The List

Since before I arrived in Mafi Tsati, I’ve been keeping a secret list of those I want to invite to join on a “field trip” to Wli Falls, a famous landmark in Ghana. Last summer, while I was staying in Abuti Tegbleve village, we visited a monkey sanctuary and the waterfall. Oh the glorious refreshment of running water! Most in the village haven’t been to either.

The idea was born before I left the States… I think no matter where you’re from or what your circumstances are, having your horizons broadened can never be a bad thing. Take me for example: when I was young, I’d never heard of “study abroad,” and imagine what I could have accomplished if I’d found my love for travel decades earlier than I did?

Anyway, many of the people in the village have never been outside of their neighboring villages, so Maxwell and I are working on the list of people who will travel the 2+ hours each way to visit the falls and the monkey sanctuary, while Augustina and I make arrangements and preparations for travel provisions (“take away” food, water, etc.).

Maxwell and I are both very excited about the trip and the list continues to grow, shrink, change and develop…We need to finalize it tomorrow–which is no easy task given how special of an opportunity this is for those who are going.

Making Daddy Proud

Maxwell was so excited to teach me how to ride the motorcycle today. Thanks to to my dad and his brother Eyvind, I grew up around dirt bikes and it didn’t take long for me to ride this “street bike” version. The kids thought it was hilarious that the yevoo was driving it rather than riding on the back. A good time was had by all.

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The Women of Mafi Tsati

A few of you know that one of my goals in returning to Mafi Tsati was to take photos of the women for a book I want to call “The Women of Mafi Tsati.”  So, when Maxwell and I were talking itineraries I explained that I wanted to spend an afternoon visiting with the women in the village. As lost-in-translation goes (and goes and goes…) he arranged for them to all meet me under the mango tree this afternoon. Gulp. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I made the most of it. As I was addressing the circle of incredibly beautiful women, I started choking up. I know none of them could tell (my voice must be so strange to them anyway; it’s strange to my own family…). I didn’t cry, but if I’d continued saying more about how women are the backbone of a society, how honored I am to be here with them, and how important the women in my life are, I’m sure I would have… So I cut it short, which is just as well, I’m sure. Who knows what I was actually saying to them via translation…

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Esinu in the sand crying (again)

Several of the little ones (Esinu, Portia…) have huge crying fits and roll around in the dusty sand while bawling. Of course I want to pick them up and console them, but I’ve learned to let that one go.

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Falling on the motorcycle (again)

Maxwell and I decided that every time I come back to Mafi Tsati, we have to fall while riding the motorcycle because we fell last time and we also fell today. Similar situations: because of the sandy ground, we started slipping and when he quickly tried to maneuver, something go caught. Last time it was his pant leg he caught on the pedal, today it was the radio he had dangling from the handlebars. My ankle is now a kankle… Stop riding on the back of the bike, you say? Naaaah! It’s one of the best parts of being here!

Toffee

The code-word for candy around here is “toffee” and now that I’ve pulled out my little purple plastic bucket with a lid concealing a bag full of Skittles, the kids keep following me around asking, “toffee?” “toffee?” Mauto, one of the neighborhood girls who helps me with my bath water, was brazen enough to follow me in the dark after my bath tonight to beg me for “ten toffee?” Can’t blame a girl for trying!

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First Gmail!!!

Maxwell wrote his first email! I’d sent him a short message via my phone while he was practicing other features on the computer (yay for it actually sending). When he opened his very own gmail inbox for the first time, he was thrilled to find that he had mail (I wish I had a video of it!). Read his Thank You email below…

Trip to Ghana: $5,000. Helping someone access email for the first time: Priceless.

IMG_7782The email he sent me to share with all of my friends who supported the trip:
It interest me to express much thanks to you for the wonderful work
you did for me to make my dream of having computer a reality. In fact,
my ultimate appreciation goes to God, for through our redeemer, Jesus
Christ, your source of knowledge and strength.

I wish to say without any reservation that we without your
contribution and support, my plan of having a computer would have
suffered a major jeopardy. I thank God for your life and pray for a
bigger success in your business endeavors. It is therefore my fervent
hope that this computer will not only restore the much needed
communication between us, but also but smiles on the faces of all my
students and all the staff members. Mr. Anand and his family should
also take their share of thanks for the provisions they offer to me.
May the upliftment and blessings come faster, in the name of God.

Finally, I wish all of your friends who have contributed towards your
journey the best of luck in all their endeavors. Thank you and may God
bless you all.

Yours faithfully,
Maxwell Zutunu
Mafi Tsati, Volta Region
Ghana