Ghana Day Two: “Just a Day”
Hooray! Wi-fi! Small extravagances!
Photos, however, are just not happening tonight. The Wi-fi is very sleepy and keeps drifting in and out.
Today, we rode a bus to Kumasi. That’s it. You can really only plan one activity a day here. It’s a combination of traffic snarls (what our host Peter calls, “go slow traffic”), and just general delays that are mostly unexplained. Everything moves at a pace that seems to suggest that this might be good a day for that activity – but tomorrow would be just as good. It doesn’t really matter.
But today was a good day to take a bus to Kumasi, so that’s what we did for six and a half hours. I won’t explain the traffic delays; they’re so common as to be mundane. But here is a little Ghana thing I love: slogans on the back of tro-tros (overcrowded mini buses) and taxis. The slogans are lettered on the back window. Here is a sampling:
“He’s Able” “By the Power of God” “Do Unto Others” “God is in Control” “As If But Not” (?) “Jesus is Coming” “Pray for Drivers”
And my personal favorite: “Just a Day.” I’d like to meet the guy who decided on that one amidst all the super-spiritual ones beside him on the road. “Think I’ll just tell it like it is,” he might have said. “After all, it’s just a day.”
So today, in Africa, it was just a day. We sat on the bus and were amazed that there was not one stretch between Accra and Kumasi that we didn’t see people walking along the shoulder of the highway: schoolchildren walking in groups, mothers with babies strapped on their backs, men lying on mats (yes, really), several women walking together with water containers on their heads. People, especially children, are everywhere, almost always walking in groups. In the small villages along the highway, people seem to be in close community – groups of ten or more sitting together talking and laughing and watching the children scamper around – like mini campgrounds all along the way. This is a culture that values community and it was evidenced all along the long route from one city to the next. For each one of these people, it was “just a day.” To me, it seemed they were making the best of it, despite the conditions they live in. I’m infinitely curious about the idea that many of the world’s poorest people are also the happiest. Judging from what I saw this day, I think there is evidence that this might be true.
Thank you all for your prayers and your comments on this blog. Erin and I admitted this evening that it feels a little lonely, just the two of us. We’re having a good time, but I was just the slightest bit envious of the campground scenes along the route today. Knowing that you are thinking of us and praying for us means so much.
Tomorrow, we will meet four children, including Samuel, who are in very desperate situations. We will spend some time getting to know them, and then be tutoring them throughout the week. At least, that’s the plan. We’re quickly learning that plans can be changed, amended, or dropped altogether, so stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to find out what we actually did.
Goodnight from Kumasi, Ghana