Please excuse grammar, spelling, etc.
I got to sleep in. Ive been sharing a room with Liv for the last couple of nights. She sleeps longer than Laurel. I'm not sure what time she woke up, I didn't bother to check the time. We were not headed anywhere today. When I woke up the kids were sitting nicely on the couch. Livia and Liam were watching Cars 2 on grandpas iPad. Laurel was watching The Incredibles on her parents iPad. I made some Ovaltine for them. Yum.
I organized my suitcase a little. Then went back to the living room. Livia started watching The Jungle Book. I sat with her, but soon fell asleep.
After my nap, I had bread with pb and jam. Then watched The Jungle Book in my room.
Later in the afternoon my uncle George, his wife Mabel, and the kids stopped by for a visit. On the tv was FIFA football. A game from the 2009 under 17 championships (I believe). Then beach football, which I have never heard of. Russia beat Brazil.
My cousin Precious prayed for me.
After they left, the kids were playing outside. Good old fashioned skip rope. The adults even joined in. It was fun.
The sun had faded and the mosquitoes were starting to come out. That was our cue to head inside.
My dad walked us to the seamstress' house. It was only 6:30, but we needed a flashlight. We passed by my uncle Kofi's and he joined us the rest of the way. We found out Deborah's food stand had been robbed tonight. Such a shame.
We told the seamstress what we wanted and left the material with her. We headed back home. My uncle Kofi walked us much of the way home.
I depart tonight. This trip has gone by so fast. Just like summer. I can't believe its August 26.
Livia is excited to have her own room. She says she is going to rearrange it. There is only a bed and chair. Not much to rearrange.
My uncle George picked up the Kenny's, they are headed to Accra. They are meeting another seamstress to make a couple items.
I'm sitting outside one last time. It is sunny with a bit of cloud.
I had a little nap after lunch. The Kenny's are back.
Hugs and kisses. 'I miss you', says Laurel. It is 3:30 and I am headed to Accra with my uncle George and dad.
I will pass by gutters full of garbage, chickens, goats, and cows for the last time.
We arrived at the airport at 4:30. The line for check-in was already at the back of the airport. Delta check-in is from 4:30-8:10. An hour and a half later I am finally checked in. Near the end of the line I watched as airport staff went through baggage. I prayed my bag would not opened. They had no disregard for people's possessions. My bag was only swiped with a small cloth like material, then the lady scanned the piece of cloth. My clothing is ok, she said. One of the workers read my luggage tag, 'you will not look good in my clothes'. He said to me, 'you don't think I will look good in your clothes'. I replied, 'not unless you like skirts and dresses'. This provided some comic relief while waiting in that dreadful line.
We are now headed for something to eat. I have to be back at the airport by 8:30. That is when the gate closes for passengers on this flight, destination New York.
Supper was at a restaurant near the house in East Legon. My last meal in Ghana was jollof and chicken fingers (real chicken). This was washed down by some good ol' Fanta. We sat outside on the patio. They were playing the Manchester United vs Chelsea game on a projector outside. 0-0 when we left. We dropped my dad off at the mall (across a busy street - it would have taken too long to drop him off at the doors).
The line at immigration and security was much less hectic then downstairs. Once through, I made my way to gate 4. Another line had formed. Airport staff checked our passport one more time. Then our carry-on luggage was checked and we were searched. I now wait in a sectioned off area. The game is on. It's still 0-0.
Game over. It's a draw.
I had to use the 'toilets' as they are labeled. It was 9 and boarding was to begin at 9:15. I hate airplane bathrooms, so I decided to leave the gated area. When I returned I had to go through security again. The lady remembered me, so she didn't do as thorough a job as the first time.
Shortly after this boarding began. We walked down a flight of stairs to a bus, took a 60 sec ride to the plane and waited. We could see up into the plane and first class passengers were already on. What was the holdup? We waited for a few minutes, then a stampede up the stairs.
I'm at a window seat at the back of the plane. I told the gal beside me I like her dress. It was made by her friend.
There is a girl a couple seats ahead who looks like Philomina (from the back). She opened her month. A heavy southern American accent.
The plane shut down before we left the 'gate'. I heard the pilot say something about paying the bills, but it was so quite I don't know if he was talking to the co-pilot. Not the most comforting feeling right before you are about to take off.
The flight was relatively uneventful after this. I woke up once. Had a hard time falling asleep, but that's it. There were two babies on board. One I didn't hear a peep out of. The other, well you know.
