Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May: Time Get Your Party Pants On!

1 May 2011
“I can do this.” I forced myself to sit up in bed and looked out my window to see the morning sun falling on Saboba. Lately I get headaches if I change altitude too quickly, and when you are just over 6 feet tall, that’s every time you stand up. I wanted to feel a little bit better than I was feeling, but I am still convinced even after the malaria diagnosis that I will be better off if I tell myself I am fine. I have not had a normal appetite lately, and needing to get back to fighting shape for all this traveling I have to do, I forced a bowl of oatmeal down. Dr. Faerk was there to join me, and I was so grateful for his company. This man is really great, and I so wish I could have spent more time in the hospital with him. He is an incredible man, very Dr. Nick-esque and I thoroughly our conversations. He is a quiet, contemplative man and you feel like he can see right through you with his deep blue eyes peering through bushy grey eyebrows over his glasses. We were casually having breakfast chat when he switched the subject.
“You need to be patient with yourself as you adjust back to life in America. It will take time. When my wife and I came back from Zambia (on a 2 ½ year term), it took us nearly a decade to feel completely accustomed to the life we left behind in Denmark.”
And he leaned in close with his hands folded on the table and said, “You have Africa in your blood. I can see it.”
I do not know what this means or why this made me tear up, but it did.
I wanted to go to church at Jonah’s to see a few people off, but I was too tired and slept until I heard Jonah’s voice in the hallway. He wanted to see how I was doing and invited me to a children’s program out at World Vision at 2. I did not want to go, but I told him I would. Did I really want to spend my last days in Saboba like this? Nope. I would dress myself in will power and head out the door.
A few small gifts in my hand, I headed out the door. If I was out, I should try and get some goodbyes and final visits out of the way. Dr. Jean was kind enough to let me burrow her bike and I rode off to Jonah’s. We didn’t leave right away, but took time to talk under the mango tree outside his yard. I love these times, and my spirits were instantly lifted. This was the best medicine I had had yet. One of the best things I brought to Ghana with me were bouncy balls for the kids. I loved those things as a kid and still do so I wanted to share some with them. They laugh so hard trying to chase one around that I couldn’t help myself from laughing. Jonah and I have had some really meaningful chats under that mango tree, and I was so grateful for this time with this family.
He loaded James and Rueben on the back of his bike and I jumped on mine and weaved around the compounds out to the children’s program. The place was combing with kids! The venue was changed to Pastor Jidoh’s church because there were so many kids… this is a great problem to have! There was not way to count, but I guess there to be 400-500 kids in that squished in that building and more were trying to get through the door. This program was the kick off the Children Evangelism Fellowship started in Saboba as an outreach to children. I was so thrilled for to be a part of this!
People here are shocked that I can ride a back, and when I tell them that I learned when I was a little girl, they are even more surprised!
I left there and went to my friend Solo’s house to see his wife and little girl, Benidita, off. It hit me as I was riding my bike thourgh the dirt trial that zigzagged between little round huts and compound- major Julia Roberts riding her bike in “Eat Pray Love” moment. The sun was beginning to set when I rode up. Bedenita, was in her best look- earrings and panties- and I was so glad to see her off in the oufit that suits her best. Solo and his wife will have their second baby in June, and I really hope it’s a girl so Benedita can name her Grace!
From there I went to see my hilarious friend Andrew, who is suffering from a broken foot after a motorcycle ran into him a few weeks ago. He is the one that dances and exercises when he is sick (I have his philosophy on such things on video), so I had to encourage him to dance the best he could with his arms and his good leg so he could get better faster.
My last stop of the day was the Jidoh residence. Pastor Jidoh, who I know jokingly call “Chief”, was in the yard and very happy to see me. I was in Accra but came back a day early so he could see me off, which meant so much to me. He said a whole bunch of things I will keep locked in my heart forever. I left with tears in my eyes.
All these people have welcomed me into their family without any hesitation. I am forever changed by the love and kindness they have shown me and their gallant, resilient spirits.

2 May 2011
I have said goodbye to my Saboba. I was fine until I saw James waving at me. I will process this all later. I can’t think about it now
I began my birthday celebrations with my friend Zee and her sister, and we had a fabulous time!  

3 May 2011
Year 24 is lookin’ pretty darn good.
My mom said this morning that she wasn’t really sure how she felt about this... my brother Galen turned 17 in Mozambique, I just learned 24 in Ghana and this summer Gavin will turn 21 in Morocco. Clearly Africa is the place to be on your birthday!

Full stories to come, but here is a brief overview:
-My final days in Saboba were the best with a very bittersweet goodbye
- Birthday celebrations started last night in Tamale where I was CENTIMETERS away from getting pooped on by a bat
-I shamelessly ate a whole plate of French fries
-Arrived safely in Accra this morning and spent the day running around Accra with a Danish doctor
-I found a book devoted to the color green and bought it, birthday dinner tonight complete with birthday sign (which I was thrilled about) and birthday brownies for all! I got to celebrate with the CUTEST little girl. SHe is two!
Thank you Jimmy and Sylvia of the Baptist Mission Guest House for making this day so fabulous!
-GI track nearly back to normal woo WOO!

Until tomorrow, my friends.

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