Posted tagged ‘Winneba’

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”

May 24, 2018

Yesterday was so lovely my friends and I had dinner on their deck. It was a summer dinner of hot dogs, watermelon and fresh corn. We played Phase 10, but toward the end of the game, the cold wind arrived. We were done. Summer was over.

Last night thunder rumbled then the rain came, a heavy rain at first then just a constant rain of smaller drops. When I fell asleep, it was still raining, but this morning is beautiful though chilly, in the low 60’s.

I have three stops today. I still have to get my dump sticker, the car needs to be inspected and I have PT for my arm.

The only items on my to do list are the dump and then Agway to buy flowers and herbs. The heading on the list is Friday.

When I was in Ghana, an occasional evening treat was a Coke and a Cadbury candy bar. The DPW near my house had a store. It was one of the few places with cold Coke. My favorite Cadbury was the Fruit & Nut Milk Chocolate Bar. I still buy one every now and then just for the memory.

My memory drawers are loaded. I don’t know why some events and people become memories and get saved while others never do and are forgotten as soon as they happen. I remember the plane ride to Ghana. It was a TWA charter. I sat toward the back by the window. I remember we flew over the Cape. When the plane stopped in Madrid to refuel and change the crew, we got out to stretch. I remember the airport. I also remember getting back into my seat and finding the seat belt caught somewhere. I didn’t use it again. I remember looking out and seeing the Sahara. I also remember my first view of Ghana from the window, and I remember landing. I have a mental picture of my first dinner during training at Winneba. The plate was white. The food was mostly green and white. I didn’t eat it.

Each one of those memories is a snapshot, a colorful, vibrant snapshot which doesn’t seem to fade over time so I get to visit those memories over and over. I never tire of seeing them.

“Life is a fairy tale. Live it with wonder and amazement.”

November 22, 2016

Last night was winter. It was cold and windy. My sweatshirt wasn’t quite enough. North of us got a little snow. Thankfully, we were spared. It’s bad enough the temperature is below freezing without adding snow. Today too is really cold. My heat is blasting.

For some reason, the first few days of Ghana popped into my head from my memory drawers. We were all staying at a school in Winneba. The only view of the town was from the second floor balcony of the dorm. I could see rusted metal roofs and palm trees. That was it. It could have been many places, but on the way to my first language class, I saw geckos scurrying away from me. They were green and the first ones I’d ever seen. I remember looking at them and realizing I really am in Africa. It is one of my most vivid memories. I can still picture where I was standing. I remember the whitewashed cement wall about waist high, its flat top and the greenery close to the building and the steps. The wonder of that moment is something I haven’t ever forgotten and is still a delight. Just imagine being in Africa.

I have a few things to do today so I have to brave the cold. This is Gracie’s favorite time of the year because she can ride with me. It’s cold enough that she can wait in the car.

I got a notice for jury service yesterday. I’ve gotten them before and was dismissed three or four times and excused once. For one dismissal they kept us until after lunch when we were told the defendant had taken a plea bargain and we were not needed. That was like a Law and Order moment. Only once did I get so far as to be questioned about my suitability for the jury. I was excused. Come to find out I was excused because I was a school administrator, and the trial centered on some sort of discrimination surrounding the non-rehiring of a female administrator. I guess the prosecutor figured I’d be sympathetic. He was right.

“I’ll just tell you what I remember because memory is as close as I’ve gotten to building my own time machine.”

May 29, 2015

I looked up perfect day in the dictionary and found a picture of today. The morning is cool, the sun bright, the sky the darkest of blues and the leaves on the trees sport the look of newness which comes in spring. Both the sky and the leaves are so lovely you’d think they were painted from a palette filled with the brightest colors.

Mostly I never think about making memories. They just sort of stick and now and then something brings one out, and I am flooded with a forgotten memory. I suspect my memory drawers are overflowing because I only get snippets of that memory before it all comes back. I remember getting on the bus to high school and I remember the smell of the bus. On the route was a huge hill, and we went down it on the way to school. We took a left at the end of the hill and a bit further on was a corner store and a few houses which looked alike. On the left side of the road was a beautiful house seemingly out-of-place as all the other houses lack the stateliness of this one house, but as we rode further into Winchester beyond the downtown, all the houses were beautiful and huge. The last thing I remember of that trip I took every day was a stop where Liz got on.

We used to visit my aunt the nun once a year in Connecticut. I have several single pictures, memories, of those visits. Every time we went we’d stop on the Connecticut Turnpike at a brick rest stop. My mother would check us all to make sure we were clean, our hair was combed and our clothes were neat. I remember sitting in the visitors’ living room. We whispered because the convent seemed to engender whispering. A nun always brought us cookies and something to drink. She never made any sound. My aunt didn’t know what to do with us so a tour of her school was a part of the visit. I remember the smell of chalk.

I remember standing outside my room in Winneba, Ghana at the start of training. My room was on the second floor, and from there I could see the rusted tin on all the roofs and the greens of the trees and bushes. If I close my eyes, that scene still comes back to me.

