So, we've been in Gblebi, a small rural village at the base of Mt. Afadjato, for a week now, but it feels like we've been here for months! We took a 6 hour non-airconditioned bus journey up to village last week and as we drove though the villages all the local people were shouting welcome and waving at us with big beaming smiles....there are big lush green mountains all around and the air smells so fresh and clean. We are all living in a shared house which is like a courtyard. The only indoor rooms are the bedrooms-everything else is outdoors... Buckets rule our lives as we need them for everything-we collect water from the boarhole, which is only a short walk away but has still made me realise how heavy water is!! We use our buckets of water to flush the toilet, wash our clothes (we hang them on lines that criss cross over the courtyard),brush our teeth and wash ourselves-i actually love having a bucket bath! It's in a little cornered off part of the courtyard with a corogated iron door and you simply take your bucket in there with you and wash away-the best bit is when you pour the remaining bit of water right over your head-cold and refreshing! I still can't believe it's december...I can't imagine pouring a bucket of water over myself in my backgarden in Nelson in the dark!
The lads have made a table to put in the middle so we can play cards-Jamie has also got a guitar so it's lovely in the evenings to sit around, read a book listening to him jamming away-he has even learnt one of my songs on the guitar so i can have a sing-song too! The local community are unbelievably welcoming. As you walk through the village every says Waezor which means Welcome....the other day me and Mervin took a wonder into the village and ended up sat with some locals who were drinking palm wine as they taught us some Ewe, which is the local language.
All the local children are a joy too-i think the fact they don't sit inside watching TV or playing on computer games etc all day long has meant they are so creative and enthusastic. The lads have made a tireswing outside our house and the local children were literally cueing up to have a go, and their faces were lit up when they got off! Oh, and how they love to dance! There is a little bar in the village in like a little hut and it has speakers outside, so when we were all sat having a drink the local children came to say hi and started dancing to the music so I joined in-and I did get slightly worn out!! I definately need to get fit! I've climbed the mountain twice now (once was at 6 in the morning!) and it is exhausting...I have to keep stopping to catch my breath!! But it is beautiful up there-you can see for miles and theres loads of butterflies and birds!!
Anyway, I seem to have got slightly sidetracked by the lifestyle and community-it sounds like we've done no work!! Well firstly, to be honest, we haven't done a LOT...it's so hot here, it's tiring even going to get water BUT we do water the seedlings every morning and night, and we have dug a massive hole with a pick-axe and spades...oh, and we have cut the grass in front of our house where we are going to make a playground-maybe a vollyball pitch....we use machetties to cut the grass which is harder than it looks. you have to keep it really to the ground yet get a big enough swing to be able to cut the grass or weeds...my arms are way too weak!! We will be going into schools after the christmas holidays to teach whatever we want...about the enviroment, conservation, English, Drama, Music....we are also going to visit another community and do a couple of weeks of solid teaching. OOO and we have to perform something on christmas day so as a group we best get our thinking hats on!!
All in all, its a lovely vilage and whilst it's a challenge I am loving it here...nearly christmas time which feels weird as its so hot, but i cant wait to see how it's celebrated over here!! Will write again soon hopefully but hope you all have a lovely christmas and a happy new year!! xxx