Posted tagged ‘students’

July 17, 2015

Ryan 2-91

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

September 6, 2013

Last night was put an afghan on the bed and close the windows cold. It was a delight. I slept soundly and late, didn’t wake up until 9:30. My mother would have said I must have needed the sleep. I watched the Sox and Yankees until 11:30 then read for an hour. Fern and Gracie stayed close to me in bed. They must have been chilly.

Today is a beautiful day with a feeling of fall about it. The sunlight is sharp and warm, but it drifts in and out of clouds. Fern is stretched in the sun by the front door.

It is so quiet here. The kids are all in school, not a single lawnmower can be heard, the house next door is empty for the season and I don’t think I’ve even heard a car go up the busy street at the end of my road. I like the silence.

My life has been amazing and now and then I think about it and give thanks. The other day I talked to Grace in Accra for a long time and last week I called Rose Atiah in Bolga. I just picked up the phone, called Ghana and spoke to students I taught in 1969. It is still a little mind-boggling to me that I actually lived in Africa for a little over two years. Who gets that lucky?  I worked for 35 years doing something I loved. Granted, I still groaned when the alarm went off at 5, but I never really minded going to work. I never considered it a grind. Every day was somehow different despite the sameness of the tasks. I got to retire early, nine years ago, and I love every day and am seldom bored. I can to sit outside on the deck in the morning with my papers and coffee and linger as long as I want. Who gets that lucky? I have traveled many places in the world and have seen the most glorious sights, pages of my geography books come to life. I dreamed I would travel, and my dreams came true just like in a Disney movie. Cinderella went to the ball. I went to Machu Picchu.

I have one errand left over from yesterday’s long list, but there’s no big hurry. I have all day.

Greetings From Ghana

August 29, 2012

I made!! Right now I am sitting in an air-conditioned internet cafe in Bolgatanga. Arriving here was wonderful. Everything felt familiar. I could smell the charcoal fires and food cooking. As I sat and ate lunch outside, complaining sheep walked by in a line baaing for all they were worth. Chickens wander. Small girls go by with trays of food on their heads. I have been greeted and greeted and told welcome!

Last night was the best of all greetings. I was lying in bed reading when the room lit up and the thunder started. Both were tremendous. The lights soon went out and so did the fan. I decided this was too great a storm to miss so I went onto the porch. The watchman was there, and we both watched the lightning brighten the houses, and he said the rain was a blessing as it hadn’t rained in a week. When the rain came, it came in heavy drops which pounded the tin roof of the compound near my house. That is one of my favorite sounds.

I am staying in the house of one of my students in a small village called Kantia, very near to Bolga. The house is large and comfortable. The only problem is the air-conditioning which does not work. The electrician will come today.  I had a fan overhead that was working but the storm ended that. It was a warm night!

I am meeting my students for lunch at 2.

With only a single year between visits, it feels as if I were here just yesterday!

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”

September 13, 2011

The morning comes early when your body is still on a different time. Today it was 5 o’clock when Gracie, Fern and I rolled out of bed. I brewed some coffee and read yesterday’s mail. As you can tell, the daily routine is quickly back into my life. When the papers came, I read them and did all my puzzles. Yup, just a regular day here in South Dennis.

I went to take a shower on my first night in Bolga after all that traveling. There was no hot water so one of the women brought me a bucketful. I had a bucket bath for the first time in 40 years. In the morning I went to have breakfast. It came with the hotel rate. I ordered fried eggs, toast and coffee. The fried eggs were not at all tasty and the coffee came in single cup pouches: instant Nescafe, exactly what I used to drink as there is still no brewed coffee. The milk in the pitcher was evaporated. It could have been my breakfast forty years ago.

On that first full day in Bolgatanga, Thomas and I went to Bawku. During training in July 1969 we spent three weeks there living with a Ghanaian family who spoke the language we were learning. I stayed in the house of Imora Sanda, a wealthy, respected man. His house was the only one with lights as he had a generator for his house and the movie theater. I use movie theater loosely as you stepped through a door to the outside and sat on benches; no popcorn anywhere. Mostly they showed spaghetti westerns with the strange-sounding dialogue and odd music. One time they showed the ending of the film in the middle and the middle reel at the end. Well, back to now: the road to Bawku was horrible. It was mostly hard-packed dirt and pot holes big enough to eat a car whole. Along the way were small villages and cows, lots of cows, as the north is where they raise almost all of the cows in the country. Bawku was small when I was there; it is now sprawling and like most larger towns and villages it is filled with people walking, sitting, talking and riding bicycles and motorcycles. There are far fewer cars in the north than the south as it is a poorer part of the country with no cash crop so fewer expensive cars. We rode around a bit as I tried to find my bearings. We stopped and asked a group of young men if they knew the home of Imoru Sanda. One of them said yes, and he would get the son of Imoru Sanda to come.

When he came, I introduced myself: sun na Ladi. My name is Ladi in Hausa: a girl born on Sunday. I then explained who I was, and he took me right to his father’s house. I knew it immediately, and I knew the movie theater two houses down the dirt road. We walked inside the house and started to walk upstairs. I said my room is the second on the left. There it was exactly as I remembered it in my mind’s eye. There is a door to a porch at the other end of the room, and I said below the porch is a tree on the left, a dirt road and a small mosque on the right. It was exactly the same, and I swear the same men were sitting under that tree as they had in my day. Imora, named after his father, said his mother is still alive, and we walked to the family’s house. In 1969 it was a compound, and I used to walk between compounds to get there. Always were small children around the house and something cooking on the fire, usually my dinner. When I got to the house, Imora called his mother. I told her my name, and she repeated it then gave me a giant hug and told me how I used to visit her and the other wives, two of whom have died and the other, the youngest, in here in the US. We spoke a while then I went back to the open part of the house where dinner was cooking and kids were milling. One cried-I always used to make the toddlers cry simply by the color of my skin. I took a picture of the whole family then they took one with me. I had found my Ghanaian family after 42 years away. Imora Sanda had died a very old man in 1990. I always thought he was old when I knew him. They gave me a picture of my Ghanaian father to take home with me.

That night, back in Bolga, I sat and finished dinner. No longer do the Ghanaians use talking drums to communicate. They use cell phones and four students, learning I was in town, arrived that night to visit, the one I had met the night before and three more including Lillian who is married to the Bolga-naba, the chief and is his third of four wives, Francisca and Florence. We laughed and remembered for a long time. We had all kept our memories close and they were easy to find.


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