My five main observations from today: July 5th
#1- When you go to the bathroom more than you eat, you might be in Ghana. The food can be quite good…it’s just that later.
#2- Dad was right. He usually is actually. My dad has this way of foretelling things that are going to happen in my life sometimes. I think it’s just his Fatherly right that comes through his personal prayer on behalf of his children. This time, he told me that while on my trip, I would experience moments of pure joy. I had one of them today. We were profiling a new home where there was a school nearby. The kids were just getting out of school for the day and walking up the road close to the orphanage, so my colleagues and I decided to walk to the school and visit with the children. One little boy saw me coming from a distance, ran to my side and than slightly stumbled into me from his anticipation getting the best of him. I’ve never seen a little boy so cute. It reminded me of my little brother (as a cute half Mexican, chubby cheeked little baby) but as a little African boy instead. He wrapped his arms around my legs with such ease; you would think I was his mother. I wish I were. My heart pretty much imploded against my rib cage as I knelt down to talk to him.
#3- They don’t litter here like they do in the U.S. In the states when you litter, it means throwing something on the ground when you could have alternatively thrown it in the trashcan. At first glance when you come to Ghana, you may disagree, as there is literally trash everywhere. What it is, is they simply do not have an effective garbage disposal system here. I rarely find places to put my trash. I usually save plastic bags from the gas station and then when it’s full, I take it to the hotel staff to dispose of it. Here when someone throws something on the ground, it IS their garbage bin.
#4- Here when you become disabled, however slightly, it is usually for life. I did a double take today as I caught a glimpse of an older lady hanging up her laundry. She had a terrible limp that caused her to walk slowly and lift her leg conscientiously up and down. I had seen that same limp before. My mom used to walk like that, until she had both of her hip replacements performed. I immediately thought to myself, she needs a hip replacement. And then I thought to myself that that just isn’t going to happen for her. She is going to walk like that for the rest of her life. There are few hospitals in this region and the staff at those small clinics, know very little besides how to birth babies and care for malaria-stricken patients. There may possibly be a hip surgeon in Accra but I have my doubts and even if there were, how on earth would that worn looking woman be able to afford a major surgery along with the hospital recovery time expenses. It has made me want to work harder to help people like that and has also made me more aware that that is something I was taking for granted.
#5– I saw a recent quote that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind, which sums up this summer perfectly. It goes something like this: “The volunteer life: There will be days you don’t have power. Days that you needed a shower and didn’t get one. And lots and lots of hand washing clothes…but [I] wouldn’t have it any other way.“ This is profoundly true for me. I’m not ready to leave, simply because I know I will be in charge of humbling myself once I’m back home. Back in that metropolis, that lovely free, red white and blue country with every opportunity imaginable, that I am blessed to live in–it will be much harder to maintain humility, as the children with their smiles and stories will not be there as my daily reminder.