How am I going to be able to go home?
The people I meet here, I cannot even,
A stranger in a strange land with a plane ticket home.
This is my life as a student of International Development in Ghana.
Going home without my sorrow,
Going home sometime tomorrow,
Going home to where it’s better than before.
Going home without my burden,
Going home behind the curtain,
Going home without this costume that I wore.
The people I meet here, I cannot even,
I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers
p.p.s. I wrote this a couple weeks back.
I really am dedicated to you, babies.
Maddie is gone, as mentioned, seeing forest elephants (damn her) and recovering from malaria.
Marika is having run ins with the law up in Bolga.
I had shawarma and a greek salad with Irene on Monday, and she’s headed out East.
Holly is less lonely because she gets to debate with Alex about philosophy while I eat.
And I really hope the monster spider dying on my bed room floor kicks the bucket before I get home. K, thanks.
WANEP, the organization that I am doing my placement with, had their General Assembly meeting yesterday and the day before, and holy hell in a hand basket, I am beat. On the 20th, I had to travel across Accra to also represent WANEP at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) to celebrate Women’s Day and Resolution 1325 as well.
It was actually pretty amazing! I got to interact with the National Coordinators and Board Members from across West Africa. I interviewed two lovely National Coordinators, Mdme. Claudine from Togo, and Mr. Ifeanyi from Nigeria, so I can work on my paper. I also got to see Justin, Ghana’s National Coordinator again, and might be heading up to Tamale to do a quick run of the National office.
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of French I could understand. I’m good if I’m listening to a presentation, or can see a powerpoint with French words, but if you speak French to me one on one, I am absolutely lost. The Board member from Niger found that out when she complimented me on my dress. As you can imagine, everyone was lovely, very warm, and funny.
I was almost cut out of the group introductions until Diana, who I spent most of the day assisting, hiss at ED (Executive Director) that he had forgotten someone. Being like the Dad he is, out to equally embarrass and celebrate everyone, he gave a brief little synopsis of what I do and asked me to state my name.
I should have said (in keeping with the joke that English speakers must speak French, and vice versa, and whoever can speak Portuguese wins! running joke)
”Bonjour. Je m’appelle Nora Grant -Young, et je suis une intern at WANEP Regional’s PMC, because that’s how far my French goes!”
Instead of being suave, I said,
“My name is Nora Grant-Young, and I’m the intern” *flash a smile*
Everyone laughed. ED said, “And that’s about how far she goes”. At least they think I’m cute.
There was a lot of stress to it too. Anxiety of not screwing up, running around last minute,talking to new and intimidating people, exhausted and trying to be patient enough to understand French. It also reminded of high school in three respects:
1. Not knowing where, and who to sit with.
2. When sitting with people I work with, they criticized the amount I ate.
3. I was texting Katie. Sitting alone, laughing at our texts, definitely high school.
All in all, enjoyable, worth it, and a great learning experience.
(I thought I was beat? One of the guys I work with just came in, and he is definitely hung over)
Just a quick rundown on WANEP:
WANEP is hard to describe. The West Africa Network for Peacebuiding is a Civil Society Organization established in 1998 to deal with the wave of conflict spilling across West Africa. Each country has a National Secretariat that implements projects and programs to mediate, mitigate, and prevent violent conflict.
I work at the Regional Secretariat in Accra in the Peace Monitoring Centre. I do all the little office jobs you’d expect of an intern, and I also find instances of human insecurity in West Africa, analyze, and report it.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Ask and ye shall receive.
After Maddie left, which seems like forever ago, (but really was only, what, like three days ago?) we got a new roommate.
Now, I couldn’t believe this.
BECAUSE I NEVER SAW HIM.
I swear, Holly got so damn lonely, I thought she made up an invisible roommate, or copied that god awful Robert De Niro/Dakota Fanning movie.
But I assure you, I have met him, and he does exist.
His name is Alex.
He’s part Cuban.
He’s from Jersey. I knew it the moment he said ‘wauter’.
I took one look at him and thought “American”.
Holly heard his accent and told me he was European.
She is the worst.
He graduated from an engineering program last year, but is here to do agri.
He looks like my brother Sean if he had Josh’s colouring.
I like him because, like every good Jersey boy (and boy, do I have Jersey jokes just packed away for safe keeping), he digs Springsteen.
Holly likes him because he’s Cuban.
I hope he’s prepared for all the insanity he has got himself into living on our turf. For example, the many times I tell Holly that I can put my legs behind my head, demonstrate, and just stay there because it’s comfortable.
And God help him for when Maddie and Marika gets back, and bring all the crazy.
I know I am the worst.In the next few days I’ll be posting more blogs to tie you over until new and exciting things happen to me.
Right now, I’m just going to and from work, spending my weekend at the pool, malls and internet cafes because travel takes a lot of work and the shawarma is damn delicious. All hail the Lebanese family that opened Marina’s in the Marina Mall!
The interesting things that happen to me are limited. Usually, I just act weird with Maddie (and when they were here, Marika and Irene), as Holly looks on disapprovingly. January and February have been months dedicated to hanging out with my roomies.
In spite of it all, Holly’s still lonely. She longs for mentally stable people who don’t make faces, dance, sing, chew with their mouths open, or play along to whatever someone says, regardless of its feasibility.
But, like Marika left for Bolga, Irene for Tamale, and Maddie leaves next week for the West.
Looks like Holly will just keep getting lonelier.