Welcome to Ghana.
I can’t even begin to describe my experience here. Surreal. The airport, the heat, the drive, the food (and total lack of it), the police…and the kids. Oh, my gosh, the kids. I’m overwhelmed. What total and complete joy for little people who have NOTHING in the way of physical possessions. My kids wouldn’t last here 5 minutes. For half a second, I thought about bringing them. They won’t come here until they can see it the way I do. There are no snacks, there are no toys, there are no changes of clothing, there is NO medical care. There is only love. And, even that has to be shared 20 ways at a time. There isn’t always a lap when you are hurt, there isn’t always someone to tell you how proud they are, there’s just your basic needs being met. It’s better than the alternative, but it’s not a mom and dad. It’s not what my kids have. I see my kids in every little boy and girl’s face. I realize that with a wave of the hand of God, this could have been them. It makes me want to reach in and grab every kid I can and bring them to America. But, while that’s the answer for some, it can’t be the answer for all. And, it’s not the answer to the overall problem in Ghana. You can’t export an entire country’s children.
I have a little body sleeping next to me. It’s not our GhanaGirl, and it’s not William (who I bandaged, gave shoes to, and got up a walking again yesterday). It’s a 5-year-old girl who shall remain nameless on this blog. She cut her foot on broken glass that litters the ground here. You thought we needed to “go green”. The garbage problem couldn’t be much worse here. This little angel’s foot would have been stitched in an ER in “the States”. Here it got a dirty piece of cloth tied around it, and it oozed for three days until I got here. Her temperature was 101 for the last two days (in already oppressive heat). She’s dehydrated, exhausted and wants a mom. She was scared witless of the abruni (white person) that they told her was going to take care of her. But, a little bit of my crackers and tuna fish cured that.
I now know what starvation feels like. Every time I go to eat something, I have to hide in a corner and shove it in my face. Otherwise, 8 little people gather around me with their hands out, chanting “abruni, abruni, I have some. I? I? I?” Instead of me, they say I. NONE of the little kids know please or thank you. So, that has been instituted by the abruni already, and if they want something, they have to attempt to remember my first name. Hitting each other has also been outlawed in front of the abruni. We thought our kids were bad, it’s like wrestle mania here every two minutes. There was almost a rugby style scrum over a stupid Dollar Tree book that I bought.
Americans have a culture too, and because these children will truly be children of two worlds, I’m going to sensitively teach them about culturally appropriate ways to interact with Americans. I have my work cut out for me.