Akwaaba, Mom!!!

Sorry for the long break in blogging, my mother’s visit from California has taken my attention for the past two weeks. It has been really wonderful having her here! She brought a whole suitcase full of requested goodies from the states. Everything I missed, such as books to read, face lotion, starbucks instant coffee, maple syrup, wet wipes, and an extra special care package from my best friend from high school. I felt very loved. She also brought a package of letters from an elementary school in my hometown, where my good friend Alex teaches. Alex and I have known each other since we were in kindergarten, so it was really great to partner with her for this pen pal exchange. My mom came to class with me and we handed out all the letters, each addressed to a student by name. It was, however, a bitter reminder of the difference in quality of education, since my student had trouble writing back letters that were legible and answering the questions the American students asked. Below is a picture of my student proudly holding up their letters and pictures.

Alex also sent a picture of her class, and my students were very eager to see pictures of their “new friends.”

I had the class sing the song, “The Isty Bitsy Spider”,  for my mother, along with the hand motions, which they learned the week before. Afterwards, my mom taught them “The Wheels on the Bus,” and “ He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands.” The children loved this strangely white haired obruni and asked when she would come back.

That day for lunch I took my mom for her first real Ghanain meal – fufu! Let’s just say she was less than impressed. Although the dish looked beautiful, it was super spicy, which I guess I have just gotten used to. She was also not accustomed to the gooey, stretchy texture of the fufu. The cook, Patience, thought it a special occasion to have my mother there, so she put a cow’s knee in the soup… even I was grossed out by that one.

For Thanskgiving, Kathleen made a real turkey, and I made the stuffing. No pies or cranberry sauce, but you won’t hear me complain. The following Saturday, we took a trip out to Accra for the American-Ghanaian Chamber of Commerce Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. Many of you have read about this one facebook, but I had an incredible “insert-foot-into-mouth” story that night. I was chatting with a nice American gentleman about what I did, just making small talk. I assume he worked in oil or telecommunications, he seemed like that type. So I asked him what he did. He replied with, “I am the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana.” Before I could think, words jumped right out of my mouth, “Shut the front door!!” aka a nice cover for a different phrase. He looked at me with confused and said, “I beg your pardon?” I wanted to melt into a puddle right there on the lawn, but I timidly corrected myself my saying how wonderful that was. I then excused myself to the bar. Other than that it was a really pleasant evening. Below is a picture of Kathleen, my mom, and myself.

On Tuesday my mom and I began out great five day adventure to the Eastern Region of Ghana. Check back soon for my two part posting about our trek!


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  1. Alex Mills says:

    Cooool !! Nice dresses.

  2. Linda Covell says:

    I’m sure I’ll see the proud Momma at church in the future. I want to hear all about her trip. I bet she was a huge hit !
    Have a happy, wonderful holiday, Sy
    (And happy belated birthday!!)
    Linda Covell

  3. Jen Berkley Jackson says:

    Awesome that your Mom was there!!!!!! That suitcase full of goodies must have been just as welcome as her smiling face…Via Coffee…Ahhhh….! :o ) OMG re: JJ’s difficulty with the local delicacy a la ‘cow’s knee’…can’t wait to hear her rendition of things…thx for sharing!

  4. Kevin Brunell says:

    Sy, you are nothing short of fantastic and amazing. I am so moved reading about your adventures.

    1. admin says:

      Thanks, love!!!

  5. Tony Loeb says:

    Great seeing you, JJ, with Sy, whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting as of yet! From all appearances, you two are having an extremely intense and (mostly) pleasurable learning experience! I look forward to a de-briefing upon your return. Best for the rest and your trip back!

  6. Kelly says:

    “Shut the front door!” Classic Sy!

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