Sunday, July 25, 2010

Safe And Sound In Asafo

[Belated Post]

I am back from site visit and boy howdy was that a good time. I had the chance to meet many people there at the college and interact just a little bit with the community even if it was for just four days or thereabouts. Last night was my first real trip to a restaurant since I arrived in Ghana and I had the pleasure of trying something new yet again. Akple (and since I do not have the right characters in our English alphabet to do it justice, that will be how I have to write it for now; it is pronounced ahPLAY with just a hint of 'k' in between the ah and the play) and a delicious soup with a giant, succulent fish resting in the center of the bowl. A very good way to end the night. My counterpart helped Raj and me find the eatery even though he had not yet eaten and had food waiting for him at home. You have never seen such hospitality and I will do my best to equal their generous gestures in return.

So I now know what Hohoe has in store for me in some ways but I do not have a crystal clear vision of what the job will hold. Teaching computers is the obvious thing, but my side projects and the amount of work that the teaching will require are still a bit up in the air for me. I am sure more will be revealed as the end of September draws near. In the meantime I need to work a bit more on my Ewe.

Our return journey went from two of us to four of us as we met two other fellow volunteers waiting in the lorry station in Hohoe at the precise moment that Raj and I needed a ride. Bill and Tara are a married couple will both be teaching in either a junior high school or a high school, I forget which it was. So four of us plus two other Europeans boarded one tro-tro for Kpong (don't pronounce the 'k' again on that town name either). While waiting for about a half hour before the vehicle filled up we happened to chat up two or three women who could speak both Twi and Ewe and they had a ball teaching and testing our various bits of knowledge. I think I like it better now that I have some understanding of very rudimentary Twi plus Ewe (low novice at best). The more words I can get the merrier. Rita was a passenger who was taking the ride all the way to Koforidua and we used her quite often to help us out in language and to save some money. She saved each of us 20 pesawas on the trip from Kpong by telling us the real fair that we should be charged and when we arrived in Koforidua, we had her lead the way past all the men yelling, “Where are you going?” into the tro-tro that would take us to Tafo the quickest. I think I did my darndest to thank her in English, Ewe, and Twi (she spoke all three quite well) and then I used my just-learned expression, “God bless you,” in Ewe. She smiled and was on her way.

Do you see how great the people are here?

On a side note, I had the chance to introduce myself to a few people when I arrived at St. Francis and thought I was telling everyone that I was born on Wednesday with the name Kwaku, or alternately, Koku. Instead though I had forgotten one letter on the alternate name and said Kodu. My counterpart overlooked this as he thought that might actually be my American name, Kodu David.

Not quite. As it happens, 'kodu' is pretty much the word for banana. Small mistake. I can't wait to make the next one. Oh, actually, that happened on Saturday when I said goodbye to two women who were visiting my counterpart's home. I thought I was saying “safe journey”. They reacted with faces aghast and said that I was mistaken. Apparently the teacher I have knows the phrase he gave me as “safe journey”, but in the middle Volta region, that phrase pretty much means “rest in peace” and is said of the dead. Slight oops moment. Another learning moment brought to you by a forgetful speaker and regional dialects.

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