November 01, 2011

'Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor..'

a couple of days ago i took the boys to play soccer behind our compound.  the neighborhood kids had been waiting for 2 hours but i couldn't leave the house until late morning.  we were greeted on the side road by Gideon (Ogee), Abu and Ema (short for Emmanuel).  they took us to Emil's compound/home.  he wasn't home but it never matters because all of these families are like one family in so many ways -- carrying babies for each other, watching each other's market stand, etc.

at first i went to talk with the jr. youth girls who were watching one of the mama's market stand for her.  once again they all said they want to join and be committed to the group.  it won't start for another week because today there was a Halloween party (4 kids from the neighborhood were invited!).  the girls giggled a lot while the mama across the street kept talking in twi while she 'bathed' right there behind the concrete wall.  i don't know what they were giggling about but it was funny because the young mother kept crouching down as if to hide and then reappear with soap all over her shoulders and neck area.  of course i was thinking, 'gee! this woman has no real privacy.'  life is so completely different for people depending on what they can afford or how they can afford to live.  i'm always impressed at how people adapt perfectly well to taking care of their basic needs.  i know everything is relative..it was private for her, just not private enough for me!

so i walked over to emil's plot of land which is mostly surrounded by a low wall.  as expected, i found the mamas and daughters hanging out in the shade doing various work as well as relaxing.  upon seeing me they gave me the one plastic chair that they have.  the rest sat on low-lying wooden stools.  it was a long-awaited moment for me.  i have been wanting to hang out with them ever since i observed them outside of ayana's bedroom window.  they are a happy, hard-working family.  they grow cassava, plantain, tomatoes, beans and some other veggies.  they created a shower area for themselves outside.  they make 'kenke', a fermented grain from maize and cassava (which is then wrapped in dried plantain leaves).  they keep the kenke in a big metal container.  there are so many ways they organize their lives that fascinate me.  i found myself looking around trying to figure it all out.

initially there was a comfortable silence accompanied by giggling from the younger children (which then made us adults laugh along with them, even though i didn't know what they were saying in twi).  it gradually gave way to questions, answers and sharing together.  i was the one asking the questions and they were the ones appreciating answering them.  they revealed to me 2 thoughts they have about me that were full of kindness.  one was that they observed how i love children and that God will bless me for that.  the other is that they like how i let them touch my hair -- adding that african women will be very defensive if you try and play with or touch their hair.  i wonder what else they are thinking but it will take time to know.  i really like how time flew by quickly while sitting in the shade doing 'nothing'.  i could have stayed there all day, just passing time being together.  someday i'd like to stay long enough to see the cooking done and other activities they engage in each day.

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