Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Visit from Family

My aunt and uncle from London came for a few day visit last week!  It was a quick one-week trip, but I think I was able to show them as much of Ghana, the Upper East and my site as possible.  I was spoiled for a few days with their private car (A/C, seat belts, no shoving to get on a tro, no waiting for a tro for hours on end, no crying babies next to you spilling food on you...ahhh it was the life).  But really, if you want to get anywhere in Ghana in a certain amount of time, you must have a private car.  It was lovely.
On Monday they arrived in Bolga midday and I got to show them around the market, showed them tro station and my market car, we sat at the blue bar for a while talking with some other PCVs- one of our fave activites on market day!  Then we drove up to the Burkina Faso border (40 km NW of Bolga), passed through Navrongo and Paga, then we came back to Kongo for a bit.  I introduced them to Christopher at the favorite pito spot, where else?, and they had their first try of pito and saw how its brewed.  We had dinner at Hilltop Spot (between Kongo and Bolga, in Zuarungu) with the driver, Emmanuel.  He and I took banku with tomato stew and chicken, while my aunt and uncle had plain rice with stew and chicken.  I was hoping the man who cooks up delish chicken would be here, but just like many other plans I had, they fell through.  (For instance, my aunt and uncle were going to stay at the mission in Kongo, a two-minute walk from my house.  I asked Christopher months in advance if this would be ok, he said it would be fine.  So a week before their arrival, I told Chris to go reserve a room; someone at the mission said to come a day or two before the arrival to get the room. the day before, Christopher comes to my house at 4 PM and tells me a big group of people are coming to the mission to pray and stay for the week, and there are no extra rooms for my aunt and uncle.  REALLY?  ARE YOU JOKING??  The mission in never filled up, so of course when family comes, it will be booked the exact dates of their visit.  I should have seen it coming though.  Oh Ghana.  So, plan b, find a hotel in Bolga.)
The following morning, we took kwokwo in the market square where I always buy porridge from my kwokwo lady.  (I planned on getting egg sandwiches in the market square, but there were no eggs.  Of course.  Strike three Ghana.)  We then went to Pelungu for their market day, saw Ran at Kongo Senior High on the way, then met up with Melissa and she took us around the market, I bought fresh okra for Esther to prepare for us the next evening.  We had lunch at the red barn where I always get food with Cletus, its always decent.  Today we all had the jollof rice with meat.  Then it was back to Kongo to take more pito with Cletus and Christopher.  We needed to get a guinea fowl for the meal the next day, so we all went to Bongo, which is a town just north of Kongo.  But we had no such luck, all the guinea fowl were bought up.  So it was back to the lodge in Bolga for a nice dinner.
On the last day full day up here in the Upper East, I took my aunt and uncle to Kong-Gorug primary, where I've been doing most of my work so far.  We walked through Kongo so they could see more of the village and surrounding landscape.  They brought children's books for the school, so I was glad to show them where the books where going.  Afterwards, we returned to my compound, and had a spontaneous meeting with the bisnabaa, manga zea and their advisors, from Go-nseung.  I was surprised that Christopher organized them so quickly, but considering my family was in town, maybe I should have expected something to happen this quickly.  But I was glad my aunt and uncle got to be a part of the short meeting; they welcomed me to Kongo and offered me two guinea fowl and 25 guinea fowl eggs-yum!  One guinea fowl went to dinner that night, the other stayed in my compound for another day...
After the meeting, we had a drink at the lodge, then drove back up to Navrongo to see a 100-year-old cathedral.  I had no clue something like that existed up here.  I felt like I was a tourist in Europe for the few minutes we were there- weird.  By then it was time to go back to Kongo for dinner at Christopher's family compound.  I planned the meal with Esther a few days before- tzed, okra soup with groundnut paste and guinea fowl.  Esther prepared the soup, and then when we arrived at the house, I stirred the tzed and fried the guinea fowl.  It was all delicious!  My aunt and uncle even ate with their hands, the Ghanaian way!  By that time it was time to say goodbye since they had to leave for Kumasi early the next morning.  One last beer in town and they were off!
The visit was much needed- seeing familiar faces was comforting and getting their opinions/perspectives on what's happening in my village was very helpful.  Everyone in Kongo was so happy to meet them, and I think they showed them just how welcoming they have been to me.  I think the trip was a real success, and now I know better how to plan for the next time I have visitors from home!

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