A Day of “Lasts”

​Warning! This post is long, but there’s a lot to cover! I’m going to split today into two parts because otherwise there’s too much.

Today marked the beginning of Lara’s Last Weekend of Fun. It’s tradition (unofficial) that when someone is leaving, they get to make the plans for their last weekend. Often, it’s a trip they didn’t get to take yet and want to fit in before going home, but Kumasi was that for me. For my last weekend, I just wanted to stay in town, hang out with everyone, and finish my Ghana Bucket List.

Here’s my list:

  • Walk across the Atimpoku bridge (did this last weekend!)
  • Go canoeing on the Volta River
  • Take a picture with a goat
  • Catch a chicken
  • Carry water on my head with no hands
  • Finish the poop hole (I know, I know… but I had to mention it because it’s on my list)
  • Climb the mountain by the clinic
  • Stargaze in the soccer field
  • Watch the fireflies (yay for that awesome night with the million fireflies!)
  • Watch the sunset one last time (did this on a run yesterday)
  • Go to the Akosombo Dam
  • Eat s’mores
  • Ride a motor bike home from Juapong (did this last week!)
  • Have another lip sync battle

And here’s the weekend schedule:

FRIDAY

  • Last day at the farm
  • Last day of school
  • Go to the Akosombo Dam
  • Lip sync battle

And: picture with a goat, catch a chicken

SATURDAY

  • Hike the mountain that we hiked before (by the farm)
  • Hike the mountain by the clinic
  • Lunch
  • Go canoeing on the Volta
  • Bonfire and eat s’mores
  • Stargaze

And: carry water on my head

SUNDAY

  • Pack
  • Don’t cry
  • Picture with everyone on the porch

Action packed weekend! BUT if everything goes according to plan, I’ll do everything on my bucket list before I leave. I know better than to think that’s realistic, but it’s worth a try, right?

The beginnings of a beautiful pig house

The farm this morning was bittersweet. Will I miss waking up at 5AM? Probably not. Will I miss feeling accomplished at breakfast, having that extra time to spend with everyone each morning, and chopping things with a machete like that’s totally a normal part of life? Yeah, I think I will. Yara made the effort to come today because of the occasion, and it was nice to have one more day with just Nick, Anna, Yara, and me (Ricardo wasn’t there because they already left for Cape Coast). We started digging the foundations for the pig house expansion. I’m a little bummed that I won’t get to work on that, but at least I got to do some construction work on the clinic. When it was time to go, I said goodbye to the guys, the piggies, and the corn, and I kicked a chicken (not really, but I wanted to). And that was the end.

We walked back to the house, I ate my last pancake, and I got ready for my last day of school.  I’ve concluded that my coping mechanism is avoidance (only in dealing with things like this though) because I’ve been doing an incredible job of pretending that none of this is real, just like when I was coming here and managed to convince myself that I wasn’t, even up to the point where I was at the airport about to get on the plane to Ghana.

The P2 kids yesterday after they made their drawings

Me losing it

Everlasting, me, and Avy with P2 after I kind of pulled it together

Honestly, I didn’t want to go to school because I knew it would just make me sad, but I forced myself because I knew it would be worse if I didn’t. I went to Everlasting’s class, helped him grade homework, and just laid low in the back of the classroom until it was time for us to go home for lunch. Nick and Avy came in to pick me up, and before we left, Everlasting asked if I wanted to say anything to the kids. I said no because I knew that I would cry immediately, but I did want a picture with the kids. He made me come up to the front of the room, told the kids that it was my last day, and turned to me and said that they had something for me and I should just accept it.

One of the girls stood up and gave me a stack of drawings they had made for me, all with notes saying “thank you” and “safe journey” and “ayko” (good work). It was hopeless… I was barely holding back my tears before, and as soon as she stood up, I lost it. Then, before I had a chance to pull myself back together, one of the boys stood up and gave me another stack from the boys in the class. I was a complete mess. I still am… just thinking about it is making me cry again. After I choked out a “thank you” and kind of stopped crying, all the kids came up and we took a picture (they say “say kenkey!” here instead of “say cheese”. It’s one of their classic foods made from ground corn) while I was crying and smiling and, of course, sweating. It’s a pretty gross combination, so I’m sure those pictures turned out beautifully.

