Saturday, June 12, 2010

Email Home- "After a power outage, a riot, and two failed internet cafes, I am writing...."

Hello my people!

       I hope everyone is doing well.  It seems the time has come to have my
share of some of the joys of sickness.  I refused to go to the clinic
for a few days, but when I couldn’t finish my run this morning Chase
and Rachel Morris threatened to throw me over their shoulders and
carry me there, so reluctantly, I followed.

       There are two possible things to be diagnosed with at the clinic,
complicated and uncomplicated malaria.  Seeing that I know I have
neither, I was kind of frustrated when the doctor wrote me down for
“uncomplicated” even though I don’t have a fever, and he only asked me
a total of two questions.  I left the clinic with a goody bag full of
random pills for various things.  Luckily Nate is in pre med and is
helping me figure it out.  But have no fear, we think it is just a
parasite or a hormone imbalance with Larium, so I’m on an antibiotic
and will be better in no time.  Rachel even called her dad at home,
who is a doctor, and he reassured us that I’m totally fine.  I’m
feeling better already.

       On a more positive note, my project is coming along well.  I think…
I’m certainly getting mixed messages about the attitudes towards
literature education.  On one side, no one reads at home, no one is
allowed to take their textbook home, and no one knows what a metaphor
is, and on the other, I found sections in their textbooks on
Shakespeare, Beowulf, and selections of Achebe, who is the father of
African literature.  I think the research part will be really
interesting when I build enough rapport to start doing interviews and
figure out what is really going on here.  I think some of the teachers
at the secondary school will be potential friends.  I am trying to set
daily goals to at least go out and walk around in the community.  It
kind of scares me how easy it is to get stuck in the four walls of
this compound.  I can be safe here.  I don’t have to speak Twi.  I
don’t have to be confused.  It is a little place to hide in my
mosquito net.  I definitely don’t want to get into the habit of coming
back here all of the time, and so I am walking the town trying to meet
people.  This whole being sick thing though is pretty inconvenient

       I also had the opportunity to attend my first funeral.  They are
always held on the first weekend of the month, and Jima assured us
that there is always a funeral, and people always die.  It was more
like a giant neighborhood party.  Everyone was there in their red and
black clothes, and it has such a different feeling.  That is how I
want to go.  I like that they celebrate life, eat, drink, and dance in
memory of that person.  Funerals are a very big deal here, and it was
definitely something that I was not used to.  Sometimes it is fun to
get into those moments where I am literally clueless.  Me and Rachel
Morris were the first ones to arrive, and we asked a woman to show us
what to do.  Turns out we were at the wrong funeral, we donated way
too much money to the family, and then we started going up to the
speakers with the DJ and he asked for our names.  We were worried we
were expected to give a speech or something.  No one else was doing
what we were doing, and to be honest I’m still not really sure what
happened!  We just each other’s hands and tried not to freak out too
much.  It would be much better if I knew the language.  It ended
though, and we went and bowed to the elders and shook their hands.  It
is pretty humbling, I feel like a child.  People clap for me when I
say something right, and everyone is anxious to help us learn as much
as we can.

       The world cup has also been quite the event here.  I didn’t realize
how cool it would be to be in Africa for it, but it has been
fantastic.  Everyone is rallied up, and it is so cool to gather around
the one TV on the block, shoulder to shoulder with the natives,
cheering on South Africa, praying that the power does not go out.  I
wish America was more into football with the rest of the world, but at
least we are in it!  I have my hopes that we will beat England. J

       Also, we have two birthdays for Danielle and Chase coming up on
Sunday and Monday.  Deborah, our neighbor, attempted to show us how to
make a cake (see if you can make a cake without an oven, eh?).  It was
interesting, but I’m not sure if we will try to attempt it.  I’m going
to pick up some of the cake batter I saw at the white mans market, and
maybe we will just end up having a chocolate stew.  I’m excited
though!  It is reason to celebrate.  I’m still having a wonderful
time, and I’m excited to keep learning.

Love you all and hope you are well!

Marriage Proposal of the Week:  “I love you.  Please, let us get
married and go to America.”
Favorite Business Name (two to make up for last week): “Crap for Jesus
(I think they meant clap for Jesus…) and “Beware Friends Fashion

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