I don't remember the last time that I was so self conscious here in Ghana, yet I'm also not sure when the last time I experienced something so entertaining and unique was. This morning I set my alarm for 5:30 AM, which is a time I have only ever woken at (to the best of my knowledge) to get to an airport. I got out of bed at this hour when no one, and I mean no one, should be awake on a Sunday morning, to go for a run.
I don't run. I don't run for exercise, I don't run for fun, and I am not even sure if I would run if someone was chasing me. Given, "running" isn't the most appropriate word to describe what I did this morning, but it's the word most commonly used. I can't tell you too much about Awutuman Future Leaders Association seeing as I don't know much about it, but every Sunday morning they meet at 5:30 AM (which translates to 6:30) and proceed to go for a "run." The women go first, standing in three lines, wearing their white AFLA shirts, and the men follow in a crowd playing a variety of musical instruments. Running back and forth along the parade-like event are people with whistles; gym coaches telling the women to start jogging instead of walking. Surrounded by women of different shapes, sizes, and varying athletic abilities, I wasn't so much self-conscious about being told to run. However, more than anything, the run/jog throughout town is a 30 minute dance parade.
I can't dance. At all. The attention I was receiving because of my skin color was only heightened by the fact that Linda, the woman who owns P-Square (see glossary) was ordering me to dance. "Dance, oburoni, dance!" She grabbed my hips and tried to make them move before giving up with a scoff and a clucking noise. After around 15 minutes I began to warm up to the experience, and by the time we were approaching town I was in enough of a delusional sleep-deprived state to find myself dancing and jogging, yelling at Linda, "Obibini, dance! Run, ntemtem, ntemtem! (run fast!) I attracted a lot of attention, pointing fingers, and laughs, but the beauty of living here is that I attract a lot of attention, pointing fingers, and laughs no matter what I am doing, thus making it virtually impossible to make a fool of myself.
By the time we made it back to the center of town I was sufficiently sweaty and highly energized. There we met up with AYUDA (which, consequently, means "help" in Spanish but is really just the acronym for another organization in town) and proceeded to stand around and be confused with them for half an hour. There was a van in the middle of the crowd which a woman exited, apparently some famous actress, who was there to help clean the town, which was what we did during our running breaks. I don't know if this is a normal occurrence at AFLA or just an every so often event, but when I find the strength to again get up at 5:30 on a Sunday (hopefully by March) I will be sure to post. After awhile Vlad and I got some water and quickly realized we were ready to go back to sleep.
Unfortunately, my decision to attend AFLA meant that I had to forgo church due to extreme exhaustion, so I don't have any new experiences to report on.
Other than going to AFLA, things are still the same here. The children are as crazy as usual, the weather is becoming increasingly warmer and the sun and blue sky are still covered by the Sahara Desert.