4/14 – I’m a Lobster

Morning dawned with a feast of a breakfast, as is customary at the Dzokotoe’s house, at least when they have guests. It was like my dream come true. Michelle, Becca, and I ate to our hearts content together, until Michelle had to leave to continue her work at the market–she is shadowing a woman for the entirety of her work day selling kitchen utensils, to see what it’s like to have her profession. There is a lot of documenting and reflection going on after hours on this process, and Michelle is doing awesomely.

Becca and I decided to head for the pool! As a swimmer coming from a swimming family, she is really reminding me of my “youth,” when I worked out for 5 hours a day in the pool. Bringin’ back the memories!

We packed a lunch in a small little cooler, grabbed a taxi at the nearby station, and headed on our way to the VRA swimming pool for a day of relaxation. It was good to be on break, although I kept thinking of Tabi working her butt off at the hospital all by herself! We sunbathed for a bit, tried to avoid the creepy dudes trying to get our numbers, read, jumped in the (nasty) pool and enjoyed the cool water for a while, and jumped back out to dry off on our mats. We watched the pool get more and more crowded, and were super entertained by adults trying to swim who didn’t really know how to swim. It was a little mean, but both being from swim teams, we couldn’t help chuckling.

Lying by the side of the pool in the grass, I was engrossed in a John Piper book and the Bradt Ghana Guide, and didn’t notice that the sun was baking me a nice lobster red. It had been probably a full two hours I had been lying there in the sun! And I hate being sunburnt, mostly because it’s so unhealthy! Skin cancer risk factor x10! I felt like such a hypocrite for always getting on Austin for not wearing sunscreen. Bleargh. It stings like all heck.

It was around 3:30 by the time we got back to the Dzokotoe’s compound, and it was about time that I bought my STC bus ticket for Kumasi! Luckily, I had called Big Man about my stay at his house, and it turns out that he will be in Tamale also, and is heading down on Monday as well! We would travel together on the STC bus and I won’t be a lone, frightened obruni in Kumasi, trying to find my way haphazardly to his house.

Becca came with me to the STC station in town in Tamale–we took a taxi to the middle of town and then walked the rest of the way, almost getting run over several times by the crazy Tamale drivers. A random dude noticed we looked a little lost, and showed us the way to the station, and even spoke Dagbani for us at the ticket window! People in the North are just wonderful like that.

On the way back, we stopped by Colwod, the batik and tie and die seamstress shop that rescues abandoned women. We got some lovely gifts for our people back at home, and then headed back toward the taxi stop. Going there, we tried to flag down a tractor (they just drive down the street here) for Becca to hijack and ride. It’s her goal to one day ride a tractor down a road in Tamale, we’ve just got to find an unsuspecting driver one of these days!

Back at the walled compound, Bob, Jean, Dan, and Di were going out for an anniversary celebration dinner, and us girls got to cook and eat hot dogs and grilled cheese together. So American and so good! Y’all know I can eat those things till there’s no tomorrow! Dzifa made us laugh the whole way through dinner with her antics, but in between, Michelle got to tell us a tiny bit of the story of she and her boyfriend. They had known each other since they were kids, from sitting on the same church pew together. They have recently been teaching Bible studies together. Can you saw, AWWWwww? This night, they were celebrating their one year dating anniversary with a nice long skype conversation. So sweet. It really made me miss Austin even more, as though that were possible. It’s been rough being away from him for so long. I haven’t even seen his face on skype–only talked on the phone.

While Michelle went off to her skype date, Becca, Dzifa, and I played cards together–something I hadn’t done in a very long time! I learned Skipbo, and saw some of Becca’s magic tricks; it was all around good fun to be with both of them, laughing and joking.

After the “adults,” I.e. those over 50, got home from dinner, Dzifa was sent to bathe and go to bed, so Becca and I also retired for the night. The sun at the VRA pool had wiped us out! I just lay in bed talking with Austin on the phone, which was so encouraging. I got to talk to him about everything that had been going on at the hospital recently–all the medical complications and tragedies that occurred. It really gave me a lot of peace to talk it out with him and hear what he had to say. I can’t wait till I’m back with him.

Slowly but surely I’m making my way there! The next stop is Kumasi, where I’ll stay at Big Man’s house for two nights to see his church and his school, and to see the Cultural Center. Then I’ll be heading down to Cape Coast via Metro Mass bus (the worst transit experience in Ghana, I’m told), and spending four nights there, soaking up the beach, Cape Coast Castle, and Elmina Castle. The next stop on the itinerary is Accra, at the Baptist Guest House, from which I will be going to the Accra airport, to fly on my way home!

That’s the update for now. Thanks for following along again,

-ATP

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