Of Dinner Parties, Godchildren, and the Rising Temperature

This past weekend, I spent half my time in Atomic Down and the other half in Adenta. On Friday, I had invited my friend Justin Grinstead, who also lived in Currier House at Harvard, to dinner at the house. I was so proud of myself for being able to give him directions based on the amount of times I had been in the vehicle with George on the journey home. It’s a bit complicated and involves roundabouts and roads that are kind of roads, maybe once upon a time were roads and are now trying to be roads again. When I put up photos, that sentence will make sense. I did not know this at the time, but Justin is working with a man named Andrew, who also went to Harvard. He was a tutor in Lowell House and graduated from the Kennedy School not so long ago. So George, being the ever gracious host, invited Andrew to stay for dinner too, since Andrew had driven Justin the hour it took them to get there in the crazy Ghanaian traffic of a Friday evening. Mrs. Baiden had set a lovely dinner table, complete with beautiful dishware and chairs. The menu was jollof rice, fried chicken, salad, and broccoli (the Baidens love their vegetables). It was a really great time and everyone was there, including Ekua’s fiancé. There were so many good laughs that I would not even know where to begin to retell the story. I think sometimes the best memories are those that clump together into a ball of happiness in which we cannot untangle the mass bundle of joy. I do remember George being the life of the party and telling many stories of his extensive travels (George has been to close to 60 countries!). He was joking that they were making me eat tons of food because every Ghanaian woman had some layer of “chubby” on her and that she also required a “license plate.” At that, everyone could not stop laughing to hear George refer to a woman’s behind as a “license plate.” I told him I would dutifully eat and work on getting my international driver’s license. I think perhaps Justin and Andrew were a bit overwhelmed with the family setting since they live the bachelor life in Ghana, but overwhelmed in a good way. They certainly were liked, and everyone hopes they come back in the future. George wants us to make them palm soup and surprise them by dropping it off where they stay.

On Saturday my old neighbor and dear friend Akua came back to Adenta for a visit. She was pregnant when I left Ghana last time, and had told me she would name me the baby’s godmother. I was surprised when I saw her and she told me that she also gave the baby my last name as part of his name. The baby is now two months shy of his 2nd birthday and is named Kwame. He has another name, because Kwame is just his day of the week Ghanaian name, but that’s what everyone calls him. And he is quite the troublemaker. At one point, he was upset that I told him not to do something and he actually slapped me. I wasn’t even angry. I started laughing and did not stop for a long time, because I had never in my life been straight slapped by such a young person. He’s got quite the spirit. The arrangement is such that I made Akua the promise that when I am settled into a lifestyle (read: not moving around so much) that I would request for Kwame to come live with me and go to school. Essentially I would become his legal guardian. I think that’s why Akua is practicing him to call me Ma Delia and teaching him English on top of his Twi. It’s a big promise, but Akua did so much for me when I was here last time, and Kwame would have more opportunities in America. It was really great to meet him, and they plan on coming back many times while I am here.

Sunday was another day in Adenta, but this time at Emma’s house, as my Sundays have now been promised to. I’m unsure, however, if my wardrobe can survive this arrangement. Emma’s mother feeds me approximately every three hours, which is just too many times for my stomach. I can feel it expanding when I leave their house. But she’s just too nice to say ‘no’ to. No counseling sessions by his dad this time, though, since he was away at a funeral. I even had to force myself to stay awake the whole time I was there, because Emma’s friends Leo and Kwame came over for lunch and to hang out with us. Now that I’ve mastered the art of getting back via tro-tro from Adenta to Atomic Down, I can spend longer amounts of time on my visits. I’m definitely getting the hang of these routes!

As the temperature continues to rise in Ghana, I am promised that there will be one last heavy rainfalls before the dreaded dust storms brought in all the way from the Sahara set in. I find a lot of dust gets in my eyes now, so I’m really dreading how much dust I will be inhaling and crying out of my eyes when the dry season is upon me. I’m just glad in the heat wave that today’s weather is foretelling sets in, I am working from home since everyone else is traveling to monitor children we placed in homes throughout Ghana. I finally had that breakthrough at work and am working in earnest on brainstorming lesson plans for the program and writing them up, as well as making all the supplementary documents for them. Needless to say, it will be a gloriously busy week!

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