P3 yesterday with their drawings

Me, Avy, and P3

Everlasting making everyone laugh

Emotionally, I couldn’t stay any longer, so I said goodbye to the kids and Avy asked if I wanted to pop in to say goodbye to P3. I said sure, but just for a second. As soon as I got inside the classroom, all the girls came up and handed me drawings they made, and I was a crying disaster all over again. We group hugged and then the boys came up and the whole drawings/crying/group hug cycle repeated. As annoyed as I’ve gotten at all those kids throughout my time here, it doesn’t matter anymore. This is what I’m going to remember. One girl in particular, Mavis, kept saying, “Miss Lara, don’t go. I’m going to miss you.” What am I supposed to do in response to that besides just cry more? I tried not to get too close to any of the kids because it can’t be good for them to keep getting attached to volunteers and having them leave over and over again, but there’s only so much you can do.

Me, Avy, and the teachers. The ones I always talk about are standing around me: Mavis on the far left, Mike waving in the back, and Everlasting on my other side

At this point, I just wanted to go home. That wasn’t the end though. Mike, the headmaster, made us all go into his office, and he called all the teachers in as well. We sat down, he told everyone that it was my last day, and he thanked me and said that I’ll be missed. Mavis got up and presented me with a certificate they made to say thank you, anddd cue tears again. You may be thinking that it’s physically impossible for one person to cry so much in the span of about 20 minutes. I probably would think that as well if it didn’t just happen to me, but believe me, I wouldn’t make this up. I should probably drink some rehydration salts because it can’t be healthy for me to be losing so much water. We took a group picture, I cried and shook everyone’s hands, and Avy and Nick escorted me, the snotty, sweaty, crying mess, home.

*to be continued*

The Poop Hole, For the Last Time

 

The little piggies!

Remember that time when I said I’d never have to stand calf-deep in pig poop again? Yeah, me too. At the time, I truly believed I was telling the truth. I really wish I had been telling the truth… but alas, today I once again found myself standing in deep you-know-what.

First though, it started out as a normal day at the farm. Anna, Nick, and I went today (Yara couldn’t get up) and kept working on hoeing around the corn. Woohoo. We finished the field today, so hopefully they don’t find another weed-filled corn field and this can be the last time I ever have to do that.

There was one highlight of the morning though, and I think it means I can cross something off my my list of Ghana goals. On our way to and from the farm in the mornings, we have to walk through a bunch of neighborhoods, and people are always calling out “good morning” and “how are you?”, sometimes in English and sometimes in Ewe. At this point, I think I’m doing pretty well with Ewe. I can answer all of the basic questions and have a couple of tricks up my sleeve to really impress people (which isn’t hard because they’re usually expecting nothing from us). This morning, we walked past a woman, I said “good morning” in Ewe, she responded and asked “how are you?”, and I answered. When I turned to keep walking, I saw a little girl staring at me in awe. She said, “the yevu speaks Ewe” (reminder that “yevu” means white person), with probably the same astonishment in her voice that you would expect from someone discovering that their pet dog could speak English. I thought it was hilarious, and I’m going to say that counts as me “having a basic conversation in Ewe”, which was one of my goals for my time here.

The cave-in, after I dug most of the dirt out.

Anyway, back to everyone’s favorite topic: the poop hole (aka the pig poop hole that will theoretically lead to natural fertilizer for the farm). I was so determined to finish today that I stayed in the morning after everyone else went home, in the hopes that I would be able to stay until the job was done. I was making great progress, and then, tragedy struck. The last wall that I was filling in behind came un-secured and started caving into the hole. NOOOO! I’ll be honest, I was beyond caring and planned to just leave us with a hole about 20% smaller than planned. Unluckily (for me, but luckily for the hole), Joe and John came by to check out my progress almost right after the cave in. Joe said, “oh the wall is falling down. You’ll have to dig all of that dirt out to stand it back up.” Ugh. I guess that settled it. I dug out most of the dirt, and by the time I stopped, it was about 9AM and I was drenched in sweat. It gets VERY hot VERY fast after 7AM, and I went through about 3 liters of water in two hours. I decided it was time to go home once I ran out. Plus, I couldn’t finish right then anyway because I needed a hammer to fix the wall. And they were still in the process of putting the day’s poop into the hole. The only thing worse than standing in a pile of poop is having someone adding poop to the pile while you’re in it. Hm… I have just now decided that “adding poop to the pile” is going to be the new “adding fuel to the fire”. I think it gets the point across much better than the original.

Have you ever seen anything more magnificent? That’s one good looking poop hole.

