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Sep
08

Just like Forrest Gump


Last night Nick (a fellow volunteer) and I decided to go for a jog around the “neighborhood”. It is funny how even something as seemingly simple as exercise can turn into a noteworthy event.  As we left the compound I tucked a sachet of water into my sports bra. If I haven’t mentioned it already, water is sold here in small bags, about the size of a sandwich bag. It is really convenient storage when you are on a run.

NIck with satellite in background

We wanted to see if we could get close up to the satellite by our house. Apparently it  supplies all the television satellite connection for the entire country. It is massive, I would say fifteen stories tall.  We set out down the red turn road with it’s pits and puddles. The road turned through villages with their mud walled huts with the grass thatched roofs. Women were washing clothes in buckets (as I have been) and children played soccer in the mud (or football, as they call it here). As we ran through the villages children shouted and ran after us. After a while I looked back to see maybe twenty kids all running barefoot behind us. I felt just like Forrest Gump. :)

The children laughed and fell behind eventually as we ran and they waved good-bye until I saw only colored speckles in the distance behind.

Nick soon got a stomach cramp and told me to run on without him. As I circled back to the main road from the villages I slowed my pace and my energy dropped. I haven’t exercised since I have been in Ghana and for the months before, when I was in California, I was only doing work out videos with my sister-in-law because of my shin splints. I am very happy to say that with my new running shoes and the give of the red dirt I run on here that I don’t have shin splints here in Ghana.

As I slowed to a walk and felt my energy plummet, a lanky Ghanaian man crossed my path. He watched me walk for a bit and then said in broken English, ” Come now. I run with you!” I laughed as he started jogging. Soon I started to catch up with him and his jog turned into a run. I could tell he was pushing me, this stranger in thread bare flip flops could easily outrun me. I could feel my chest burn and my feet turn into blocks of cement, but I was determined to keep in with him.

Eventually I broke down, gasping, “Enough, I must stop, ” almost imitating his accent. I notice I do that a lot here, as if I  would be assimilating if I use a fake accent, it is kind of silly. I pulled out my bag of water and bit into the plastic, tearing it to alleviate my thirst.

He laughed and started to walk with me, introducing himself as I walked back into the compound. Nick made it back to the house a few minutes later, telling his own story of the girls he met on his walk back, and his promises to bring them sunglasses and lollipops the  next time he passes them.

2 comments

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  1. Susie Sahim says:

    It’s very interesting to read about your adventures in Ghana. Please keep posting updates!

  2. Donna Spencer says:

    I love this story! I love the people of Ghana as well. Your descriptions of them are heartwarming and wonderful; great way to start my day. Thanks.

    PS Nick is a cutey pie!

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