Today was definitely our “Sunday,” our day of doing the laundry, cleaning the house and tending to the every-few-days chores that keep us from becoming swallowed into a pit of no water in our barrel, no clothes without dirt stains or wretched odor, and dust caking our entire house.
I was mindlessly listening to music as I went to collect our laundry bag when I looked at the graphic on the bag. It had a logo of a vacation destination I had gone to back in high school with one of my best friends, Zach. It had gotten me thinking about friends back home that I’m missing and all the good times we shared. My mind then wandered to making comparisons of Ghana and America which tends to happen frequently enough. I started to think about we Americans (in general) and how we strive for independence in so many ways and how for the last almost 25 years I’ve been working slowly towards such a goal. Even in the pursuit of career, money, wealth, or status we can see the desire for independence to buy what you will/see what you will/or do what you will, and so on manifested. But among many similarities, Ghana seems vastly different in that regards. Independence is not the culture here. In all honesty, I’m not sure which is better or worse, and at times my American independence-seeking mindset will rule my thoughts and actions, but now I am seeing and admiring the beautiful parts of the Ghanaian interdependence. As always there are exceptions, but I have witnessed so many selfless acts from our friends here whom it doesn’t even phase to lend us a hand. Today I went out in the bush with my Ghanaian friend and his little brother for two hours to chop wood for our garden fence. Then hoofed it back a mile to our home with pounds and pounds of wood. Then some more boys came and dug deep into the ground with machetes to put the fence posts in the ground. On a side note, it was truly impressive because this ground makes Oklahoma’s clay soil look like planters soil and they managed it with a machete. Meanwhile this is going on, I look over at the porch and half a dozen girls are helping Kallie with the laundry. Everywhere I turned today it seemed to be just selfless acts and pure enjoyment of each other’s company. I will say from today’s experience that just slowing down enough to recognize the people and unity around you is enough to change your mood and maybe even your outlook for the better. The interdependence of Ghana goes so deep that it affects things such finances, friends, possessions, and food almost all the time. As a very applicable example, if you show up somewhere and fail to greet an individual you better believe you’ll hear about it because you’ve just disregarded the cultural interdependence and now they may think you are rude and/or mad at he or she. So remember to greet folks
if you visit!
Attached is a picture of what the beginnings of our garden I spoke of earlier looks like.