry.

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