August 27. At JFK, through customs. Bus ride to my terminal. And Starbucks (thanks to one of my track kidlets).
I was trying to download a Q podcast, it started playing and I quickly stopped it. The man beside me asked if I like Jian. Yes. He said he was interviewed by Jian. He described the studio. I didn't get a chance to ask his name (or what he does). He is sitting in first class, they just got called up.
The girl on the other side of me is from Regina. She was just in Cali. I told her I liked her shoes (Converse). She told me she got them in Cali. I told her we have them in Canada as well. Then she asked where I'm from. SK. Then she said she is from Regina. The first person I have 'met' where their final destination is Canada.
I slept most of the way MSP. I don't recall anything interesting on the flight. Must have gone off without a hitch.
At the MSP airport I tried to catch up on email, but the wifi was spotty. I listened to a podcast and waited around. While at the gate I ran into a fellow Saskatonian (sp?) . She and a friend were just on their way home from a little vacation.
I often scan the airport looking for familiar faces, but never do I actually see someone I know.
On the flight to Saskatoon, I sat beside a young fellow. He offered my peanut m&m's. So good. It was harder to sleep on this flight. Hopefully I will sleep well tonight.
After a quick customs check I was on my way. My mom picked me up and we headed home.
I'm a little stuffed up. I started sneezing yesterday morning. No one else in the house was sick. I also found a strange bite on my arm. I only got bitten a few times while in Ghana and they were all around my ankle. Hopefully nothing to worry about.
So ends this journey. Thank you for reading along with me. In retrospect I should have waited to post, until I confirmed all names, facts, etc. I'll likely go back and rewrite (make corrections, edits, add maps, etc).
Please excuse grammar, spelling, etc.
There is a lizard in my room.
Today was the longest day so far. My uncle George picks us up around 9:30 and we are now just back at 6:30.
We managed to squeeze 6 people in the back of his car (Ivy, Laurel, myself, Livia, uncle Kofi, and Liam). Driving was uncle George and in the passenger seat was Adam. My dad stayed back. In the car my sister was trying to figure out our family tree. We have a lot of aunts and uncles therefore a lot of cousins.
On the highway we saw pepper farms and rice farms. A line of red could be seen along the road, where the peppers were being dried.
Today we went to the village where my grandfather was born, Mepe (on my moms side). Our first stop was at our grandfathers house. There we met my great uncles children. It was a short visit. After this we headed down to the river for a short walk. Along the way, in the alley we saw two monkeys tied up on the fence. I assume they are used for pets. After our walk we passed by a lady selling jewelry. The Kenny's picked out bracelets to purchase.
We then went to a little court yard where we met a great uncle along with many other people. A few words were said, a prayer, and a drink was offered. Gin, I believe.
The Kenny's went back for their bracelets.
It was time to head home. But not before lunch. We drove for what seemed like hours. I fell asleep for part of the ride. We went to a place near both the ocean and Volta River.
At the village and at lunch there were some tears. At the village the kids were told not to touch anything. They were all doing so well. When we went to the river, Livy was about to touch something and we all started to call her. She got upset because she thought we were mad at her.
At lunch I was the one crying. During my time here I have rarely thought about home. I have had no worries. I realized I only have a few more days. When I get home my worries will be waiting for me.
It was a long day in a hot car with six people in the back. I was tired, hot, and overwhelmed.
After lunch we crammed into the car and started on the last stretch. Uncle George took short cuts whenever he could. The kids did well considering our situation. Livy has heat rash and was also upset and a little tearful. It must be quite uncomfortable.
The girls had talked about coconuts all day. On the way home uncle Kofi spotted some and bought some for the girls. They were so happy.
We are home now. I am tired.
At the supper table my dad is telling us stories about the families.
I think the music coming from the house I spoke about on day 8 is actually a church. I can hear drumming once again. It is worship night.
My cousin Philomina (sp?) is here. She's been here for a few days. Since day 13 or 14. I've lost track of time.
Wedding day. I'm wearing makeup for the first time. We'll see how well this goes. I'm sure it will melt off in a few hours, if not minutes. We have two cars today. The driver (Qwami), my dad, Livia, and myself in one. Uncle George, Adam, Ivy, Liam, and Laurel in the other.
