Day 06

Today was the first day that the students used their cameras! Since it is Monday I have class with grade 5, and thankfully they were much better behaved than they were the last time I taught them. I passed out the cameras and numbered them with a Sharpie marker, though I noticed while I did this that I only counted 14 cameras, not 15. This obviously is pretty upsetting, though also confusing because I am not sure who is to blame in this situation. I had counted the cameras in my bag before I left for the Philadelphia airport and know that I had 15 at the time, though I stupidly have not counted them since (until now). For this reason, I cannot be sure if somehow the camera was lost in transit (though I'm not sure how that would happen), or if someone took it out of my bag at some point. I looked all around my room and could not find it, and also asked around to no avail, so unfortunately I don't know that there is much that I can do in this situation. Obviously I am going to keep a very close eye on the 14 cameras I have left, as well as continue to look for the missing camera, though I feel very badly that essentially $100 of my friends' and family's generously donated money has gone to waste. (I'm sorry guys!)

Camera tragedy aside, it was a great class and the kids were so excited to get their hands on the cameras. While I had originally intended to show them what all of the camera settings mean, the camera safety lessons (how to hold it, how to clean it, how to put it away) took much longer than I had anticipated so we will have to save the settings lesson for next class. Tomorrow and Wednesday I will have classes 6 and 7 and I am really hoping that I am able to go over the settings with them, as I will not see them on Friday (Friday is Republic Day, a national holiday in Ghana). 

After my class ended at 8AM, I gathered the materials I would need to go to the immigration office (my passport, a letter from the school, my plane tickets) and went with Hayford, a teacher here, towards the Ghana immigration office. Hayford needed to run an errand across the street from the office at the Ghana Broadcast Company, where the kids and I will visit for a field trip later in July. On the way to the tro tro, I saw a chicken crossing the road which I thought was pretty funny. 

Hayford and I had an interesting conversation on the tro tro ride about President Obama. Hayford told me that Obama did not meet his expectations as President, so I asked why. Though I assumed that Hayford would mention his effect on the economy, or perhaps his foreign relations, Hayford instead remarked that he thought Obama represented Africa and that his acceptance of gay marriage was not okay because it was "forcing it onto them (aka Ghana) as well." I was very confused by this. I do not think in any way that a law that is made in America should have any effect on laws made in Ghana. In fact, if it did, I think this would be a good thing, and not a bad thing. Hayford also commented that he thinks rules should stay the same (i.e. gay marriage was not legal before, so it should still not be). I responded to this by explaining to him that with time comes education, and with education must come change. For example, black and white were not always equal in America. Though obviously this was not and will never be okay, this was not something that lawmakers acted on until half a century ago and, as a result, the laws needed to be changed. I told Hayford that if the laws had stayed the same slavery would still be legal, and that clearly isn't ok! I don't think that Hayford agreed with me (about the gay marriage stuff), but thankfully he agreed to disagree and did not argue his point anymore. 

We got to the immigration office shortly after, and Hayford and I parted ways. As expected, the immigration office was filled with totally incompetent employees (as most government offices are). It took me a while to get my application back from the desk, and in this time I became friends with Sarah, another Obroni who had immigrated to Ghana 5 years ago from Copenhagen, Denmark. Sarah told me that she thinks the immigration office lost her passport, which is obviously something I did not want to hear. She also gave me a list of some places to visit in Ghana, which I am hoping to do in my vacation time from school (*spoiler alert: one of the destinations is a monkey sanctuary!!). When it came time to pay for my upgraded visa, the office tried to charge me double what the visa actually cost, and after this was remedied I saw that the woman at the cashier's desk was full-on sleeping. When I said "Hello?" and woke her up, she looked at me like I was the one that had done something wrong. Lovely. After about an hour I was able to leave with a slip that asked me to come back in two weeks and fetch my passport. Fingers crossed that it doesn't get lost, huh? 