I spent the rest of the morning physically recovering and mentally preparing for my trip down the poop hole. Too soon, it was time for me to head back to the farm, saw and hammer in hand. Step 1 was finishing digging out the dirt behind the wall that would prevent me from pushing it back into place. Step 2 was cutting pieces of wood to be hammered into the ground and hold the wall up from inside the hole. Step 3 was getting into the hole, smacking the wall back into place, and hammering the new wood into the ground. This was obviously the most horrible part, and it was worse than last time because the poop was deeper. When I put my foot down, I had NO clue when I would hit solid ground. I was just praying that it would be sometime before the poop completely overtook my boot. Panic panic panic panic andddd sigh of relief. An inch to spare. With my feet held securely in place, I did what I needed to do and got the heck out of there. Step 4 was re-nailing the edge of the wall to the column. I put in about 6 nails rather than the 1 we had before, just for good measure. And then I added more on the other side too. That wall isn’t going anywhere. And if it does, I promise you that I won’t be the one getting into the hole to fix it. Step 5 was filling back in behind the wall (and hoping it didn’t collapse again). Step 6 was mounding the dirt up next to the wall so that any water will drain away from the hole. Finally, step 7 was finishing the gutter. Are you exhausted just reading about it? I’m re-exhausted just writing about it. Looking back on the whole poop hole process, there are probably close to 100 things we could have planned or designed or implemented better. If anyone is considering building one of their own, please get in touch and I’ll give you some suggestions.

The sky on the way home was pretty cool, and you can see my eight favorite palm trees.

It’s time to celebrate though… here are the words you thought you would never read: the poop hole is finished. The poop hole is FINISHED. THE POOP HOLE IS FINISHED!!!! I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “thank goodness, if I had to hear about that stupid hole one more time, I would stop reading for good.” (Did you ever think you would read the word “poop” this many times in your life? I’m guessing no.) Well, good news for both of us. From this moment on, I will never mention the poop hole again (but realistically, this a soft “never”, similar to my previous “never standing in poop again” never).

The day ended on another high note. On my walk home, I walked past a field where there were hundreds of fireflies! We’ve gone looking for fireflies before, but there usually aren’t more than a few. This time was unreal. I’ve never seen anything like it. Watching the field was like seeing a Christmas light show. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. And just think… if I didn’t happen to be walking home from the farm at that hour, I never would have seen them. I guess some good did come out of the thing-that-must-not-be-named.

Daylong at the Farm

 

The plants we sowed during my second week are actually growing corn now!!

Goodbye, long weekend. Hello, 5AM wake up for physical labor. These early mornings really don’t get any easier. If anything, they’re getting worse. When Amber and Nico were here, we left the house pretty close to 5:30 each morning. Now, it’s more like 5:45… or so. Ugh it’s just horrible waking up, especially when no one else in my room is getting up (which is just Avy now… Amber used to sleep above me and her bed has become my organizational shelf since she left).
Even worse today was that we had a morning of hoeing around corn again. I definitely don’t mind it mentally like I used to, but my back hates it. We also had the fun challenge of hoeing around the pumpkin and courgette (which I just googled and apparently it’s zucchini… Nico and Amber didn’t know how to translate it into English and I guess I never thought of just looking it up. Yeah I’m going to keep calling it courgette in honor of him.) plants which was hard because they’re huge vines spread all over the ground. The chance of chopping the weeds and not the plants we want is slim, so I mostly left the weeds close to the vine (yes, I realize that kind of defeats the purpose of getting rid of weeds so they don’t steal the nutrients from the good plants, but there’s too much ground to cover and too many plants to get into that level of detail).

Piglets!

The piglets are MUCH cuter than they were on Thursday. These last four days have been good to them. Unfortunately, we’re down to 7 from 10. Hopefully the remaining ones all make it! Life is hard as a newborn piglet. Besides all of the normal struggles that come with just trying to get their bearings in the world, they have other things to worry about… the mother sat on one of them on Thursday. It survived in the short term, but I think that’s probably one of the ones we lost ☹ . Fingers crossed for only good news from the little piggies from here on out.

Before… Only the left side was finished, the front was halfway, and others weren’t even started.

After.. I filled in the front and the right side and worked on the gutter a bit.

In other news, I am finally determined to finish the poop hole (a hole for them to put the pig poop/other organic matter in and eventually use for fertilizer). Previously, I was determined to procrastinate on the poop hole for as long as possible. I think now I’m just sick of it (even more than before), and I don’t want to have to worry about working on it during my last week (which is next week… AHHHH!). I went back in the afternoon and put in a solid two and a half hours of work until it started getting dark. Three out of four sides are finished! I anticipate one more day of work (and by that I mean, I am only working on it one more day and I’ll stay there for as long as I need to in order to finish).
In celebration of my progress, I just had some post-dinner Fan Ice, hot chocolate, and bread. Yes, all at the same time. That’s pretty close to the ultimate Lara food dream, and here it’s probably as close as I’m going to get. I’m going to bed now because I (as you might guess) have a stomachache, and I’d much rather be asleep while my body hates me.