Not all my memories are happy ones, none of us are that lucky. I think the saddest of my memories have their own drawers. Those memories come unbidden at times and bring with them the pain and the sorrow. They remind me that life is a farrago, a mix, a jumble of feelings.

“To lovers of adventure and novelty, Africa displays a most ample field.”

March 14, 2015

The day is bleak and rainy. The house was cold when I woke up so I turned on the heat and then finished the rest of my morning rituals. I made the coffee, got the papers, filled the dog’s dry food bowl, changed the water in the dog dish and then sat down to read the papers. The animals got their morning greetings then they went back to sleep. They are, of course, in their usual spots. Mornings never change around here.

Last night my palm tree was lit for the first time since the big snowstorm. It was unexpected. The tree had stopped lighting in February, and I hadn’t been able to check the connections as they were under feet of snow. All the melting this week uncovered the cord, and I saw the plug had disconnected from the timer. Reconnecting it didn’t work. The plug looked as if it had taken too much of a beating under all that snow. I put it back into the timer as best I could. Whatever I did to the plug seemed to work. When I was checking for the dog last night, I was happily surprised to see the lit palm tree. It is a tradition. Even the neighbors made comments when it wasn’t lit. They’ll be happy to see it again.

The first palm trees I ever saw were in Ghana. My geography book had come to life. I was thrilled. We were headed to Winneba and the road to that first training site was along the ocean. It was lined with palm trees. I could see coconuts hanging from below the fronds. Some trees looked bent in odd ways. I was finally somewhere exotic and not a scrub pine was in view. Little did I know what else awaited me.

When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.”

August 23, 2012

The morning is sunny and warm. This room, still in the shade, is cool and comfy. The nights have been dropping to the 60’s, perfect for sleeping, and will be as cool for the next few days. Crossing off items on my before-I-go list continues. Yesterday three bit the dust; already this morning one more is finished. At least three more will be completed by bedtime, and I’ll be left with the big one: packing on Saturday morning.

Last night was the final play of the season. I have no idea where the summer has gone. When I was a kid, summer seemed to last forever filled as it was with days and days of play. I was always surprised when we went shoe shopping, the first sign of summer’s end and the encroachment of the school year.

My favorite summers were when I was a teacher and didn’t work. Those were my traveling days, and I traveled all over, mostly in Europe, with just a few clothes in a backpack. The trips were usually 4 or 5 weeks long, and I went every summer. I had always dreamed of traveling to the ends of the earth to see the pages of my geography book come alive and those summer trips fulfilled my dreams.

My most amazing summer was training in Ghana where I stepped into a brand new world, something I couldn’t have ever imagined. I remember so well those first few days. They were like a dream. Everywhere was green. There were palm trees and there were lizards scurrying across the walkways in front of me. Women dressed in beautiful cloths and carried baskets and buckets on their heads. Little kids followed us. I remember standing just outside my room, on the second floor of the dormitory in Winneba, and looking below at the rusted tin roofs of the houses. I could see goats and I could see people going about their business. I was enthralled.

I love my summers now. My friends and I are usually on the deck, eating, playing games and laughing. We try to stretch the deck season as long as we can and usually last well into long pants and sweatshirt cold nights. The saddest part is when I have to close down in the fall. It’s the adult version of buying new shoes for schools.

“After enlightenment, the laundry.”

July 10, 2012

It’s another beautiful day. The sun is bright, and it’s not yet too warm. The weatherman says low 80’s for today.  I have a bunch of errands to do later including sending for my Ghanaian visa. I’ve already bought a few things to take with me: wipe on insect repellant as last year my feet got eaten, wash cloths which start out in a small pill shape and a personal fan, hand size which runs on batteries. I don’t think I need anything else as I still have a few things I bought and never used for last summer’s trip, a first aid kit being among them.

When I was in Peace Corps training, we had two choices for washing clothes: a bucket for hand-washing or finding someone to wash them. I, of course, chose the latter as did most of the other trainees. I remember Winneba, our first training site, and following a dirt path among trees to the house of the woman who washed our clothes in buckets for a small amount of money. I have no idea how she was found, but I was thrilled not to have to bucket wash my clothes. I don’t remember the rest of training or my laundry, but I also don’t remember washing my own clothes. I’m thinking we found someone everywhere we went.

When I got to Bolga to live, I didn’t wash clothes there either, except for what one might call my personals. Thomas, who worked for me, washed the rest of my laundry in metal buckets then he’d iron my dresses using a charcoal iron. I noticed the seamstress who made my dress last summer uses that the same type charcoal iron.

At the hotel where I stayed last summer, I asked about someone doing my laundry. They recommended a woman who washed my clothes for not much money. She barely spoke English, but she filled in the gaps by smiling a lot. Always on her back was her small daughter. My clothes came back in one day. When I left Ghana to come home, my clothes, except for the personals, were all clean. That has never happened on any trip before, but I expect it to happen again this summer.