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Volume 100, Number 3



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The dust gets in your blood (continued)

Author and children in Ghana

Courtesy of Melissa Paolangeli '09

Wherever we went, the kids were outgoing and eager to make new friends. These boys live in a village outside of Ho that I visited for a day.

January 24 (Day 16)

Today we split into groups and spent the day with families in villages outside of Ho. The purpose of the day was to observe how people live and perform day to day duties in a village — as individuals and as a community. The moment my group arrived at our village, we were greeted with cries of “Akwaaba!” or “you are welcome!” Spending time in the village may be my favorite experience so far. They took us on a tour of various farm functions, showing us how they distill palm wine, make honey, and produce palm oil. A funeral was being observed so no one was working that day, but because everyone was gathered in one central location, we were able to get a good idea of the close knit community of village life. When we first arrived they set out chairs for us and the whole village sat and stared at us for a little while, then began to ask us questions through the translations of our Ghanaian associate, Nathan. A woman handed me her baby, whom I’m guessing was no more than six months old, and I held her until she fell asleep.

    

The kids, like all the other children we’ve met, were fascinated with the cameras, and became quite animated once we brought our cameras out. Once again I was struck with how very real village life is. It is so refreshing to see people going about their ordinary lives with their families — without blackberries or laptops or schedules. Just living, with none of the impositions of the outside world that appear even in the cities of Ghana. I’m not saying that I would be comfortable living like that — I rather like my cell phone and Facebook. But the simplicity of how they live is fascinating and refreshing.

January 27 (Day 19)

This trip has been an indescribably time of growth and discovery for me. I lived a completely different life for three weeks — eating new and sometimes unappetizing food, experiencing a culture through not only language but also accent barriers, adjusting from life in one of the world’s richest nations to that of a third world developing country, forcing myself in every way to step out of what I know and am comfortable with — and am leaving with fond and irreplaceable memories. Even though I don’t completely understand it, Ghana will always hold a special place in my heart. Just as Abby predicted, the red dust has indeed worked its way through my blood, and I know it will stay with me wherever I go.  

 

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