Weeds, P2, and More Poop

Check out those rows of little eggplants!

I basically forced Nick to come to the farm with me, so I have another farm friend! Yara also decided to rejoin the group which got us to four people going to the farm this morning. Talk about a farm party! It was a good day for Nick to start because we were clearing weeds out of the beds, and that’s definitely one of the more relaxing farm tasks. I also had more “realize how much I’ve learned” moments when I had almost no trouble identifying weeds vs. eggplants and had to check the work of the others (after John showed us what to do, he turned to me and said, “make sure your friends don’t kill all of the eggplants.” No pressure or anything…). I remember my first week when we were hoeing and couldn’t even tell the difference between weeds and fully grown eggplants. Now I can even identify them when they’re only a few inches tall! How exciting! I’m sure these eggplant spotting skills will serve me well for the rest of my life…

After breakfast, Avy and I went to Baptist to teach P2 because their teacher was at the doctor. In Math, they were learning about addition of single digit numbers. We tried to do an activity where we split the kids into groups and used rocks as counters, but it was a total disaster. Imagine any movie where kids have a substitute teacher and totally try to take advantage of that fact, and you’ll have something close to our classroom today. Even with the two of us, it was impossible to keep the kids in their seats and paying attention.

Poop hole “before” picture. You can see that there’s a lot of dirt that still needs to be moved to conceal the wall.

To give you an example, since we obviously don’t cane the kids to discipline them (which is still the method used by many of the teachers here, though we have found some who don’t approve of it), we need to have another method of punishment when they misbehave. After a warning or two, Avy has the kid stand at the front of the room facing the wall for about a minute (or longer if they don’t stand still). At one point, we had two kids standing about 3’ apart, and one was smacking the other on the head with an eraser while that kid tried to do what he was supposed to be doing and not move. I took the eraser and moved them farther apart, putting the hitter in front of the board. Next thing I knew, I looked back and the kid was wiping the math homework off of the board with his face. Seriously?? I’m not proud to admit it, but after that, I started losing patience and motivation and basically shut down. Major props to Avy who battled through it and kept teaching.

When we hit lunchtime, both of us were mentally and emotionally drained. We put some exercises on the board and told the kids we weren’t coming back after lunch because they were behaving so poorly. There was only one thing that could even begin to make us feel better, and that was Fan Ice (ice cream!), so we picked some up on the way home and tried to forget how much we felt like failures.

“After” picture for the day. I pushed the front wall out and added dirt in the front and finished the dirt hill and gutter on the side.

I didn’t feel too bad about not going back to school because I headed to the farm in the afternoon to do more work on the poop hole (aka the pig poop to farm fertilizer converter). After finishing the roof last week, I figured it would be a good idea to ride out that momentum and try to just finish it for good. The only thing left to do is basically the landscaping around the hole. I need to fill in dirt behind all of the walls, slope it away from the hole for rain drainage, and put in a gutter. Also, one of the walls started collapsing, so the most unpleasant task of the day was to get into the hole to add a new support for the wall. That was made infinitely more unpleasant by the fact that there’s already poop in the hole, and of course it was directly in front of the wall I needed to get to. If you had told me even one day ago that I would find myself calf-deep in pig poop, I would have laughed in your face. I’m not laughing anymore. It was disgusting. I probably set a breath-holding world record because I don’t remember inhaling a single time while I was in there.

Grossness aside, it was a very productive work session. I finished 1 ½ sides of the hole which means I have 2 ½ left, plus I’ll never have to get back into the actual poop again. If that’s not something to be celebrated, I don’t know what is!

Back to the Poop Hole

 

Anna carrying some branches

Our farm numbers were back down today; only Anna and I went. We were rewarded with a morning of carrying massive palm branches from a nearby farm to ours. The pig house roof is made from palm branches, and it broke in a couple places. We cut new branches (by “we cut” I mean John and Anthony cut and Anna and I carried) to replace the ones that were crumbling. I was just happy to have something new to do, and it was a fun challenge to carry the branches without toppling over or running into anything. Plus, the actual labor wasn’t very hard which was a nice change from hoeing.

