So, I've started to get to the jaded/I don't understand/struggle town faze. I know this place functions in a different head space to me, but something's are just too foreign for me to get my head around. What really caused this was last night my 14yr old host sister collapsed because she has been vomiting for 4 days strait. All of the volunteers in our house snapped into action getting paracetamol, gastrolyte and thermometers cause she is seriously unwell. It looks like she has malaria and we recommended that she go to hospital. Instead of getting a doctor, the family got a priest and was making her walk around the living room praying and chanting! She could barely stand and was looking at us with desperation and it broke my heart. I know that malaria is common amongst the locals and its a part of life, but our family can afford health care, but they chose not to. That's what is doing my head in. I don't see how countries such as this will progress and change and develop to an acceptable standard of living if they don't make a choice to do things differently. This morning i managed to give my host sister some gastrolyte to try and rehydrate her and i explained why she needed it and what it would do for her. I think this will be my way of dealing with things - the little victories and the little bits of education i will impart on the children i'm working with and living with.
On a happier note, i gave my orphanage kids 10 little books last week of different Australian animals. The kids loved them, they all read them strait away and swapped them amongst each other! It was awesome! they are so eager to learn and they've been practising their reading with them every day since. As i posted on FB the other day, i also helped with the cooking. Wow that was a hard and drawn out process (similar to doing a whole load of washing by hand). But what shocked my the most to see was the little girls take a "squat" outside, come back in side sit on the muddy floor, help with the cooking then eat with their hands. Hygiene does not exist the way we perceive it. Yet they seem healthy enough - iron immune systems, i tell you what! Some of the kids just come down with raging fevers though, then the next day they are fine - its odd. We've been speculating who we think has AIDS and if this is the reason for their health problems. They are amazing kids - they work so hard running the household - collecting water, cooking, washing their clothes and each other. I was watching our baby feed himself the other day and i was amazed at how coordinated he is. So advanced.
On the weekend a couple of us volunteers went on a road trip to Kumasi which is in the central Ashanti region. Think it may be my first and last adventure..... I am well travelled, but my God travelling here is hard work and frightening! We waited 1 hour for the bus to leave while it filled up then we had the most terrifying 3.5hr journey! road etiquette here includes driving as fast as possible up the rear of the car in front of you then sitting on your horn till they get out of your way! to make matters worse, it was raining so the roads were wet and muddy. i was sitting next to a lovely nun, Sister Agnes, so i was really hoping that God would be on my side and that we'd get there in one piece. We did, however the sister was probably cursing me be cause of all of the blasphemous Oh My Gods that kept coming out of my mouth! Anyway, Kumasi was nice and way more developed then Cape Coast and greener then Accra. We Went to the cultural centre there and got the most beautiful art work - so excited. Did the markets in the morning which was mayhem and when i braved pulling my camera out an old guy came at me yelling and tried to grab it, so that was put away promptly and we left. One of the girls i was travelling with also had a quick visit to hospital... the poor thing suddenly came down with a fever, diahorea and vomiting. Ohh the joys of Africa! She's doing ok now that she has been loaded up with drugs. The ride home was much more of a pleasure given that we forked out an extra $5 and got a seat belt and a sane driver!!!!
Its almost school holidays for our kids so myself and Steph (another Aussie girl at my orphanage) brained stormed some ideas of what to do with them. We are concerned that the girls have now real interests - the boys play soccer and the girls sit around watch, so our idea was to get them into something that is also a "life skill". Our idea was sewing - being a dress maker here is a great career, so during the holidays we want to do a puppet workshop. This is going to be made possible by the lovely help of Naomi, Sasha, Jessica and Lisa who have done some shopping in Adelaide for me and are sending the goodies here via Eddie this week. Thank you so much girls! can't wait to see what you sent me!
Hope everyone is well! Later j