Gone to Ghana

Eureka! December 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — slrussell @ 10:02 pm

I have made two fairly significant discovies over the past 24 hours.

Epiphany number one. Yes, I can hear the horn from the bus in my bedroom at the convent and still make it aboard. I have wondered this since coming to Jirapa as the schedule is not all that consistent and now I know. One of the things that really got to me in India was the excessive use of the horn. And no it is not just my opinion that it was excessive, it really was, honest.  So far Ghana is just the opposite. It is very rare to hear a horn in Jirapa, I guess because most people are on foot or bicycles and even the motorbikes don’t really seem to use their horns very often.  Really the only time you would use it on a bike is if a goat was moving too slowly when getting out of the way.


The metro mass is the one exception. A couple of minutes before it is going to head out of the station its blare can be heard throughout the town and I have noticed that I am pretty much the only one who arrives at the station and stays waiting on the bus. Everybody else seems to materialize shortly after the horn goes.  So, being one who likes to push things just a little bit, I have wondered if I could wait at the convent to hear the horn.  The big question was not just whether or not I could/would hear the horn but if I could make it there fast enough. I so wish I could take an overhead picture of Jirapa to show you this but Google Earth hasn’t got a detailed pic yet. So, from the convent you have to go past the church, the Brother’s house, a school, and a youth center to get to the bus. Today for my regular trip to Wa I planned to take the “two o’clock” bus. This is what I call it, not what anybody else calls it, but it usually leaves about quarter past so I have thought it must be the two o’clock bus. Last week it didn’t leave until well past 2:30. So today, as I was lazily reading my book at 1:45 it is quite impressive to me that I actually heard the horn. After a second of that registering I jumped up, finished packing my bag, went to the washroom, and ran (literally) off to the bus. I just barely made it. The only thing I didn’t have time for was remembering my phone….


Epiphany #2: I like kids, specifically teenagers. You would think that as a junior high teacher I would know this but sometimes you just need a little reminder.


Yesterday I was approached by one of the girls working at the convent, Monica. “Sister Sandra, could you help me?” I love Monica. She has only recently started working at the convent but she works so hard all day (8 to 8 ) and then goes home to look after her mother who is severely disabled. Monica is really such a nice girl and her eyes just shine. So of course I was more than willing to help. What she wanted was help completing the registration form for the dressmaking program she is going to start in January. Helping her do this, things like explaining what surname and first name meant, made me so happy. When we got to the part where she had to write a sentence explaining how she was going to afford the program (why she’s working at the convent) it thrilled me as we worked through it word by word after I explained that no I wouldn’t write it out for her, she had to do it,  Monday I am going to teach her how to address the envelope and take her to the post office to send it.  Yippee!


When I applied to come work here I didn’t do so because I disliked my job at home, I just was feeling restless, like I needed a change. And, yes, I definitely got a change, in pretty much every aspect of my life. I have liked living here and doing the workshops and working with the teachers. But spending just a few minutes “teaching” Monica reminded me how much I like working with kids, really the highlight of my month so far. Good thing, eh, since I am headed back to the classroom soon!

Two great discoveries….I wonder if they’ll make a history book.  Nope, not writing one myself, Steve. And thanks for the support! I bet Mom and Dad might  buy a copy too (just one for the two of them, one each would be excessive).


4 Responses to “Eureka!”

  1. Bev Says:

    Just wanted to tell you that I really miss you.
    Can’t wait until your back, and we can go to the movies!

  2. kristen Says:

    That story about Monica made me smile. I’m glad you got that reminder- especially after the recent frustration.

  3. Uncle Don Says:

    Sandra, Loved your story about Monica. Every teacher can relate to the joy of having a student who is eager to learn a life skill and you having the pleasure to be part of that experience – great. We also really enjoyed your observations re. elections. I’ll be happy to buy you a Tim’s and we’ll swap stories. I was overseeing Harpers when they voted in Calgary, along with 60 or so reporters, RCMP, sniffer dog, etc. Take care!

  4. Linda Says:

    You give me chills Sandra. What a beautiful story. Miss you lots and looking forward to seeing you again.


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