Friday, August 13, 2010

Saying Goodbye

We spent the final 2 weeks of July saying bye to some of our favorite haunts in Accra. I think we have each developed a sort of love hate relationship with this city which has become our home in Ghana for the past 6 months. We also found a few new sights and activities to fit in before leaving for our travels to Togo and other parts of Ghana. We found the beach again in downtown Accra, but different from our first day in Accra, we stumbled upon a portion near Independence Square which was not so littered or crowded or intimidating. We spent a couple of afternoons there after mornings homeschooling, where we met Terry for “Happy Hour” on the water at days end. We had a particularly beautiful sunset walk on the beach which we dedicated to “Kookum”. Terry’s Grandmother passed away peacefully on Sunday July 18 and although we were very sad not to be home for the final celebration of her life, we managed our own recognition Ghanaian style. We walked along the beach collecting “Kookum Rocks”, (enjoying the double meaning that went along with the title, finding it suitable to Granny) and shared memories and stories about Kookum. Afterwards, we had a lovely dinner to toast this amazing, adventurous woman who has partly inspired the travels we love to do including this trip here in Africa. Terry reminded us that only 20 years ago on his travels in Europe, he met up with her in Edinbourgh where at the age of 80 she had come to trace her Scottish roots.

We’ve had fun buying souvenirs for friends, family and ourselves. The kids had drawing and painting lessons with the Ghanaian artist who lives below us. While they painted, I got to go into town to buy fabric for the seamstress who works across the little lane from our apartment to make matching dresses for me and the girls. The kids had their final “slumber party” with Jim and Sessi, the kids from downstairs, who we know they will miss like mad. They went to their friends’ school awards day/Jim’s grade 6 graduation at De Youngsters, the school we had tried for 1 day back in March. Then we had our own Home School graduation where the kids wrote French poems and stories, then performed and acted them out for their best buds who live below. The day before we travelled (“we are travelling” as they say in Ghana any time they leave town), I got to have my hair braided which is literally a scalp raising and at times painful 3 hour experience done by another neighbor across the lane who works in a metal shack between our seamstress and our tailor. Unfortunately the joy I felt with my new look became overshadowed by the sick feeling in my guts that came with the realization that while I was across the street getting my hair done, our camera was stolen. A case of “coulda, should, woulda” where a stranger came into our place the day before begging for money (actually scoping our place). I gave him a few dollars to get rid of him. The next day he was watching our house and when he saw “the Mom” getting her hair done, he walked into the apartment while poor Lilianna was in charge. She did the right thing and told the boys to get me while she kept an eye on this guy. By the time I came, he had run off and we thought we were safe until I discovered 3 hours later that the camera was missing. All our neighbors felt as sick as we did and said we should have called out the window to them even that first day when he entered our house. They would have all come together to help us get rid of him. It happened so fast though that even if we knew this, we may not have had time to act on it.

So we say goodbye to our camera, to Kookum, to Alliance Francais and their fabulous popcorn, to Accra Mall, and to yoga and all the kind acquaintances I made there. We will have many more goodbyes to come at the end of August which will be bittersweet. The kids spend much time speaking fondly of home and yet when it comes to goodbye, they are not ready to leave. Riley keeps saying, “We’ll come back here before we go right Mom?” I don’t have the heart to tell him “No”.

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