Measuring the boys

After breakfast, I took a trip to Baptist to see some of the kids getting measured for new uniforms. Avy is using some of her donated money to replace the uniforms of some kids whose are in bad condition and whose families aren’t able to afford new ones. I don’t know that the kids understood what was going on, but I can’t wait to see their reactions when they get their new uniforms!

Working hard

I didn’t spend the whole morning at the school as usual because Joe and James were taking cement to the clinic and asked me to come along and help. Turned out that they really didn’t need help because you only need two people to pull/push a cart with five cement bags on it. Joe told me to get on the cart too, and I thought he was kidding until he stopped walking and insisted. Well okay, I’m not going to refuse a ride if it’s repeatedly offered. I got on, and he and James took me the whole way there. I don’t think the people in town had seen anything like it before because they were all laughing and taking pictures. Joe started calling me Princess Lara, and I’m a little worried that it’s going to stick.

We dropped the bags off, and I feel like I made up for my ride there because I pulled the cart most of the way back to the market and insisted that James ride for part because he was whining about being tired from the malaria (but then refused to take it easy, so what can you do?).

If you were wondering how John managed to nail the roof in the middle of the poop hole…

I took it easy for a couple hours after lunch because it’s so incredibly hot, and around 3PM, John stopped by to pick me up and walk over to the farm. I decided that I couldn’t keep procrastinating on this poop hole roof, especially since it’s been raining and the hole is just going to keep getting wetter (the hole is to turn the pig poop into fertilizer for the farm). Really, it’s stupid that I’d been putting it off because I didn’t even need to build the roof. John and Anthony built it, and I just had to supervise and make sure they did what we wanted.

Presenting: the most fabulous poop hole roof ever!

We fixed the last two columns in place, added the beams to support the roof, and put on the roofing material. I can now confidently say that this is the most beautiful and intense poop hole in all of Ghana (*disclaimer* this statement is pure speculation. But really, how much competition can there be?). The whole thing took maybe an hour and a half, and after seeing the construction in action, I’m positive that having them do it was the right choice (even if it wasn’t totally intentional). John took about three hammer swings to do what would have taken us ten, and I’m pretty sure that we wouldn’t have been able to manage parts of it. Anyway, it’s finished now, and I’m happy for that. All that’s left is to finish filling in the dirt around the walls… ehh that’s a project for another day!

Orphanage Donation Day

 

Amber shucking corn for the last time 😦

We had a really cool day!! Amber, Nico, and I took a food donation to the orphanage, and it was awesome to get to see the payoff from our work.

Our trip to the farm this morning was bittersweet because it was Amber’s last day, but we were getting the food together for the donation. We spent part of the time shucking more corn and the other part picking some eggplants. After everything was assembled, we had to take it out to the street which is easier said than done when you’re coming from a farm that’s probably a 25 minute walk from the street.

Me and Amber with Joe (the photographer clearly struggled with the frame a little)

Nico took one sack of corn in the wheelbarrow, John carried the sack of eggplants on his head, Anthony (another one of the local farmers that works with us) carried another sack of corn on his head, and they made a mini sack of corn for me. Amber offered moral support and carried the eggplant bag for part of the walk. I was carrying my sack in my arms until Anthony shook his head and told me to put it on my head. Learning how to carry things on my head is on my to do list, so I felt like I had to try. I think I did okay! It was a little uncomfortable because corn cobs were digging into my skull, but that’s just because I didn’t have anything to use as a cushion. People usually coil up towels or other fabric pieces and put them between their heads and whatever they’re carrying. By the end, I could even walk a little distance without using my hands. Woo! I’m not going to be carrying water on my head anytime soon, but it’s a start! (I was feeling inspired and actually tried carrying some water with no hands this afternoon… It did not go well.)

We left the sacks by the side of the road for a couple hours while we ate breakfast and got ready to go to the orphanage and just trusted that no one would touch them. Apparently, having someone steal your food from the side of the busiest road in the village is not something you need to worry about. Sure enough, we caught a tro by our house, and when we drove down the street to where we left the stuff, it was all still there.

The tro dropped us off in Asikuma, the town where the orphanage is, and we still had probably a 15 minute walk to get there. Joe called one of the guys who works there, he came on his motorcycle and rounded up three other guys with motorcycles, and they all took one bag of food in front of them and one of us behind. My first motorcycle ride! Let’s just pretend that we all had helmets on.

School with no walls = cool until there’s rain or wind or you’re trying to get a bunch of kids to focus. Great for air circulation though!

One of the classrooms. They have whiteboards!!

