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October 15, 2010

Gone Native

I was at the children’s school waiting patiently outside of the administrative offices … ok, not so patiently, but anyway, I was waiting to get a form signed and stamped.

A caucasian lady came in towing a small boy. She looked around her at the many closed doors. She approached me.

“Where can I get information about registering?” she asked with frustration in her voice.

I pointed her to the correct door and smiled to myself. I remember being there, when everything was unfamiliar. I was harassed by all the things that needed to get done and frustrated by how slowly it was all happening.

When I first arrived here, it took me five weeks at least to get my internet working. This time, it took five hours to get it up and running and then a small … shall we say contribution … to get even better service than I had before.

I look at all the new faces, women protectively shepherding their children into vehicles driven by drivers that they hardly know; looking with amazement at the traffic, hawkers selling on the roads and scenes like this photo; wondering where to shop and eat and I feel oh so happy that I am past that. I am almost native!

On the other hand, I try not to be too complacent. A wise friend said to me:
“In your first year, you know nothing about Ghana.
In the second year you think you know everything
In the third year you recognise that you have learnt nothing at all.

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