Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Adventures of a Barbarian: Chapter 1

Welcome back, my friends, and I’m sorry for the silence when I was in the USA (and the lack of counting skills.  No, there is no Chapter 21).  Things there were crazy, and I was trying to spend as much time with my sisters as I could.   I am sitting here typing this blog in a hotel that has a view of a beautiful Byzantine monastery.  The roads here are paved, there is running water in our hotel (consistently), and a water heater, and there is electricity… and even free internet that is fast enough to handle youtube.  And […]

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Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 22 and Epilogue

There is an elephant trainer who works at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire—his name is Thomas—and he told me, “If you ever have a chance to go somewhere you can see elephants in the wild, do it without thinking.”  He glanced back at his elephant, Lady Wrinkles, who was rearranging the strands of hay on the ground at her feet.  For an instant, I thought I saw regret in his eyes as he said: “I can’t go, I’m tied.”  But the regret disappeared the moment Lady Wrinkles looked up and snorted in his direction.  He didn’t have to go to sub-Saharan […]

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Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 20

Adventures of an Oburoni:  Chapter 20   And my hard work has finally come to its conclusion.  The paper written, I returned to Accra, where I bound it and handed it to Dr. Yemi and my advisor Dr. Saah.  I know Dr. Saah gave me a good grade (we’ll see about Dr. Yemi).   My days in Accra have been filled with stories with Tiwaa and Obi, doing dishes with Sarah (the new house help), chatting with Maame Judith (and praying with her too), and hanging out at the hostel where most of my oburoni friends are hanging out.  Kwame […]

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 19

“Kiki, you are becoming fat.”  That’s what Priscilla keeps saying.  “Your stomach, it is becoming big.” It does wonders to one’s self esteem to live in a place where it’s considered attractive to be a little hairy around the arms and legs, to have big eyebrows, and to be a little fat. “Di nyina,” Maa Esther chides me each day with a bigger and bigger serving of fufu or banku: “Eat all, because when you go back to America, I want your mother to say, ‘Maa Esther wants my daughter to become big and beautiful.’”  There is a broken mirror […]

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 18

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 18 Malaria and Holy Week Holy Week in Asokore Mampong was wonderful; because of the retreat, I have many more friends than before in church — and a significant portion of Asokore Mampong goes to the Catholic church. Monday evening was a benediction service and reconciliation marathon.  On my way to church, I almost passed by a large crowd of teenagers — but they called me over; it was some of the kids from retreat!  We walked to church together. I had started to feel sick on Monday, but I decided to just take some […]

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Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 17

First, let me describe the state of Maa Esther’s fridge:  It hadn’t worked in years, and despite her impeccable hygiene in other matters, she hadn’t cleaned this fridge in a very long time.  It was a dull shade of brown all over, and inside, there were civilizations of bugs.  Civilizations.  Give them a few more months and they’d have developed a writing system and complicated mathematics.  As it is, I’m pretty sure they had a religion, funeral rites, and a feudal system of government.  And when you opened the fridge, it smelled like Death.  It didn’t smell as bad as […]

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Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 16

Life in Ghana has been a life of improvisation.  And the first rule of improvisation is, never say “no.”  That’s been my rule of thumb here: never say “no” to an adventure. So, when Maa Grace told me about the World Youth Day retreat this weekend, I jumped on the bus (almost literally; I signed up the day before we departed).  World Youth Day is a yearly celebration for Catholics around the world, and in Ghana, each region has its own celebration.  I’m pretty sure at least two people from every parish in the Ashanti region attended.  Asokore Mampong sent […]

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Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 15b

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 15 amendment Here are the pictures from the last entry: A picture of the Paramoutn Chief of Asokore Mampong at one of the funerals: Me, Papa D. C., and some of his old schoolmates and their wives: Kwame, me, and Emanuel — me and my brothers: Until the next chapter, my friends.

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Friday, April 15th, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 15

The air was thick with perfume. I could almost taste it.  I suppose that was to cover the smell of the well-dressed body in the bed at the center of the room. I didn’t like to look at her face.  Her skin was shining with makeup and her mouth was pulled tight into what must have been the undertaker’s attempt at a smile.  And it wasn’t hard to see the needle-holes in her cheeks.  At least her eyes were closed.  I stared instead at her hands. They were gloved in lace and looked much more serene.  She wore a long […]

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Monday, April 11th, 2011

Adventures of an Oburoni: Chapter 14

It’s good to be back home in Asokore Mampong.  I called Maa Esther the day before I arrived and she was so excited I was coming, I’m pretty sure she got up and danced a little bit.  “My daughter is coming home!  Yaa Kiki beba!”  I heard her announce it to the neighborhood. The ride up was interesting; I was on an air-conditioned bus (what?!), and when I arrived in Kumase, I was hijacked by a taxi driver who charged a little too much, even though I bargained down a bit.  But I finally got to my house in Asokore […]

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