Outside of the GBC. This is the first time in a while that I've seen trees!

Outside of the GBC. This is the first time in a while that I've seen trees!

I bought a mango for a snack and then crossed the street to meet Hayford outside of GBC. We caught a tro tro to Circle, which felt a lot like the village (?) in Mad Max: Fury Road. By that, I mean that this part of town was a total post-apocalyptic-looking dust bowl. What's more, while walking through Circle to try and catch our next tro tro, a local man tried to grab my arm in order to get my attention. This had already happened to me earlier in the day (and I hate when strangers touch me), so I had no patience for this. I asked him to stop and then, as we walked away, I expressed to Hayford that this was so not okay that this man thought it appropriate to grab me like that. I did not really enjoy Hayford's response to this, as he insinuated that if I was more careful and more safe that this would not happen to me. (For the record, if someone else does something to you. You are not to blame for their actions!) I was a little mad that he said this, but didn't push him on it. I've learned here that it really makes no sense to argue about these things as, at the end of the day, I will still be strong in my opinion as they will be strong in theirs. 

We got back to the school and had a delicious lunch of rice in fish sauce topped with a fried egg. The way that they fry their eggs here is not the way that we usually think of it (sunny side up, over medium, etc.) but it is actually sort of a thin omelette with flour mixed into the batter. It looked differently than I had ever seen eggs prepared, but it did taste pretty good. 

After lunch I took a nice long nap, and then I took my laundry down from the clotheslines, played with the kids, and ran some errands. After I got back from a nearby store, I hung out with some of the students and we started talking about Americans that they knew (Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, etc.) I learned that, like Hayford, the kids were not fans of Obama. In fact, they actually went so far as to call him the antichrist. I asked them what they meant by this and why they thought this, and they told me that he had a "third eye on his hand" and was also part of the "666 group." I didn't really know what they meant by either of these things or why they would think this, and honestly they did not seem to know either. I asked again and again why they thought these things and they could offer me no explanation. Apparently Hannah Montana is the antichrist as well. I was really saddened to hear these things from the kids but, like before, it was pointless to have the conversation. I tried my best to explain to them that Obama is actually a pretty cool guy, but they didn't want to hear it. 

Ella, Adeline, and Comfort strike a pose. 

Ella, Adeline, and Comfort strike a pose. 

The kids asked me many other questions about America and eventually asked me if they could see my camera. I brought it out and the kids had a great time posing and learning how to take pictures of each other. I took a bunch of pictures and made many new friends (as all of the kids flocked over as soon as they saw my camera). 

After hanging out with the kids for a while, Mariana and I walked so she could get corn on the cob from a nearby vendor. I ate a peanut butter and nutella sandwich for dinner, and the kids had oatmeal. As we ate, the power went out. Again. This was a major bummer because my laptop was only at 2% and I really wanted to post my Day 5 blog post. Weirdly enough, though the entire town has no power during these black outs, the school cares so much about having church (on Mondays??) that they have a generator they use specifically during church services. Since church services are held in the school, this meant I was able to hang out in the library--the room next to the service--and charge my laptop and hot spot. Mariana sat with me and we discussed how the absence of something (in this case, electricity) made us appreciate it so much more when we actually had it. I mean, how many times have I ever appreciated how lucky I was to have electricity in my home in Philadelphia? I'm going to take a wild guess and say never. Honestly, the only feelings I ever had about my electricity were how expensive my PECO bills were, but certainly not that I was lucky to never have to worry about whether I would or wouldn't have power that day. 

After their service was over (and I was handed a Christian Women magazine--yippee), Emmanuella, Peace and Alice came into the library and read to me from children's books. Though I do think Peace may have a slight mental disability, she is really an excellent reader for her age. Around 9PM I went back to the apartment to "shower" and, thankfully, the lights came back on just as I was about to hop in. The girls and I all cheered and I fell asleep really appreciating how not sweaty I was for the first time in a week.