We thought it was funny that it seemed like as the kids got older, they had less and less walls. This is the oldest class… So no walls.

You can see the very beginnings of the new school in the grass on the left side of the picture. They were just starting when we were there, so mostly they had people making the blocks that they’re going to use to build the walls.

After handing over the food, we checked out the primary school that’s right next door. It’s really cool! The school just started this year, so they’re using a temporary structure while the permanent one is under construction. They said that as long as they have a steady stream of funding, the project will take two years total. This is the only school in the area, so all the kids who go there now either didn’t go to school before or had to travel to the next town to get there (probably getting there by walking, and the towns aren’t that close together). It was fun to see another school, and it felt like there was such a good energy there. Obviously we were only there for a few minutes, but the teachers seemed passionate and the kids were engaged. Whoa.

We worked on the hole (to store the pig poop and convert it into fertilizer for the farm) a little more in the afternoon, and Isabel came along again to help. It’s so nice to have extra hands!! Oh yeah, as you can see, Isabel didn’t leave today. Apparently now she’s going on Monday. At least we can put off another goodbye for a few more days! We didn’t make as much progress on the hole as we had hoped, but isn’t that what always happens? We should have known.

This is Amber’s last night, so we’re having a bonfire (of course) to celebrate. How did 6 weeks go by so quickly?? Ah! That reminds me! Originally, I was planning on doing agriculture for 6 weeks and construction for 6 weeks during my time here, but I’ve changed my mind. I would have to switch to Gold to do construction, and as you know, they have a lot of lizards and snakes there. But actually, I’ve decided to stay here because I really like the village, and I love being able to work on the farm and teach and help out with whatever projects the other volunteers have going on. I feel like I have some momentum here, and it seems stupid to interrupt that and move just because of a decision I made before I really understood what I was getting myself into. So yeah… In conclusion, I’m not moving, and time to get ready for Amber’s bonfire party!

Goodbye Tolu

 

Can you spot the eggplants? So many weeds.

Happy goodbye week! Tolu left today, so now we’re down to six of us in the house. There’s still enough going on that you can kind of look past the fact that people are leaving, but I know that won’t last much longer. It’s just a matter of days before the house is practically empty.

Look at our pumpkin plant!!!

The morning started off with hoeing, so I could already tell that it wasn’t going to be a great day. We were back to doing the first field that we did our very first week here, but the weeds this time were even more intense. I seriously can’t believe that I once said shucking corn was worse than hoeing. I must have been delusional! Hoeing is the actual worst because at the end, your back aches, you feel like you barely covered any ground, and you can practically already see the weeds growing back.

It’s a work in progress…

Nico and I stayed late to start installing things in the hole! It’s exciting to do something besides digging, and this part is fun because it’s so much easier to see progress. We put three of the walls in so far, and I think we have a plan for how the roof and the roof supports are going to work. All I can say is, the finished product is definitely not going to be pretty or elegant, but it will be the prettiest poop hole (it’s to convert the farm’s pig poop into fertilizer) in all of Ghana. Hm… that’s kind of a bold claim. I can guarantee that it’ll at least be the prettiest poop hole in all of Frankadua and potentially Ghana and who knows maybe even West Africa.

Nico flirting with the pigs

Tolu left after lunch, and instead of a tro, some businessman in a shiny car (that probably even had working air conditioning!) pulled over and agreed to take him to the airport for only a little more than it would have cost in a tro. Whatttt?!?!? Joe said that sometimes random people will pick up passengers to help pay for gas on longer trips. So basically Tolu hitchhiked to Accra. After Joe explained it, we all kind of looked at him like, “what? Are you sure he’s going to be okay?”, and Joe said, “it’s fine, I could tell the man was good.” Hm. Okay. We have a lot of T.I.A. (This Is Africa) moments here. Basically anytime something happens that is so beyond our realm of comprehension that we have no response, we just say “T.I.A.” and accept it.

Front – Avy, Tolu, Isabel Back – Nico, Amber, me

To continue the happiness and good feelings (sarcasm) that were going on when we got back inside the house, Isabel chose that moment to tell us that she’s leaving tomorrow to go to the Gold program because she wants to do childcare, and we don’t have that here. I spent about half an hour trying to convince her through songs that she should stay (aka I searched “stay” on my phone and played every song that has it in the title) before accepting defeat and the next half hour telling her that Gold has more lizards and spiders and snakes and that they have to carry their shower water half an hour from the well (all true statements). So I guess the leaving parade will continue tomorrow. Ugh.