There are moments that take your breath away, like when you’re on the peak of Whistler Mountain and you gaze at the beauty (snow) that your surrounded with. There are moments that will be vividly engraved in your memory, like when I was outside Scotia Bank Place watching on the big screen my idol Daniel Alfredsson score that gorgeous, oh so gorgeous, game-winning goal against the Buffalo Sabers in game 5 resulting in the Ottawa Senators clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time. And then there are moments, where every day you learn from your surroundings, appreciate everything that you have, and fill your chapter with new perspectives that you will forever cherish. These are a collection of the moments in Ghana that will always stay with me.
That gratifying moment when I do a classic Adam clumsy by either tripping into an open gutter at night or bumping my head while getting out of a trotro. Yet the immediate and concerning words of “I’m sorry” by my neighbours replaces that 3.33 second of embarrassment with a smile.
That exciting moment when you’re walking down the street and the storekeeper who you buy your morning bananas and groundnuts from says, “Obruni, Mr. Adams come pound fufu for me.”- Side note, pounding fufu (crushing cassava/yam/plantain) is a fun workout.
That everyday moment when you’re called an “Obruni” (foreigner) on average of 62 times a day. The record number of times I have been called Obruni in 1 day was 86 (yes I did keep count).
That #win moment when your mental productivity and state of peace is at its highest peak when you are squeezed in a trotro that that speeds on a dirt road causing extreme bumpiness. Riding on a trotro is like playing Mario Kart. The goal is to dodge as many bananas (pot holes) as you can. Trust me, it’s not that easy.
That initial awkward moment when men, women and children that you have never met before know your name and say,“Hello Mr. Adams.” Side note: The day after I watched Skyfall, someone asked me my name and I may have ‘accidentally’ said that my name is Mr. Bond, James Bond. Every now and then I’ll hear someone call, “ehh Mr. Bonds.” When you’re one of the few Obrunis in Twifo Praso, your name will travel… fast!
The highlight of my day when I see Mahmesi (Daniels Niece) say “haaaaaai” to me while waving her hand. Side note: The first time I had dinner with Daniels family, Mahmesi stared at me and then instantly started to cry for 10 minutes straight. Maybe it was the beard or maybe I’m the first Obruni she’s seen. Her mother then picked her up and sang until she stopped crying. She then looked at me again and started to cry again and again. I tried making funny faces and waving my hand and saying hi.. I even started talking in Twi. Nothing worked .The next day she saw me, we had an eye staring contest which lasted for about 10 seconds. She then jumped up with a smile and said “haaaaaai” while waving her right hand. Since then, every time I see her, and only to me, she’ll just smile and say hi. Precious.
That beautiful moment when a family graciously welcomes and invites you to their family dinner and doesn’t expect anything in return except for a friendship. As long as they have enough for themselves, they will have more than enough to give. Side note: In Twifo Praso I usually eat dinner with Daniel’s family every evening. I’m learning how fufu, gari, rice balls and all those delicious local dishes are made.
That humbling moment when someone looks in your eyes and says “God Bless You”
That faithful moment when every meeting always begins and ends with a prayer.
That moment when you spend 2 hours hand washing your clothes only for there to be a thunderstorm in the evening and as you run like a crazy maniac in hopes of saving your clothes before they get drenched and soaked you yell, “common rain, give me a 5 minute rain break please? I’ll do the reverse version of the rain dance if you want!” This has happened about 4 times and counting so far.
That moment when you are playing with children and it occurs to you that beyond our diversities of different languages, religions, and customs, we are really are not that different, we really aren’t.
That living in the moment when it rains and pours like crazy and instead of finding shelter you follow the kids and just jump in a puddle of water, get your clothes dirty, and live.
That precious moment when a mother removes the blanket and child from her back, and as she gently brings her child near her heart she makes funny faces just to see that priceless smile and laughter.
That OH MY GOODNESS moment when you realize that Ghanaians say “Eh” more often than Canadians.
Canadian Eh: “That was a good movie, Eh?”
Ghanaian Eh: “EH! 4 cedis is way too much!”
That learning curve moment when you find out that your habit of fast paced walking can be seen as rude and impolite. Lesson learned, habit changed.
That memorable moment when you get the opportunity to witness elections in Ghana. Starting with the campaigning, leading up to elections, and ending off with a regular peaceful election day.
That musical moment when “Chop my money” is your new jam for 2012/2013 and you will sing the lyrics enthusiastically and Azontu to it on demand. If you haven’t listened to Chop my money or any music by Sarkodie or 4X4, you are missing out!
That moment when you are lost and when you ask for directions the answer that you ALWAYS receive is: “go straight.”
That moment you realize how wonderful of a sport football (soccer) is. I bleed red, take a guess? MUFC
That thankful moment when even when you’re not having the best day, you can always count on people in Praso to put a smile on your face. Their simplicity reminds you to keep hope and faith at all times
That comedic moment where you hear the Adam and Eve joke every other day. Usually goes like this: Person: “Your name is Adam? Where is Eve?” Me: “Hahahah, I haven’t found Eve yet.” Person: “I’ll find you Eve soon” .…..7 days later I get married off. (That was a joke, I’m not married yet…)
That exciting moment when you try to start a small informal business with your friends. Blog post on that coming soon…
That unfortunate moment when my fear of spiders is diminished and replaced with 2 blind mice that devoured my precious chocolate chip cookies in my room and never fail to bring anxiety as I attempt to sleep
That moment when an average internet speed of 60kbps means that you have to actually close all of your tabs or else it will take hours for Google to load….It pains me but it must be done!
That frustrating moment when you see an 8 year old girl who should be in school but is selling pure water on the streets because that daily income of 1.50 cedis (75 cents) is seen as more important in the short-term than an education. Same goes for when I see children walking back home from school during the day time because their teacher sacked them.
That moment when you do the “there is light dance” when the lights in your room actually turn on. Side note: Even when there is power that doesn’t mean that the light in my room turns on. If I switch on my light exactly after 5pm, it just doesn’t turn on. Apparently it’s because there is a reduction in voltage after then….if only I was an electrical engineer.
The never a dull moment when a police officer gets your undivided attention when he says “our only option is to detain and arrest you” (long story short I’m okay and its nothing to worry about)
That disappointing moment when you witness corruption, bureaucracy and complete inefficiency first hand and you wish that you could just change everything. That frustration is followed with a small deep breath where you realize that change can happen at incremental steps
That “lifelong lesson” moment when you understand that no one in this world needs “saving”, we just need humanity. Use both your ears to listen, your voice to give your input, and open your heart to build connections.
That critical moment when you understand that poverty is a state of mind. Problems may exist but untapped opportunities also exist.Find the untapped opportunities and do something about it.
That moment when you fall in love with a small rural district, Twifo Praso, and everything about it is so peaceful that it gives you purpose.