Monthly Archives: August 2012

In Seven Days

I suppose I’ll take the afternoon off work, go back to my room and pack.

The 12-15 kids who live in my compound might join me. They are likely to make that process more challenging by touching just about everything I own. I’m going to miss hearing them shout various pronouncements of ‘David’ at me everyday after work. Their dance routines outside my room door were continual sources of amusement during the summer.

As for my bike, I’m still not sure what I’ll do with it.

I might give it to Kareem, who has been my best friend this summer. On my first week in Gushie, I braved a walk through the village after work. Kareem seemed to drift out of his house to greet me. For the following 2-hours he taught me dozens of dagbani sayings (which I promptly forgot). That evening, he came by my room to take me to meet his group. In September, Kareem will leave Gushie to go back to school in Pong-Tamale. That is a 1-hour bike ride from here. So I suppose he will need a bike.

I think I’ll ask Issahaku to pick me up on his way back from the office.

Since I started working here, I have spent most of my days in the OMOA office speaking with Issahaku, Amin or Mohammad. If I was having a slow day and letting myself rot away in that office, one of them would always come in and ask me about anything and everything. From extension work to Canadian culture; from Canadian culture to human life expectancy; from human life expectancy to polygamy. We somehow managed to bridge the gap between each subject.

He should leave for Tamale at around 4:00 p.m.

That’s about the time the men of the village gather on that bench under the tree by my compound. Everyday after work I biked home, rolled to a stop near them and shouted ‘enteree’. They usually only responded ‘nahhh’, but every now and again they would test my dagbani skills by adding a different greeting. To that, I would usually have to respond with either ‘allafi biena’ or ‘gwom bien’. I got better at figuring out these responses as time went on. Sometimes I would use a different greeting with them to try and catch them off-guard – it never worked.

After we leave Gushie, Issahaku and I will pass through Savelugu.

I met Mohammed on my second Saturday in Ghana. That day, I took a tro-tro to Savelugu in order to find a tailor, buy a bike and get a hair cut. I saw a barber shop as the tro rolled to a stop in Savelugu, so I went there first. After that, I asked one of the fellows in the shop if he knew a tailor. Mohammed then rose up and offered me a moto ride to find one. While I did turn down the moto ride (since I am only allowed one if I have a helmet), Mohammed was not deterred (confused though he was). He walked with me to meet his tailor. And then to buy a bike. And then to get my bike tuned up. After that, I ran out of money. So he went with me to Tamale to visit Barkley’s bank. About 6 hours after we met, Mohammed brought me to the Savelugu taxi stand and said his farewell. He didn’t ask for money (as I had expected); he didn’t even ask for my number. My next time in Savelugu I made sure I got Mohammed’s number. I’ll give him a few calls when I’m back in St. John’s.

I’ll stay in Tamale that evening.

I’ll give Fuzzy and Jamal a call when I’m there. My Tamale friends have been calling me regularly since I met them – always to greet me and ask when I would be back in Tamale. Maybe I’ll be able to say goodbye to them in person.

This picture displays the fine work of my tailor and barber.




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