Lauren turned around and looked at the two young women. "Are we walking too fast?" I'm not even sure what they said in response, but that's irrelevant. What does matter is that I had the 45 minute tro-tro ride here to think about what taking your time actually means. Just like Lauren, I instinctively assumed the comment was driven by the fact that we were walking at a typical speed, apparently only fit for oburonis (actual plural is obrofo, but whatever). But the thing is, we are always moving faster than the majority of people in Bawjiase. In the past 45 minutes, I have come to these inconclusive conclusions regarding taking your time.
Taking my time means being okay with standing still and watching as the kids play some vampire like game that I don't understand, but enjoying being nothing more than a viewer. I asked a few questions, which aided me in figuring out that vampires were the theme of the game, but I am still not sure I get why they were also running around hitting each other with wooden spears/blocks/pieces. Either way, I allowed myself five minutes of semi-peaceful time to watch over 20 of the children play together with almost zero crying and for once enjoying the experience of having not one child hanging off of me.
Taking my time means sitting in the front row of church for two hours while Vlad and Lauren text each other behind me and the only words I understand are "praise the Lord," "Jesus," and "hallelujah." I prefer to call the two hours a time for personal reflection and not spacing out, but this may be a bit facetious of me. However, I did catch the bit of English letting me know that the topic of the sermon was about information, and I learned that information leads to transformation. I am still not exactly sure what that means.
I took my time when the children and I stopped for 10 minutes while walking to the site. A man was at the top of a coconut tree, and although I am horrible with estimating heights, it had to be at least three stories up. Using shear man power and absolutely no safety precautions he had scaled his way up the tree while toting a machete and proceeded to chop down coconuts. There was a small boy also helping him at the top of another tree, perhaps 20 feet up, and we watched as both chopped coconuts and proceeded to make their way down the trees. The ride home from the site in the back of Prince's truck (the architect) wasn't necessarily taking our time in terms of chronological time, but it certainly was different, and I feel thankful that only two of the children cried, the truck didn't tip over, and I made it out with no actual splinters.
Taking my time meant that I was able to read each and every report card of our school children, and learned that some performed excellently in nearly all subjects while a few failed some classes, and that some things are the same no matter where you are in the world. Jessica "talks a lot in class," and Promise is "quiet and respectful." Akua, however, is "very lazy," and she "needs to work harder." I am so proud.
Finally, taking my time means that I have decided to extend my trip by six weeks, and will now be arriving home on April 18th. I realized that I don't know if this experience will ever be possible again, and the one commitment I had for the beginning of March, despite being really exciting, did not win over time in Ghana. So I will be home a little later than expected, and will be working with the difficult feelings of mourning the complete loss of snowboarding season. For those in the Northeast, I hope that all that snow you got is treating you well, and that you are trying to enjoy it, at least for me.
Thinking of you all!
A few pictures from leaf rubbings, which was relatively successful.
Ezekiel, Kelvin, and Raheal
Kwashi, Akua, John, Ezekiel, and Barbara
Raheal and Ernestina