Happy New Year!!
They say how you spend New Years reflects how you will spend the remainder of the year. Looks like 2012 will be spent dancing amongst hundreds of Ghanaians. I don’t hate it. The group of dancers that performed the other night at our guesthouse attended the same New Years party and we were lucky enough to witness another performance. This time, I was the first American invited to the dance floor to dance with them, which I consider to be an honor. In typical American fashion, we took over the bar and nearly bought the place out. Always making good impressions abroad.
At one point, a man was setting off flares from his motorcycle; a few of us approached him and asked him if he had any more for us. He did not, but he graciously made a trip to the nearby market and bought a bunch for us. So I have officially set off fireworks in Africa now. Midnight rolled around so of course we all counted down and started spraying one another with champagne. All of the Ghanaians saw us and started shouting, “This is how the Americans do it!” So they vigorously shook their beers and drenched the crowd in a lovely mix of champagne, beer and assorted beverages. It was one of the most interesting and fun New Years celebrations I’ve ever had, that’s for sure.
Knowing full well that we planned on celebrating New Years, our leaders gave us the morning off. The kitchen staff had the day off, so our leaders prepared a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which hit the spot. We practiced making alum balls, a chemical that causes dirt particles to bond together and sink to the bottom of a container. We will be using the alum to treat the turbid dugout water once we begin working in our village. Although I am not science-oriented in the least, it was so cool to watch. We let the water sit for a few hours then scooped out the non-turbid water and treated that with chlorine to kill all the bacteria that remains. It’s a very simple but extremely effective way to clean water; it’s also easy to scale up and use at a community level once we train the women and teach them how to use the chemicals.
I was sick (again) in the afternoon, so I slept through all of the scheduled activities. I felt a bit better come dinnertime and joined the rest of the group for dinner in town. Most people, nostalgic for American food, ordered pizza; the thought of cheese in and of itself made me nauseous, so I stuck to rice and some hummus. The food was excellent and our group is finally starting to come together, so it was a great time. Afterwards, a bunch of us got together in our cabin and played a hilarious game called Things. Board games have been big this trip, particularly Bananagrams, Apples to Apples, and this Things game. It feels like summer camp all over again.
Hope everyone had fabulous New Years celebrations!