(Sun. July 8th)
After saying goodbye to David Lettero, my friend Maxwell and I walked to the next village for a visit. In the afternoon, I got some practical, hands-on knowledge of roasting gari. Cassava root is the staple food here in the Volta Region and the fertile soil provides a plentiful harvest for most of the year. When the cassava root is ground into powder the locals call it gari, and gari is mixed in with different foods (like Red Red) or just eaten plain by the handful after roasting. The smell of the roasting gari is reminiscent of popping popcorn. Wish I could impart all the smells of the village in these photos. Is there an app for that?
My favorite boy in the village, David, with Dave Lettero from Oregon, who came to install solar on a medical clinic in the neighboring village. It was an amazing process to watch and so much fun to have someone to share stories with! Little David kept asking me to take him with me to America! I’d love to bring his whole family over (Augustina, Jose, Grace and David).
(Saturday July 7th)
Thanks to Augustine, the amazing woman who prepares my meals each day (Grace’s and David’s mom), I got to walk to the local farm and harvest some cassava root with them. The earth is so fertile here and the cassava root pulls from the ground with no trouble whatsoever. The “shaving” of it is another story…
(Fri July 6th)
Basket weaving attracted quite the local crowd with the ‘yevoo’ weaving! The locals clustered around to see if I had any skills, and some stayed for the entire 3-hour duration! Turns out I’m a pretty decent basket weaver–thanks, Mom! And thanks to both of my basket coaches: Agbey, one of the teens, and the man who took his coaching job VERY seriously! Your guiding hand was much appreciated!
DIVOG (Disaster Volunteers of Ghana) is an amazing organization of local Ghanians from Ho who partner with non-profits to improve the lives of people in the villages. One of their main projects is building schools, because of the belief that knowledge is power and the future of Ghana lies in the hands of the kids. In addition to using funds donated by groups like VIDA (Volunteers for International Development and Aid), they not only oversee the building of new schools, but involve the members of the community in order for the community itself to have buy-in into the project.
Bright was my DIVOG guide for my two weeks in Mafi Tsati. He wins the award for the best Red Red ever! Red Red is a local dish of black-eyed peas in red sauce with fried plantains. Yummy!!!
Thank you Bright, and all of DIVOG, for taking such great care of me in Ghana and for introducing me to the Village of Mafi Tsati, who’s people have a special place in my hear forever and whom I plan to return to visit very soon.
(Thurs. July 5th)
Under the waning yellow moon, the village kids and I stayed out after dark playing clapping games and goofing around. Decibels rose as kids smacked each other in the head, argued, pushed, shoved and yelled to vie for their turn. These are the most relaxed, fun times because the camera is hidden away. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will not truly be able to capture the fun we’re having together, because of the “posing” that happens with the camera. For those of you who know my relationship with the camera, you know this is quite the necessary coming to terms. Picture or no picture, this evening of games and screams under the yellow moon is a moment I’ve captured forever in my memory.