Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"You are welcome." ""

That's how people have been greeting us- shaking hands and telling us we are welcome. The first time somebody said that to me I think was Sammy when he picked us up from the airport. I was confused at first, because I hadn't said thank you in the last second and it reminded me of how my dad says "You're welcome." in a sarcastically passive-aggressive way when he passes me something at the dinner table and I don't say thanks. So when Sammy first said "You're welcome" I assumed there was something I hadn't thought of (apart from being awesome and picking us up, hehe) so I said thank you back.

I realize now that it's just part of the super welcoming habits of Ghanaians- welcoming us and offering to help out all the time. They also have a really cool handshake where you hang on with your thumb and third finger after the shake and then snap.. hard to explain.

Though people are really friendly, we also attract attention everywhere we go. I should mention, for those of us that *love diversity* (you know who you are), that the four of us are a sight you don't see here every day: a black man (sammy), a white man (Steve), an Indian boy (Suraj) and an Asian girl (me) . Despite only Steve being white, kids will call out "Obroni!" ("White person!") as we walk by. We turn around and wave and they flash the biggest smiles and wave back and it's so adorable.

Anyways, we've settled into the teachers' cottage in Obodan and spent a small fortune the last few days on housewares and groceries. It's all good though because we're saving overall, and staying in Obodan makes it a lot easier to work. And we're making friends with the kids. Suraj and I went to the borehole to fetch water last night (no running water, so we have a bin full of water for washing) and befriended Stanley who offered to help us fetch water. He said he fetches water 5 times a day. Five times! And water is heavy! But kids put their buckets of water on their heads as they transport them. I'm going to learn to do that some day. Placing things on your head is so much easier than carrying with your arms. And people all around Ghana carry things on their heads, not just water. Women walking around selling things put everything on a tray on their head! Bread, turkey, fish, I even saw one lady with a crate full of jewelry. A crate!

Back to what we're actually doing...
Two days ago we went into Sakyikrom with Steve for his workshop, but it ended up only being an introduction instead of actually starting. It looked like many people showed up but a lot of them were actually from another town coming in to settle a curse somebody had cast on one of theirs... so it will start up for real tomorrow (thursday).

Yesterday we walked around the village and started plotting landmarks on our GPS. We got the boundaries of the village, the schools, churches, boreholes, and some other buildings. To get to the east boundary we walked up a hill and we passed by corn fields and pineapple farms! Obodan harvests good pineapples and we ate one yesterday, it was delicious.

Today we met with the new municipal chief who we'll be coordinating with from now on for projects since Mr. Brobbey, our district engineer is retiring. Later we're going back and starting household surveys and while we do that we'll be plotting the houses on our GPS.
We'll probably spend 2-3 days doing that (though plans are always changing, so I can't be too sure).

Eventually we'll also do:
-topographical surveying
-water quality testing
-sitting by the boreholes all day to record usage
-soil assessment
-checking up on the KVIP we built (we saw it, but going back and taking notes)

That's all for now. Not really. There's more I'd like to say but there's only so much you're willing to read and so much time I have at an internet cafe!


  1. in india, people say "i'll just come" when they mean "i'll be right back." i was mad confused the first few days too. so people would say "i'll just come" and leave you and go off somewhere...and you're left there perplexed.