Thursday, December 2, 2010

Village Life

Kathleen and I were really captivated by the village life, specifically that of the Nkonya people. The Nkonya people are spread out over a distance of about 10 villages (something like that). We lived with Wes and Katie in Wurapon.

The village we lived in was about 1,200 to 1,500 people. Everyone knows everyone and so when we came to visit Wes and Katie, we received a great welcome from a host of kids and adults.

We liked to go for the off walk in the village so we did that at every opportunity. Kathleen heard that there was to be no hand holding between a man and a woman if you were out in public. I ignored that one but heard about it every time I grabbed her hand. You’d think . . . !?

There was not a lot of color in the village as far as housing was concerned. The streets, if you call them that, walkways perhaps, were dirt red, and the buildings were grey cement or red clay. The roofs had tin on them. Some of the poorer villages used grass roofs. They would have had to change them out every couple of years or so if they were using grass. All of the color was found in the people’s attire. The dresses and men’s wear were a lot of fun to see because they put a lot of effort into making sure they looked really good. The fabrics are amazing and if you wanted to look authentic, you had to wear fabric that was woven in Ghana. It’s quite something to be in the middle of where they go to great lengths to look very well in their dress, yet live in poverty. The women also have hair that is amazing and looks like they spend hours getting it to look that good.

The children that go to school all wear uniforms. A whole host of colourful uniforms throughout Ghana. It was fun to see all the combinations. You can tell those not able to go to school by the kids running around during the day without a uniform. There are many.

We were amazed at how clean their home and store frontage was in this area. Perhaps not so in other areas we would discover during our time in Ghana. As one drove down the highway through the middle of the village, the homes and store fronts, usually one and the same, were absolutely spotless. No garbage. And the displays of fruit were elaborate and no matter what they sold in their small booths, it was displayed and organized with great care.

One day Kathleen and I went for a soda pop (all glass bottles here), specifically a Fanta orange pop. (Yes, I even held her hand and got the lecture.) We found a quaint little shop and recognized one of the customers as a teacher we had met earlier and she helped us buy our first purchase in Ghana. They cost us about 70 cents each. I left some change and the store keeper beamed. There was no room in the little store, maybe 6 feet square. But there was a little bench and we were obliged to sit and drink our warm sodas with the store keeper and the teacher while visiting. It was fun.

Every time we went for a walk we received lots of smiles and hellos. They know we are with Wes and Katie and are strangers in their village. “Stranger” is the only word they have for a foreigner or a guest so to them, us being a stranger among them is an endearing thing and they were very gracious and welcoming to us.

A number of times I would be sitting in Wes and Katie’s home and a guest would arrive to speak with one of them and they would all use the Nkonya language to greet each other. It’s the most amazing language to hear in a greeting. I don’t think they realize this. They spoke in very tender cooing voices back and forth, completely engaged in each other, asking how the other is doing and saying hello to each other. Every time this happened in front of me it was like time stood still until this little exchange was done, of which I was extremely jealous that I was not able to participate. I never heard this type of banter anywhere else in my travels in Ghana, so I was left wondering if it is specific to the Nkonya people.

There are goats and chickens everywhere. I think the population was double if you added in the goats, and perhaps 4 times higher if you added in the chickens. They all seem to know who belongs to who and go home at night, yet I saw very few, if any, pens for all these animals. The male goats were eaten on rare occasions, usually for a celebration I think, unless of course they were the local stud. The females were used for delivering offspring, and were retired after they had put in a good long life of bearing those offspring.

With all these chickens there were also a lot of eggs available. Some of the eggs tasted a bit like fish since that was a staple diet for the chickens. I have no idea where all these hens laid their eggs since they just ran free. Must have been fun attempting to round them all up every day. Either that or they just keep raising chicks. From the numbers, I have a feeling more the latter.

I personally think there are more roosters here than hens because of the racket they start making at 4:00am every day.

This was a beautiful village. I can see why Wes and Katie love being here. They are not strangers here.

I'm not uploading too many pictures here to protect privacy. Most of our village pictures have a lot of people in them like the one example I've uploaded here. She was a store keeper that cooked food for sale.


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