Friday, June 26, 2009
And just like that...
... I am back.
It is really strange, how all of sudden, if feels like I only went for a blink.
The last few days were vary emotional. For me and for my Kopeyia friends.
A few of them had that gaze, the look of sadness, the look if knowing that they will most likely not leave Kopeyia, maybe for the rest of their lives.
The look of having had a month of something a little different, a taste of New York, a quick shake from the ordinary, only to go back to the usual, a life that promises little change, development, excitement...
I am not judging thier life style. Just recognizing the look because I have been seing on Serbian people for years when there was no possibility for them to travel.
Most of them don't have passports.
The headmaster asked me before I left - "what usually occurs on the airplanes?" And "Was this your first time on the plane?".
I said it wasn't, but consoled him that it was the longest flight I have been on.
The kids all gave me a warm good bye and I promised them to come back. They have never been on "stage" before and Kopeyia never had a performance before ever. For days after "that Friday" (as they refer to it) I have been running into people asking why they haven't been invited to such a great event.
When I go again - I will start a festival. Along with the music tech program, so I'd seriously appreciate any direct contact with someone in marketing in apple.
The night before I left, a young lady, named Gifted, came by the center, politely knocked on my door: "Madame"
I was happy to see her. She was this beautiful girl, with sparkling eyes. We once had a conversation, and she asked me if I had children. I explained to her that I didn't and that I wasn't married.
It is very unusual in Ghana, and at the beginning I felt really uncomfortable saying it. I felt like lying. And making it all something other then my choice.
But I realized - That's exactly why I was there. Not to try to become African (though I really hated being THIS white in some occasions), not to adopt their customs if I don't like them (but yes - to learn about them) - but to tell them about mine.
It was not my gaol to teach few classes at school, but to use the time to educate them about the rest of the world, or as much of it as I know. To give them INFORMATION.
So when Gifted and I had a conversation about my being single and childless, I told her that there are places where that it not such an unusual thing.
She explained to me that in Ghana, women are many times ridiculed and sometimes punished for not having children or husbands.
Then she walked away and I thought I lost her kinship.
So when she knocked on my door that evening, I was really happy to see her.
"I will miss you so much" - she said.
I told her I would miss her too (as I do, right now as I am typing this).
I asked her if she liked books and she said yes. I gave her a copy of Maya Angelou's "All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes", which I had just finished reading a few days earlier.
I think she will like it.
She gave ma CUTE necklace with a huge pink sparkly hart pendant and asked if I had another blank thank you note so she can write one. (I asked a few pupils to write a thank you note to my sponsors).
That evening, the entire village came out to say goodbye, including the kids. I bought as many beers, malts and fantas as I could (I had only had a few Cedis left, and had to save 20 for my trip to Accra the next day) and everyone shared.
I also brought out a bunch of small gifts and everyone picked what they liked.
Victoria came all them way form another town.
It was a great night.
I spent the next day in Accra and it was truly unforgettable.
I realized that I had missed and needed a bit or urbanity, in order to keep the balance. So I fully got it that day. I had gotten together with someone I met a few weeks earlier at the Internet Cafe, and we spent the day at the beach, with a group of his friends - playing, singing, dancing. We visited his family house and had a traditional meal his mom made.
He gave me a fabulous drum his friend made.
And in the evening we went to the greatest beach party I have ever seen, with a big reggae band, tons of people jamming and dancing, drinking and eating. It was a warm and cloudy night. It was perfect. Everyone was happy. I was ecstatic.
No pix from there - by the final days I felt so integrated that camera didn't fit anymore. And some of the most precious moments will remain undocumented. Digitally. But the prints of them are all over my smiling face and heart.
And now - for planning the return!!!!