Weekend #3 and next Monday: Bittersweet time in Kumasi

After a very eventful Friday, I was able to sleep in a bit until 7:15 a.m., got up and ready to walk to church where I would meet Alex and her host family again. This time, I walked alone. Along the way, there were the usual people outside running their shack convenient stores and/or areas where their stands were set up selling food, etc. By this time, they were very familiar, recognized and acknowledged me. Their normal greeting would be in Twi "woho te sen" (spelt differently) but they ask how I was doing and my response was either "eye" or "eye bokoo," meaning I'm fine or I'm doing cool. They always got a huge kick out of Americans responding in Twi since it's their native language. I actually thought it was fairly easy learning the language, plus  it made them laugh and smile every time :) Anyways, back to walking... I would greet those people along the way, but there was this one little girl (about 3 or 4 years old) who would always be there at the corner of my street (a busy one), which it intersects. She would yell "Obruni!!!" (meaning white skinned individual) at the top of her lungs so I would acknowledge her. She would run up and have nothing else to say, but would want to touch my hands, arms, bracelets and just a hug. I wish I had caught a picture of this precious girl, but I was never sure who or where or parents were to ask for permission. I still have a very vivid memory of this little one that I know will stay for a while.

I crossed the busy street with no problem at all and I was just outside the church metal gate and there was a drunk man walking around. I wasn't nervous or scared, but knew I had to be just a little cautious, but just continue on my way. He approached me, mumbling something rather and I just responded with "No, no..." as I stepped to walk around him, he grabbed the middle of my arm and my first reaction was to rip my arm away, yell "No!!" and scurry my way in. I knew people were watching, the guy was probably a "regular" but I actually think they were curious as to what my reaction would be. 

I entered the church property and he stayed on the outside, so I was okay. That was probably the only time I was ever a little insecure, granted, I was by myself, but oh well.
Alex and I had already arranged to help Alex's host mother, Jackie, in the nursery. This was soo much fun!! 
Jackie's daughter, Salty!

(A few photos taken from Alex Page)
The kids were adorable in their little church outfits, aging around 3-5 years, boys/girls and twins!! We took our pictures, head to the back of the room so we wouldn't disturb their corny 90's Christian sing alongs, and observed the kids reactions to each song. What do you know? Here comes twin little boys (about age 3), matching from head to toe, latch onto my hands and follow me to my seat. 
The twin boys :)

I pick one up, sit him on my lap and the other stands at my legs and plays with my bracelet. All of a sudden they both start fighting over my bracelet! It was too funny and Alex is cracking up. Soon enough, Alex grabs the little one standing and holds him. The music from the sing alongs out the one in my arms to sleep... and I mean OUT for at least the next 30 minutes. 

The twin's mother came pick-up her boys and were on their way abouts the day. From that moment, it was too surreal holding the little one and thinking of my future adopted niece & nephew from Ethiopia. 

My host brother, Dennis, came and picked me up and both went to another side of Kumasi where George, another host brother worked at a small, but nice convenient store, which they call a market. We traveled by tro-tro to the Kejetia Market (remember, the crazy one) and took a taxi from there. 
George's market


We arrived and George shows us around until it is time to leave for my class dinner at my professor, Dacosta's house. Dennis took me to one of the public tro-tro stations called Sofoline. This is one of the busiest stations in Kumasi and pretty much a huge cluster! I was meeting Alex, Tiona and my roommate Mandy and luckily found them as soon as we unloaded off the tro-tro. From there, the four of us traveled to two other stations to meet up with more of my classmates. (This was quite a process that took about an hour or so to finally arrive in my professor's part of Kumasi) We loaded into the tro-tro and were on our way, but had quite a ride. 
I sat right next to the door in the tro-tro... that never really shut. We came across some complications, getting off at the wrong stop,etc. Finally met up with the rest of our class and took another tro-tro to our professor's neighborhood. On the way, this tro-tro started smoking. By this time, you just had to laugh and we walked the rest of the way (Taking a "fun-cut" to the house.) Dinner wasn't quite ready, so everyone joined in and helped cook/cut the fruit until it was all ready. We had half American, half African meal that was delicious!

I thought American's fried everything they could think of, but never seen this before!
Fried deviled eggs

We all had a fun-filled evening playing games, watching a movie and kicking around a soccer ball with Dacosta's nephew! 

Sunday came too soon and was one of those days I didn't want to see come because it was the last whole day I had to spend with my host family. Unfortunately, when I woke up and got around, my host family was away, but told me they would be back in the afternoon, so I walked to meet Alex and her host father (also named Dacosta) to a hidden market by the Tafo station (very close to both our houses). We went to buy some fruits and veggies and saw some crazy stuff!! Such as...
Massive Escargot anyone??

As well as meeting some of the friendliest women who were more than delighted to meet us...

I walked home when I received a text from my host brothers notifying me they arrived home. We hung out and talked all afternoon, played a little futbol with a small ball and I introduced some American music from my iPhone. 
My host parents and daughter Gloria arrived with Mandy and my dinner. Every night, we ate by ourselves because it is not polite in the African culture to eat at the same time or before their guests. I politely asked the whole family to join us since there was enough and they did. Not long after we finished eating, my host father sent George and Dennis to buy something and told me to phone Alex to join us. Alex made her way with our friend Kwesi and made it on time when everyone was back at the table. We had an assortment of drinks and small candy to pass around the table at the same time sharing laughs from what the past two weeks brought. Our host family presented us with several gifts ( beautiful jewelry and kente cloths). This is usually what is part of their customs. (Guests bring a gift when they first arrive and hostess give a gift to the guest when they depart.) The night was getting late and our taxi was schedule to pick us up from our house at 5:30 a.m. so we snapped a few pictures.
My whole host family: Gloria, Evalyn, Mandy, George, Osei, myself, Dennis and Joe
Monday morning was hard to wake up to. I was so fortunate to have lived with this caring family for two weeks who opened up their home and life to us. It was a bittersweet moment getting in the taxi knowing I might not see them again, but the possibility is still there. I was very blessed. 
The class met at the same location where we had class, loaded the tro-tro deluxe (similar to U.S. charter bus) and on we were to the largest waterfall in West Africa called the Wli Waterfall. This was a very long day of driving, but it was such pretty scenery. There was much to look at along the way.

Small village we passed through

We finally arrive, changed into our swim suit and begin our 45 minute hike around the mountains to reach the most phenomenal sight I've ever seen.

We made it to the falls and we were in absolute amazement. I took a million pictures, but they don't do quite the justice of the actual experience.

We even got in for a swim!

We came in from the water and had a tasty dinner that Dr. Bass made: peanut butter sandwiches/ham and cheese  sandwiches, an apple and cookies. We finished our time at the falls, hiked back and barely made it in the dark. We said our good byes to Kokroko, Dacosta and Frank (Dacosta's Teacher's Assistant...more about him later) and were on our way to the Togo boarder. It was (or seemed like) a long drive. We made it to the boarder and had to unload our luggage, walk it across to another small tro-tro and were on our way to Kplalime, Togo where we would begin our stay. Alex and I stayed in a room together and crashed immediately as unlocked our hotel door.

More to come for my next blog post about my stay in Togo, Africa!


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