Tsilefe de?

Apparently it’s snake season. Within less than 24 hours, there’s been two cobra sightings. I also saw a dead viper in the gutter. Really comforting knowing that you’ll die within 30 minutes if bit and not able to make it to the hospital for an injection. Bah!

Also, a teacher that I’ve never really spoken to approached me and said that I could take Yao back to America, and I could even meet his parents to discuss it. Yao Yao Yao.

 ”There’s no light. You gotta fight your own fight.”

Wonderfully stated by my taxi driver in Accra as he drove through an 8-way traffic circle/intersection with no stop lights, just a lot of honking and trusting of others. Slightly terrifying.

The whole “you must stay away from all animals” due to lack of rabies vaccination isn’t going so well. The neighbors have a new litter of puppies!

I was talking with a random group of kids the other day and invited them to come over to the house sometime during the week to play. I was explaining the directions to them when one of them asked “Do you live in the palace of flushing toilets?” Initially, I couldn’t understand what they were saying but then I realized they were asking if I had toilets that flush, and when I replied yes, they all giggled excitedly and turned to the others and said “She lives in the palace of flushing toilets!”

I’ve always wanted to live in a palace. 

Today my student, Bright, decided it was time for a new nickname. I have now been renamed Woman Love.

Fortunately, today was a great day. I say fortunately because yesterday was not enjoyable and incredibly frustrating, leaving me in a negative mood all day. But today that’s changed! I paired up my students from my younger class with one of the older students and gave a book to each partnering. That way the older students could help the younger ones out, and I had more time to get around to each person to help them sound out the words. This didn’t actually work out that well considering only a few of the older students can actually adequately read, and most of the books I brought were about topics they’ve never heard of such as golf tournaments and astronauts. But it was still helpful because I was able to get around to each child and help them practice sounding out words. The entire day we worked on our reading and practiced the corresponding sounds to each letter in the alphabet. Then to finish class, I had the older students come to the front of the class and read a few sentences out of their book. They really loved that.

Random story: yesterday I split the class into two teams, and I had them work together to figure out math problems. The team with the most correct answers got first pick of an animal sticker. All the penguin stickers were taken right away. John was in the losing team, and had his heart set on a penguin sticker. I came over with the sticker book and he had a huge smile on and kept saying “I want happy fish! Happy fish!” thinking that “Happy Feet” was actually “Happy fish”. He ended up settling for a bobcat.

Great news- Yao can talk! He didn’t speak at all for the first month, but our friendship has made dramatic advancements recently and now I suppose he feels comfortable enough to talk to me. However, there’s a big language barrier between us considering he only speaks Ewe, but I can say a few things to him in Ewe. Mainly I constantly say “Yao, me wo lo” (pronounced meh-low) to him, meaning “Yao, I love you.” Even greater news is he says it back. One of the oldest students, and another personal favorite of mine—Wisdom, also acts as translator for Yao and I. It’s wonderful. Yao tends to pee himself often, but being in Africa I’ve become accustom to having urine on me. Yao and I have an adorable thing now where when I put him down to give attention to the other kids Yao will wait by himself watching me until I look at him, then he smiles and comes running at me full speed and flings himself onto me. This is usually followed by a kiss and him pinching my cheeks.

Also, I took a second trip to the Wli waterfalls today. I ended up swimming in my dress, and being cold in Africa, which is quite impressive.

It’s time you meet Yao. I’ve always been one to secretly pick favorites, but it is no secret that Yao is my favorite child here. Everyday once the break bell rings, all the toddlers come running out of their nursery room and come try and jump on me, shouting “teacha! teacha!” or “yevu teacha! me me!” wanting me to pick them up, spin them around, and take their picture. Every child here is absolutely adorable and special, yet ever since our first encounter, Yao has found a special place in my heart. 

He isn’t one of the happy smiley kids who runs after me begging for me to hold him. He tends to spend his breaks alone, rubbing pasta or dripping porridge all over his face. Yao and I fell in love about 3 weeks ago. I was holding him and he was just staring at me for a few minutes, then he leaned in and gave me the most precious little kiss on the lips ever. Our relationship has progressed along very well, considering we are now the very best of friends. Of course Yao cannot say that I’m his best friend, nor does he even realize, but all the other students and teachers know. Yao has gone above and beyond for me as my Ghanaian best friend. Now, he even waits for me outside my classroom at the start of break, or he comes and finds me if I’m already out. 

I will absolutely cry when I have to say bye to him.

School has been going really great lately. Fridays are game days, and we start the day off with an hour of soccer for the older boys and basketball for the girls. Then the kids who haven’t been invited by one of the teachers to play, just sit and watch on the side with me. Well, yesterday after the soccer game I told my students that we had a really special day ahead of us. I brought my computer and some speakers and decided to watch “Happy Feet” with the kids.

I started class by reading the kids a story about snow, and after I wrote some related terms on the chalkboard. The headmaster was sitting in my classroom, and I was nervous she’d be upset that I was just playing a movie for the kids. As soon as I unzipped my backpack and took out the speakers, everyone, including the headmaster, stood up and cheered and thanked me. At this point they just thought we were listening to music. The smiles on these kids faces when I told them we were watching a movie was one of the most heartwarming experiences I’ve ever had. They all came up and thanked me and wanted to shake my hand to show their immense gratitude. The power went out for a solid 20 minutes during the movie and we were without sound, but they were all still  on the edge of their seat loving every second of it. The nursery teacher even came in and watched for about 15 minutes, leaving all the little toddlers unattended. I wish I was able to get a projector so that all the students at the school could join us and watch. Next Friday, I’m going to surprise them with “Bee Movie”.