Thursday, September 4, 2008

Now that I'm home...

A lot has changed since I got home from Ghana 25 days ago. Changes for the better, and changes for the worse. You never really know how much you love a place until you have to leave it. That is how I feel about Ghana. I was excited to get home to a boyfriend, a hot shower, Wendy's, and some clean clothes. I had painted such an exciting and beautiful picture of my life back home; I was excited to get back to it. Now that I am home I realize the picture is faded and definitely not what I had envisioned. I always chuckle when I get the question " was it?" There is no way that I can sum up my entire experience in one conversation or even a days worth of conversation. And a simple "It was good" does not serve justice to my experiences and memories. There is so much that I learned and am still learning from my experience in Ghana. There is a plus to being home and that is a fast internet connection. Meaning that I can finally upload some pictures.


His name is Kelvin. I've talked about Kelvin in previous posts. He was adopted towards the end of the trip, and in my opinion he is going to have a pretty easy time assimilating into his new british life style. His mother's house will be the cleanest in all the land thanks to Kelvin's love and excitment for helping out. Kelvin taught me that sometimes you can't wait for someone else to rock you to sleep. Sometimes you just have to do it yourself. He also taught me about standing up for the little guy. Kelvin was not afraid to stand up for his peers against some of the older orphans. I miss Kelvin, and think of him daily.


This beautiful little boy is Kofi. In the beginning Kofi was always serious, never talked and rarely cracked a smile. After a few weeks though, he was all smiles and chattered away in Twi. I never understood what he was saying but I loved it all the same. Sometimes Kofi would go back into his serious state and just watch the other kids. He would cry when necessary but would quit when it was no longer necessary. Kofi taught me that there are times when you need to cry but there are times when you don't. There are times when you need to be serious and take a step back and just watch, but there are times when you need to get in there and have fun. Who cares if no one understands. I miss Kofi, and think of him daily.


I never got to say goodbye to Tsulee, he was adopted while I was on my trip up north. Tsulee is smart. He loved learning new English words. And I loved hearing his sweet gravelly voice. The orphans and I would play a game, I would say "On your marks" and they would squat down and touch their index fingers to the ground like a modified runners starting position. Then I would say "Get set, GO!" and we would all run run run, turn around and start all over again. This was Tsulee's favorite game. We played it everyday after dinner and if I forgot Tsulee would look at me and say in his gravelly, accented voice "Auntie Taylah! On your marks!" Whenever we were moving to a different part of the orphanage Tsulee would remind me to get my bag by saying "Auntie Taylah, yo bag, yo bag." Tsulee taught me that no matter what your situation is, you can always find a way to have fun. I hope Tsulee is happy with his new family. He definitely deserves it. I miss Tsulee, and think of him daily.

Ama Foli

Ama Foli knows what she wants and wants it now. If I were holding her and, god forbid, put her down to pick up another screaming child, Ama would throw a fit! She may be small but she could make older boys cry. Ama Foli was also known for her songs. Ama Foli loved singing. "Sea Saw up and Down" was my favorite in her repitoire of songs. Ama and I also had a little ritual. Whenever she was in a particularly bad mood I would simply put her on my back, she would rest her head on my back and I would hum, sing or whistle my favorite Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, or Kristin Chenoweth songs. We would walk around the orphanage like this until she was calm. One day I went to the school to pick up our school kids and I noticed Ama Foli was crying. This was nothing new but I decided to go see what was up. I went to pick her up and she winced, I looked to see what was causing her pain and noticed that right knee was at least 3 times the size it should be. I carefully carried her back to the house auntie to see if anyone had noticed this. She told me that Ama had already been treated, and that the swelling had gone down considerably from the day before. I was careful with Ama's knee the rest of the day. Towards the end of that day Ama was running, singing and throwing fits just like the same old Ama Foli. The only difference was a slight little limp which brought a little comedy to my day. I learned from Ama Foli that no matter what life throws at you there's always a way around it. She taught me that I need to carry on with my normal life no matter what emotional or physical pain I may be in. I miss Ama Foli, and think of her daily.


Lydia was one of our morning, special needs girls. She has both physical and mental disablities but I don't know the name for them. She had little control over her limbs and muscles. She could walk a short distance if you were holding her hands. She could hear you if you made noises into her left ear, and she reacted to bright colors. I have to admit I was a little squirmish about Lydia when we first started taking her out. Her days are spent on a pot in her own waste and she was only cleaned when we cleaned her or when we asked for her to be cleaned. After I got over those issues I immediately fell in love with Lydia. She has a smile that will melt your heart in an instant. I have never seen a smile that big and that genuine. Lydia was also picked on by all of the other kids. It was a game for the other kids to kick, hit and pinch Lydia until she cried. I stopped this behavior whenever I could see it but I couldn't be in there protecting her from the kids at all times. Lydia taught me about survival. Lydia is a survivor and a hero of mine. I know I would not be able to take the abuse and sub human treatment she was objected to and then smile and radiate happiness a moment later. I miss Lydia, and think of her daily.


Adu was one of the few kids at the orphanage who were HIV+. This was not what defined Adu though. None of the volunteers kept their distance from Adu because of his sickness. He was just too cute and charming for that. He loved falling asleep in your lap and playing silly games with rocks or leaves. He shared Ama's love of singing but I never could understand the words he was singing. I learned an important lesson from Adu. He is labeled as HIV+ but that was not Adu. I may be labeled by some people but that is not me. I miss Adu, and think of him daily.
These are just a few of the kids and just a few of the lessons that I learned from them. I hold dear in my heart every memory and picture of the kids and Ghana. I had hard days but I wouldn't change a single day if I had the chance. This experience benefitted me then, now and I know it will in the future. Because of events occuring since I got home, I often find myself feeling like my world has fallen apart with no hope for the future. In these moments I look back at my pictures, read my journal entries, and try to heal myself that way.

Thank you everyone who supported me in every way during this adventure. There may be future posts if I feel so inclined on this blog so keep checking back. :) Peace and love.

Oh and if anyone wants to sponsor a child so that they can go to school just let me know and I can get you the information to get started on this process. It really doesn't take very much money to sponsor a child.

No comments: