À travers des yeux d’enfants (pas mal plus grands!)… [session #3]

Sorry for the late Monday post, I had forgotten my camera in Komoayili, so I had to wait to add the pictures!

I love Ghana.  This weekend, I realized this once again.  Due to the lack of rain and the fact that many of the more experienced farmers were gone on a rice-planting expedition in a neighboring community full of valleys that flood with the ploughing tractor, work on the farm was minimal.  Hence, Saturday I helped inter-crop a bit of maize on yam mounds, and then we just hung out.

Hanging out is simple.  You don’t need to speak the same language.  You don’t need to have the same cultural references.  You don’t even need to know everyone before you jump right into it.  All you need is time and being ready to laugh and share!

Ok so I did share a few cultural references with Lukeman and Mohammed.  Apparently silly gangster pictures are a worldwide accepted standard.  You wear a big hat, you don’t smile, and you preferably shake hands with a fellow gangster.   Repeat.

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After the picture taking adventure, we decided that even though we barely speak the same language, we were in a perfect position to teach me more Dagbani!  Using our small common English (their English skills still outperform my Dagbani), lots of repetition, and all of my charade skills I was able to learn a few new words. Highlights: biyaéné meaning tomorrow and dalé meaning the day after tomorrow.  Perfect words to help me articulate when I need to go back to work after the weekend!

Finally we met up with another friend, Youssif.  Here we tested my deduction skills to their fullest.  I learned how to play Oware, a pretty simple board-esque game played in Northern Ghana.  It’s a board with beans on it, and basically the goal is to capture as many beans as possible.   A few key learning points, turns out the two colours of beans don’t make a difference – it’s simply aesthetic, everyone including the kids want to tell you were to play next – and they don’t always agree, and it’s hard to understand a game when both parties can’t even articulate the winning criterion – watching a few rounds cleared that one up.  Turns out that it’s a lot of fun though, and thanks to my patient friends, I was able to play a game on my own and even win a few rounds!

Playing games is serious business haha!

It’s impossible to be alone or lonely in Komoayili.  Sometimes it becomes a bit much for my Western need for personal space and makes being productive outside of work virtually impossible.  On the other hand, I’ve seen no one that was not included in daily social interactions.  Nobody is alone in their rooms, watching white walls, monitors, or the phone.   It leads to a fun Saturday!

2 thoughts on “À travers des yeux d’enfants (pas mal plus grands!)… [session #3]

  1. Just catching up on your last couple of posts Marc! I really enjoyed this one. I must say, I’m a bit jealous of all the farming you’re getting to do – definitely something I missed out on as a JF, and something I’ve wanted to explore more ever since.

    Great pictures too – American gangster poses are always a laugh! I’m sure these guys would love it if you were able to print a couple to leave behind before heading home!

    • Thanks a lot Rob, it’s always nice to read your comments! Farming is a really good way to understand how farmers we work for actually live. It’s hard repetitive work, but a good way to bond with people – especially over the language barrier – and it can also be a lot of fun!

      On the picture front, definitely. I’m in Tamale this weekend and printed a bunch of pictures to bring back to my community. I’ve been using your trick of giving various children my camera and they’ve been lovin’ it. I’m excited to go back home on Monday to share a stack of photos, they’ve mostly took, with them!

      Hope all the travelling is going well my friend,

      Marc-André

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