Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Email Home- "Ma Haa (Good Afternoon)"

Hello everybody!

Wow this week has been amazing, one of the best yet.  I don't have a
lot of time to write and who knows when the power will go out randomly
(I've been to the internet cafe twice just today to try and write this
letter), but here is the jist!

First, thank you all for your wonderful birthday wishes!  I had one of
the best birthdays in my life on Monday.  Maggie woke up early to make
me pancakes (which is an all time luxury) in our sticky frying pan
that is warped in about seven dimensions.  I got a semicircle pancake,
which was a miracle.  My friends at school were adoranble.  They gave
me a bag of hot chocolate like stuff and a can of sardeins!  This was
the best thing they could have given me.  They know I hate fish, and
if they can tease me that means we really are friends now.  I had no
banku dinner celebrations, but Maggie yet again surprised me with a
confetti cake (smuggled in from home) cooked to perfection in a pot.
We put our mosquitto coil candle on top of it for me to blow it out,
and the rest of the group got me fanyogo (closest thing to icecream
they have here.)  Oh if that wasn't enough, they gave me a ton of nice
presents!  Nate got me a beautiful piece of kente cloth (hand woven
here for the royalty) that will make me a nice little bright colored
scarf when I am on my scooter in the freezing cold this winter, Rachel
Morrison made me a birthday crown out of post its and field note
paper, as well as a nice card (which is always all I want if you know
me well enough), and I got a whole bunch of buscuits and an off brand
version of frosted flakes!  It was euphoric.  I made a fun list of
goals to accomplish in the next year that I will try to post up on my
blog if I get a chance.  The only thing that could have made it better
was you people being here with me.

On a more saddening note, I am finding that certain things are more
heavy on my mind.  What it means to be a woman (here, and everywhere I
have come to realize), what it feels like to be hungry, these sorts of
things that I knew I would be finding but struggle to put in terms of
correctness to avoid international development taboo terms and all...
but yeah.  There is a girl at school named Charity (the dark irony of
that name), who cannot pay her school fees.  She gets caned almost
everyday because of it, isn't allowed to eat, and won't be able to
take the examinations next week.  What she owes?  About sixty US
dollars.  One shift for me at Noodles and Company.  It breaks my
heart, but I can't give it to her, not now, not yet.  I keep going
through ways to secretly send her the money (like the mail system
could do that) or find out her address or something, but in vain.  How
can I pay for her fees and not the other fourth of the school in the
same circumstances?  How do I give Akwasi a biscuit when he begs for
one and not the two hundred other ones?  I have a responsibility to my
group to not be showy with money, with the groups to come, and in the
long run I have to figure out if there is anything I can do long term
that will help, really help, and then there is the question of
qualifications and a whole storm of other difficulties.  I'm convinced
that these difficult questions might be my life long persuit.  But
what can I do right now, this very instant?  When I go home me and
Maggie are going to volunteer in a rape crisis center that she
volunteers at, and I'm joing the students of international development
club when I get home to try and learn what I need to do to get there,
but it is hard being patient about some things.  So yes, a lot of
things on the mind right now.

Brigher note.  Research is also going really well.  This week I have
spent as much time as possible in the school.  Yesterday I did 20
interviews!  I was shocked to find I still had a voice this morning,
and I have so many new friends and information for my project.  They
have their examinations this next week, so school coming to and end
feels like everything is over, but I am just looking forward to having
those two weeks to go wandering with my camera through the village.

Love you all, and I hope you are having a great week!

Business sign:  NPP (Ashanti political party) "So far, so good"
Proposal:  "Hello my wife..."

PS- If you plan on seeing me the first week I am home, consider the
following options for going out to eat:  hamburgers, cheeseburgers,
bacon burgers, cafe rio, breakfast buritos from Betos, little caesars,
and did I mentioned Wendys?  Yes.  Hamburgers are good.

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