Monday, October 10, 2011

village life for the week

Warning: this is really long so make sure you have time to read it all.  J
I will post pictures soon!
For the past 3 weeks, 6 of us at a time have been going on homestays and now the third week it was finally my turn.  I headed to the village with Steph, Maggie, and the boys; Peter, James and John, and our director’s son, Sam.
This past week I lived in the village of Adenkrebi and it was amazing.  Adenkrebi is up in the mountains that surround Accra. We stayed in a very nice home with Daniel and his wife Zeta.  They have 3 beautiful little girls who just steal your heart.  Christabel is 7, Ashia is 4 (and quite the drama queen), and Drome- who is 5 months and the most well behaved baby ever.  We also had Atta Bah who is the house keeper and had quite a good time laughing at us and being our guide for everything.  They are the greatest people and it was so good getting to know all of them. 
Daniel picked us up Monday after class and brought us back where we had a great dinner together then spent the night sitting out on the patio just admiring the beautiful views.  Tuesday and Wednesday were spent going back and forth to the university and Daniel’s house and playing with his daughters.  The girls have non stop energy.  We were also able to visit the girl’s school one morning when we dropped them off.  They go to a really nice school that seemed just like one back in the states.  Daniel has his own company and is very well off.  Thursday I was sick and not able to do much which was a bit of a downer. 
Friday we headed to the Adenkrebi School and played with all the village kids during their gym time.  The village kids are also way full of energy and think we are jungle gyms.  It was very tiring in the heat but so much fun.  The boys played soccer with them, we learned some of their games, and they showed us around.  The school is a bit chaotic and unorganized but they seem to be learning a decent amount.  After that Atta Bah brought us to an old palm tree to show us how to tap it for palm wine.  Unfortunately, the tree was dried up so we couldn’t get any palm wine out.  After that Daniel took us to Ashesi University.  It is a newer university up near Adenkrebi and it is beautiful.  It is a private university and, although small, it is really nice.   Friday night Sound of Music was on TV, so we all watched that together.  They laughed at us singing all of the songs and we explained to them what was going on.  It was a great bonding experience with the family and I will never forget it. 
Saturday was a jam packed day and so exhausting but it was incredible.  We started the day by heading to the flower garden where the showed us all the different plants.  The flower garden is in the middle of the bush and we had to hike to get there (carrying the girls so we were dripping sweat by the time we got there). We then made our way to the cassava trees.  Atta Bah chopped down a tree and pulled the root up to show us all the cassava underneath.  He then chopped down another one and after putting all my effort into it, I could not even budge the roots to get them out.  Pretty embarrassing after Atta Bah pulled them out in one quick motion.  Thankfully, James took quite a bit of time pulling it out after me. 
After that we headed to another clearing for crab hunting.  Crab hunting consists of sticking your hand in a muddy hole and pulling the crab out.  The boys all took their turn and got a crab and some even got pinched.  Us girls were a little apprehensive to go after that but after Atta Bah grabbed our hands and plunged it into the hole for us we all managed to get a crab too.  It was quite the comedy for sure.  Daniel was very proud of all of us for getting one though so he felt that our group would be up for the challenge of going on a hike.  The people in the village did not think any of us “obruni’s,” or white people, would be able to do it so none of the other groups did.  We were pretty pleased with ourselves that Daniel thought we could do it.  After stocking up on water we drove to a clearing.  We didn’t see any path which probably should have been a marker on how intense this was going to be.  Atta Bah took the lead with the machete and started hacking away at the bush.  It was a pretty steep hike and there was quite a bit of falling.  Near the end when we were by the water fall we were even repelling down vines to get down the rest of the way.  Clearly, there were some Tarzan feelings going on.  It was pretty intense but the rushing waterfall was so incredible to see.  The water was moving quickly and kept going so we had to be careful.  I, of course, fell in so the walk back was difficult in soaking wet jeans.  After we made it back we were dead exhausted and really hot but it was such a great feeling knowing we just did that.  Daniel told us that during the dry season some women go down there for water.  I still can not comprehend how that is even possible.  Daniel, again, was really impressed with us so he took us to a sacred tree.
Story is that a long time ago someone tried to cut the tree down and found a bottle of schnapps in it and a white hawk flew out.  Since then, people have regarded the area as sacred and have always looked for an explanation.  This is where Adenkrebi got its name because Adenkrebi means looking for explanation. 
After all of that we headed for some much needed showers and food before snail hunting.  Snail hunting is at night and in the bush and a little terrifying – especially when Daniel says we should always pray before going into the bush at night.  Obviously though we are all ok, just some added cuts from all the thorns we ran into all day.  Snail hunting is done by walking around and looking at the ground with a flash light.  Pretty easy stuff. And snails are ugly.  We ended the hunt by walking to the edge of the mountain (Adenkrebi is on top of a mountain) and looking out over Accra.  Accra is beautiful at night and goes on forever.  We all stood there together and watched an airplane land at the airport.  It was pretty neat because 2 months from that moment we will be landing back in the states.  After that we headed to sleep.  It was a tiring day.
As I am writing this, it is Sunday and we are hanging out on the patio waiting for lunch to be ready.  It has been a great week but we are excited to go back to the university and see everyone else.  It is weird being apart from the others since we spend so much time together here.  Also, for dinner we tried fufu with the crabs and snails we caught.  Not a fan of fufu at all – it is the texture of wet bread dough.  And they eat every part of the crab and snail.  The crabs eyeball was still there.  It was… disgusting. We did finally get a meal of chicken though after a week of fish and the chicken was so good.  (It was killed that morning so it was pretty fresh – poor Richard the chicken.  Thanks for naming it boys – it made it awesome to eat)
I miss food that does not have fish in it.  It has been an adventurous week with food.  Lots of stew- with fish in it, rice – with fish in it, kenkey – with fish in it, contumbre – with fish in it, yams – with fish stew.  I am ready for some Taco Bell and Uccellos and Aurelios and Portillos. 
The week was a great way to end our first half here and I can’t wait to see how the second half goes.  We have a lot of trips and I am sure there will be many more adventures, preferably without fish in them. 
If you read through all of this – thanks! I hope it was worth it.  Sorry it was so long!
As always, love and miss you all so much! 

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