Friday, November 7, 2008

Village life

Village life is quite interesting.

Sister Juliana lied. They do have electricity at her family’s house. They don’t have running water, but I’m used to that. Their bathroom consists of two little rooms. The room for the toilet doesn’t even have a door handle. There’s a nail inside that you turn to hold the door closed. The other little room is just has a drain in the middle of the tiled floor. That’s where you shower, if you can get water. Their water comes from a pump a little ways away from their house. They have to fetch water from the pump bucket by bucket and bring it back to the house for every purpose: bathing, drinking, cooking, cleaning, etc. Oh, speaking of cooking... their kitchen barely looks like a kitchen. It’s just a room with dishes, pots, and pans piled in the corner. There is a little stove with two burners in another corner and a bucket of water next to the door. That’s about it. Their freezer is in the boys’ room, and the refrigerator is in the living room. They prepare food sitting on a stool with the bowls on the floor. So village!

Other than that... the house is nice. They have a living room/dining room with a TV, two couches and two armchairs, and a table with chairs. There are six bedrooms, I think, filled with beds, beds, beds. I’m not sure how many people live there all the time and how many were visiting, but it was definitely a full house. Sister Juliana has four younger sisters and two younger brothers, and most of them have kids, and some of them still live at their parents’ house. One sister has five kids, ages 15 to 1, who live there permanently. It was crazy, but so much fun being in a house with so many people!

Sister Juliana took me with her to run some errands in the nearby city of Obuasi. Obuasi is a gold-mining town. It was different from anywhere I’ve been, but somehow, with its hilly, narrow streets and shabby buildings, it reminded me a little of some European port towns I’ve been to, like an African version of Honfleur or Porto except without boats and surrounded by hills covered with banana trees. There was something about Obuasi’s character that I really like. Someday, I will find words to describe everything.

I’m really glad I don’t live in the village. It’s nice, but I would be really bored. All they really do at night is watch TV or talk. I don’t like TV. I do like talking, however, but most of their conversations were in Twi. I can say a few phrases in Twi, but not enough to carry on a conversation. Oh, but you wouldn’t believe how excited Ghanians become when I say something in Twi! They laugh a big, joyous laugh, and sometimes clap their hands. My speaking Twi, the little bit that I know, is such a big deal to them. I really want to learn more Twi, so I can make the Ghanians I meet even happier.

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