My beloved pal Patricia is serving a 2 year stint with the Peace Corp in South Africa. She started out in Ghana but was later moved due to some medical issues that made it advisable to be closer to doctors in case she needed them. (Many people would have seen her circumstance as valid reason to high tail it back to the states, but this is one gutsy, determined lady who is tenacious as they come.)
This is something she shared in a recent e-mail:
Meantime, let me share a few of the interesting ways my villagers "make due": remember my story of the game with the deflated soccer ball? well here's an even better one I forgot to share ... the small boys who don't have soccer balls at all will fill a plastic grocery bag with many other bags and form it into a uniquely "round" shape, tape it up, and off they go down the road, kicking it around with the best of them; all of the people who don't have cars, or donkey carts, have wheelbarrows ... these they take to town on market day, fill it full of rice sacks and bags of maize, and wheel it back home again; when someone wants to make an announcement to all the village, they drive up and down the dirt roads with a bullhorn, blasting out the news or invitation or announcement ... of course I never know what they are saying, but I can still admire the effectiveness their efforts; I told you how the women sweep their dirt yards daily to keep it beautiful and free of debris ... well, when fall arrives and many of the trees started dropping their leaves, the ladies just have a fit ... they have solved the problem by getting the men of the village to climb the trees and saw off ALL the limbs ... that'll take care of those damn leaves! ... now our village has bare, ugly tree trunks in every yard, but the ladies are happy again; I often see the little kids, including the boys, wearing the clip on bread tags as earings; and I just love watching mohau and makuba playing in the yard, especially when they can't see me watching ... they can spend all morning entertaining themselves with nothing more than some sticks, rocks, mud, a broken plastic scoop and a rusty piece of pipe ... they are always singing, laughing, skipping, marching ... mohau leads, makuba follows faithfully.
And just to make you feel a little better about your gas prices, the cost of gas here is $5.65/gallon!
Kind of puts my circumstances here in this cushy land of abundance in perspective, don't ya think?