The ceremony had already begun. We sat in the back of the church for the remainder of the service. There was a choir (from what I could see it was all boys). When the choir sang or the couple exchanged vows there were many people that went up to take pictures. Very unlike any wedding I have been too. There were a few people within five feet of the bride and groom. The reverend made a comical comment and everyone backed off. One professional photographer worked the room. During communion (a catholic wedding), the bride and groom made their way down the isle picked up the elements and made their way up the isle. Before this, the choir sang and people got up out of their seats, made their way to the front of the church, and back to their seats. Singing the whole time.
I noticed the couple is a little older or at least look to be. I still have hope.
Immediately after the service, we made our way outside. Formal pictures were taken. We were in the one with the brides family, Pearl is our cousin on our dads side.
We met some more family. Refreshments were served. We were formally introduced to the bride and groom. The photographer took pictures (with my camera as well - I'm sure he was pleased). Pearl said she would come and visit us. I will probably be gone.
We left shortly after this. There were a few places we planned on going before I leave in on Monday.
First stop was the 'house' we stayed in before heading to Canada in 1981. The house is located in Nima (Accra). My second cousin Lucy and her father were there. This was a surprise visit. Lucy was very excited. An older lady was there, she recognized my sister right away.
We then headed to the arts centre (market). I was there on day 4. This time we actually went into the market (much bigger than I thought). Last time we only walked around the perimeter. As usually everyone was trying hard to sell their items. My dad and uncle George would let us know if they were asking a fair price. They would barter until we got a better price.
After this we drove around the city. I saw the hospital I was born at, then we went to the complex where my family lived before I was born.
We are now at the mall (well our car is - I'm sure the other car is home by now). Liv and I stayed in the car, while my dad is picking up a few things. We got out once to go to the washroom. Livia knows how to squat. Her mom taught her. I have been to the Accra Mall more times in three weeks, then I have been to any mall in Saskatoon in the last three months. I don't have the exact stats, but I imagine this to be true.
I was wrong. The other car was here with us. They bought beef and chicken patties from the food court. Something to tide us over before we get home.
Tears. Livia lost her tooth, or rather pulled it out. More tears.
(The tears are unrelated to the tooth).
Please excuse grammar, spelling, etc.
I was able to sleep in today. Laurel woke up at 6 we talked for a bit, then she went to her parents room. I fell back asleep until 9 I think. My uncle Kofi (Emmanuel) and a few others came over this morning. My dad's cousin Francis also arrived at the same time. My dad and Francis had not seen each other since they were 9 or 10. They have spoken over the years, but this is there first face to face meeting in decades.
My uncle Kofi took us to a seamstress to pick out patterns for some clothing. The whole gang joined us. It was a short walk in the hot sun. We were there for quite some time. Once we were finished, we made a stop at his house. He is building it with money my mom sends home. It is a two story home that has been in construction for a year I believe. Housing is expensive, it can take years to complete depending on your situation.
There is a house across the street. My uncle wanted to introduce us to the couple that own the house. We went inside for a few minutes. Then bought some cookies from their store (attached to the house).
I wasn't feeling well. At first I thought I was just hungry. The cookies did not help. We were on our way home. Passed by Deborah's stand where she sells food. My sister was buying something. I got sick on the side of the road. I think it was a combination of my anti-malaria pill and the heat. (I also got sick the day before I left for Africa).
We walked home and I went straight to bed.
While I slept the kids played. My cousin Evelyn came by. My uncle George stopped by, he and my dad went to town to buy some food, water, etc. I woke up just in time to meet my cousin before she went home.
Another common phrase I have been hearing, 'you are invited'.
I forgot to mention we were serenaded with Celine Dion music at lunch on day 12.
Uncle George picked us up. En route to Akuse. We stopped at his house. Three of his children were there, Precious, Nicholas, and Joshua. His oldest, Foster, is a police officer and works in a different town. We took a few pictures and are on our way.
Today we picked out our fabrics for clothing we are getting made. It took awhile as there was so much to choose from. I'm getting a dress and a skirt. The kids met auntie Mabel (uncle George's wife).
Now we are at uncle George's work. The Kenny's are getting a tour. I decided to sit this one out. I toured on day 6.
After the tour we went for lunch at the Maritime Club and headed home. It was a full day.
At lunch my uncle made fun of me for writing in my 'journal'. He asked if I was writing a report. Basically yes.
Today: Like most, I'm trying to figure things out. Sometimes that's day by day, moment by moment, and even breath by breath.