I can not even begin to sum up our day in one post and am so overwhelemed with the day itself I am not sure what to focus on. Between orphanage visits, driving through the city, meeting a resettlement family I can not focus on where to begin… So first just a few small things, then a call to action…
1. I am sick to death of sponge bathing myself with cold water and then sweating like crazy. We were told we should have hot water and that it is not unreasonable request. We requested and they looked at us like they were crazy. They told us they will fix it tonight.
2. It is impossible to be a vegan here. They usually have only half of what their menu says or even I order veggies, it comes with meat. Some times we just need to eat what we can when we can… I just decided to take a hiatus and now am enjoying the food so much! They do NOT drink coffee. It is impossible to find and when I get it, it is a packet of instant Nescafe…(I think of you Aunt Laura!).
3. We leared that it is essential to great everyone with “Good morning/afternoon/evening” If you do not say this, they think you are conceited. If you just say “hi” it is not enough. So we tried all day today and were treated so kindly and everyone was wonderful! There are still occastions though, when I am SHOCKED with the attitude we have seen occastionally… Not just us, but others in our group have been treated pretty rudely. Overall, the people are very nice and welcoming and pretty indifferent to us white girls so it is easier to get around when people are not chasing you and wanting to talk to you all the time
4. Anywhere we are, and everywhere we look there are women carrying things on their head. In the middle of the highway selling water, donuts, plantains, eggs, chickens… They are called “Hawkers” Today we saw women with sewing machines on their heads. Walking up a hill!
5. We met the Bethany staff here… they are all wonderful and very good at what they do.
6. We never seem to know where we are going how long it will take and what we will do when we get there.
7. It is very important to know what day you were born. People were horrified we did not know the day of our birth. You are named after the day you were born. So we went on line and figured out… Jill was born on Friday so her name is “Efia”. I was born on thursday so my name is “Ya” Some children only have that name, but most people also have another name that they go by.
8. Many people believe in witch craft and blame bad things in their life on children, especially children who have been adopted or are fostered.
9. I don’t think the kids have every seen a tattoo. They all were facinated by mine and touched it and asked questions about it and could not understand that it will be there forever.
10. I saw the biggest pigs of my life… like as big as a bear. And pigs stink (more on all that later)
11. In all my travels in cities like Beijing,Shenyang, Kiev, Tirina, Addis Ababa, New York City, Chicago, today was the first time we were in an accident. Tiny tiny accident, just a small scrape from a taxi, but the story about how it was resolved needs to be saved for another day. So bizarre.
12. When your driver, who stoppes and asks for directions 20 times, tells you that you are driving North, don’t believe him. And when he tells you the insanly large body of water you are looking at with massive waves is a lake, don’t believe him either. Cause you are really driving South West and you are really looking at the Gulf of Guinea… AKA the Atlatic OCEAN!
I will go into more detail about the ophanages, the resettlement projects, the traffic and the first pizza I had in a year another time, but now, I am exhaused and need to take a cold “shower” and get some sleep… tomorrow another 12 hour day with foster families.
But I will leave you with this. Children belong in families. No matter how amazing an orphanage is, no matter the care and love they get there, Children belong in families. 3 year old Edwin who would not let go of my hand and had a fierce grip on a potato masher in the other, 10 year old Collins who was so polite and curious and talked to me about his hopes and dreams. 4 year old Fredrick who would push away or punch anyone who came near me because he did not want me to let go of his hand, 12 year old Solomon who seemed to be the father to most of the children in the orphanage, new them all by name, gave us a lenghty and detailed tour and told us how he wants to be a doctor, 2 year old Koffe who would not let me put him down, who would not stop kissing me once I gave him one kiss and clung to me for dear life. 7 year old Ava who needed attention so bad she acted like a baby so Jill would hold her and actually fell asleep on Jill’s back during a piggy back ride, 10 year old Emmanual who held my hand even though the other kids teased him for it. He had a shirt that said New York City and I told him that he should study hard and go to college and move to New York and go to broadway shows. And of course 6 year old nameless girl who could not walk and dragged herself along in the dirt to get where she wanted to go, but stopped to smile at us and when we crouched down to say hello. Who worked so hard to lift up 6 fingers to tell us how old she was. These are the children that need homes. And these children are everywhere in the world. From Michigan to China, to Africa to Eastern Europe to South America. No child should walk on a stoney path with out shoes or crawl on the dirt due to a handicap or be so afraid an adult will let go of their hand that they hurt another child. This is not how it is supposed to be. This is not about what we want as parents, as adults. This is about what CHILDREN NEED! OK? Thank you…Good night from Accra…