Wow, it looks like John White gets to start this one off. Jenny had found that at 9:00 sharp, CSI is on at the hotel. I will let her indulge herself in the drama of CSI while I start the blog for today.
This morning we went to the orphanage and hung out with the kids there all morning. Nothing spectacular happened but we had a good time. At about 11:30 we took the kids and walked back to the hotel and watched a movie while once again the kids ate some Kankee we bought on the street during our walk. I know that stuff is disgusting but it is so cheap and the kids love it. They watched the movie and just enjoyed the quiet time with Mommy and Daddy while we waited to go back to the Ramada to go swimming at what the kids call “Circle Beach”. (The pool) we got there about 2:00 and the kids and I swam until about 4:00 and then we ordered a wonderful dinner. (It takes over an hour to get it so we ordered it early). They once again had Goat soup and Banku, while Jenny and I split a pizza. Like I said earlier, it was just kind of a nice, quiet day. The four of us spent some alone time together and we are not talking about it but we all know that Monday will be here before we know it. The kids were well behaved but are starting to get quiet again.
We found out that Delight and Courage are from the exact same tribe in the Volta Region. We learned last night that Courage’s mother was very, very sick when the social worker came and picked him up. (One year ago in October). When Delight started to talk about their village, Jenny asked if she knew Courage all her life and she said yes. I asked if she knew Courage’s parents, and she said that she knew his mother. I looked at him and immediately he got very quiet and just lay down on the bed. I’m assuming that his mother died shortly after he was put into the orphanage but I can’t imagine what the past couple years would have been like for him. Maybe someday they will talk about it.
That was the first time Delight has talked about their village. We had a wonderful day, and walked the kids back to the orphanage tucked them in. Tomorrow night we are planning on letting them sleep at the hotel and see how that works out. We are going to go to a church we found that meets at 10:00 and the kids are excited to see what Primary is all about. That is why we will be having them sleep over so we don’t have to go get them Sunday and take them in the middle of their church. I’m sure it will be great.
I did get a glimpse of what goes through the mind of these kids while they wait for things to happen on our part. When I was tucking in the kids, and I went into the room of the little girls, as always they started jumping off the bunk beds into the air and onto me so I can give them a big hug and kiss goodnight. I noticed one of my many favorites (Believe) didn’t do it tonight. She is the sweetest girl. She wasn’t crying but was lying on her bed and looked like she was about to start at any time. I went up to her and kissed her on the cheek and asked what the matter was. She said that she wanted to talk to her mommy. I am Facebook friends with her mommy so I took her down stairs to see if we could Skype with her. I did catch her with a FB message but she was 10 minutes from home. Believe was so tired that I knew she wouldn’t make it 10 more minutes. I just took a quick video with my camera of her saying “Goodnight” to her new mommy and daddy, and told them that she is excited to see them next week. I attached the video to an e-mail and sent it to her mommy. That did the trick; she just wanted some sort of communication to remind herself that this is real, and that she is really coming.
My feelings returned of the first few nights we were here, and I feel deeply the injustice of all this. Why does there have to be so many kids go to bed hungry, and so many kids go to sleep without someone telling them they are loved and making sure they are comfortable and safe? Why does God let this happen? It gives a new meaning to the scriptures when we read, “Feed the hungry”, “Clothe the naked”, “Cry with those that cry”, “mourn with those that mourn”, “Comfort those that stand in need of comfort”. I think Christ tried to teach us about all this need and told us to do our part. It doesn’t mean that everyone needs to go to Africa in order to save the world, but we need to look in our own families and our own neighborhoods, and find a need and fix it. I think that we as Americans need to do a little more, and be a little bit better. We have been blessed with so much, and (I will speak for myself) sometimes don’t take time to look around and ask, “What can I do to make the world a better place”?
I don’t know where I am going with this, but these past two weeks have been such an eye-opener to me, I hope I don’t just go back to my little life, and my job, and daily routine and forget what I have seen and felt. I will try my best not to forget.
Jenny says: Well, I’m getting a good suntan. At least I’ve got that going for me. We did take the kids swimming again, but we were the only people at the pool and that made it a little boring. And that dinner we ate there: I had to close my eyes and find a happy place to eat it.
The fries were terribly undercooked and the pizza had this meat junk on it that left pink stains on the cheese and crust when I picked it off. I was starving, though, so I had to just chew and pretend it was a Wilderness Garlic Extreme from Idaho Pizza. Talk about some serious mind control!
So, John told on me for being a little OCD about making it back to the hotel to watch CSI. I’ve sworn off the show completely when I am home, but here, it is my absolute only option. Since he blabbed about what I watch at night, I wonder how he’ll feel when I tell all of you that he’s become a devoted fan of Spanish soap operas translated into English? Oh, and the African soaps are even more entertaining. The worst acting you can imagine and the story lines are so out there you laugh almost until you cry. Good times!
I caught Delight working on her flash cards more than once today. She still struggles with about 50% of the words, but tonight I found out that little Richard can read very well and can help her with her words when I go home. These kids don’t speak English as a first language (Courage and Delight spoke only Ewe [their tribal language] until about a year ago). So some words are not even in their vocabulary. “Tip,” “fit” and a couple others. We played a little charades to help them understand. I think she’ll be very good with her cards really soon. I wish I’d have bought more paper; I could’ve made more cards with tougher words for when she masters the ones she has. (A note about the word “flash.” When these kids are about to toot, they say, “I have to flash.” It is a hilarious use of the word and every time I say “flash cards,” I get a strange look followed by a shy little giggle. Funny, huh?)
Courage really irked me today. I was laying on a lounge chair at the pool with my eyes closed, but not sleeping (mostly trying to keep the blasting hot sun out of them). Out of nowhere, he ran up to me and went airborne. He landed with his bottom right in my guts. Oh my gosh, it hurt so bad. I grunted and tried not to cry, then looked at him and said, “Courage, SIT DOWN right now!” He tried to do his shuffle-dance-laugh routine that usually makes me laugh. But I was in no mood to laugh right then. Truthfully, I wanted to pick him up and catapult him into the pool. John jumped in and told him he’d better sit down. We’d been having trouble with him being a little over-the-top with his rambunctiousness today, and the butt-to-the-gut was the last straw for me. I didn’t yell at him, but he could tell from my tone and the look on my face that I was not amused.
When we took them back to the orphanage, he could hardly stand up while we looked at some Facebook messages on the computer. I picked him up and snuggled him on my lap; he was three sheets to the wind within no less than 7 seconds, no joke. I was scratching his hair softly to keep him lulled asleep on my lap. Suddenly, his eyes shot wide open and he said, “I’m going to flash you.” He tooted on my leg and then fell right back to sleep. He was genuinely concerned because he knew what was coming and wanted to warn me. I laughed hard on the inside, but didn’t want to wake him, so I did my best to maintain my composure. Crazy antics and all, you’ve just got to love that kid!
We had a couple of questions from yesterday’s entry. Cherie and Amy, they do speak English and understand more than they can verbalize. It works best for us if we speak slowly to them. People here in Ghana tell us that we speak VERY FAST. That’s funny, because I thought the same about them. I have to watch their lips a lot to make sure I understand everything they say. Delight knows more English than Courage. When they speak to each other, it is always in Ewe. John keeps telling them to “speak English. I can’t understand the Boogaly-Boo.” He got that from Jason.
And finally, I told Grandma Zina today that I was so hungry I would eat a plate of mashed potatoes. Anyone who’s ever eaten a Sunday, Thanksgiving or Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner with me knows that I must be at my wits end down here with the food to admit I’d eat mashed potatoes. Yep, I am…