The Ghana group is about to close its first month of the journey but to myself, and probably everyone in the group, it feels like we’ve been here for much longer. Not to say that we’re weary of the journey to a greater extent or that we don’t get stared at like we just landed and climbed out of our spaceship. Simply, we are now so deeply immersed in our life here that it feels just so: like this is our life. We have our daily routines, we’ve become friends with our coworkers and neighbors, we’ve established answers to questions like “do I flush the toilet in the morning or at night?” and “this meal is for three people, right?”
Since my last post, my original family had to decline my placement due to an emergency and so I was placed with a new family (whose name I can neither pronounce nor spell). This family consists of a mom and dad, four sisters (1, 9, 24 and 26 years respectively), a brother (23), and various others who pass through periodically. I have not one but TWO dogs and a number of chickens whose ranks seem to depreciate in synchrony with those days on which we have chicken for dinner… My house, I have deduced from a series of calculations involving the amount of time and number of trotros it takes for me to get anywhere, is on Mars. It rests in some sandy crater that is populated with other houses, a pharmacy, a very pungent bar and a grocery store run by very nice people who refuse to believe that the expiration date on food is anything more than a suggestion. (They really are very nice though.)
I have been placed at the Nubuke Foundation and my main job consists of compiling photographs and interviews on the art community in Ghana. I am currently pioneering a secondary project aimed at developing an art curriculum in public schools. I met with the district commissioner and he gave me the green light so starting next week I’ll be visiting various schools and pitching a curriculum based loosely on the movement and expression exercises of a theatre class with other craft projects as supplements to that major project. My hope is that this project will culminate in the production of a play the students have written themselves. Eventually, I’ll take on one class and that will serve as the pilot of the program. Cam has been placed at Ridge Hospital where he works as an assistant in the Physiotherapy Department. Pallavi works at Street Girls Aid and has probably the toughest job of all of us (as I found out yesterday when I shadowed her at her work due to a power outage at mine). Lindsay WILL be working as a teacher in a public school when Ghana opens them again (after postponing their opening to complete the national census). Henrique works at SISS (don’t ask me what that stands for) and is currently writing 10-12 page applications for grants for their training programs.
While there’s no denying this is an immense challenge, and one that presents itself differently to each of us, there is also no denying that even within the first month of this journey, we’ve grown to love Ghana and all the insecurities, physical exhaustion, and ultra-friendly people that come with it. We’re even beginning to crave that space outside our comfort zones.