It’s a Doggy-Dog World

Before you try to tell me I got the saying wrong…I know, I am merely quoting Gloria from Modern Family.  Also, this post is not about some awful incident leading me to believe it is a dog-eat-dog world; it is simply a post about my new dog Baxter! I bought him for 5 Cedis last weekend, gave him a bath to rid him of his fleas, and took him home.  For those of you who know about the Xena/Zorro incident, yes I double-checked that it was a he.  I pondered for a while about what to name him, finally coming to the conclusion that I would name him after the poor dog punted off of a bridge after a tragic burrito-motorcycle accident (see Anchorman).  Unfortunately, I soon learned that Ghanaians do not know the name Baxter and cannot pronounce it properly, a combination of circumstances leading everyone to believe I have named my dog “Bastard.”  He already answers to it, so no, I won’t be changing his name.  He is tiny; so small, in fact, that when he eats, his stomach expands like a balloon until he can no longer walk and has to sleep it off, so we have that in common.  We like to take food coma naps on the couch after lunch, making the two of us a match made in heaven.  Gosh, I really don’t understand why my boyfriend thinks this dog is replacing him.

Now I like to believe that Karma is a real thing, and that we get back just what we put out into the world.  That is why I just can’t understand why my good Karma with dogs has not transferred over to cows.  I was riding my bike back from a health club meeting a few days ago, and out of nowhere came a herd of cows running through the road.  As agile as I am on my bicycle, as I weaved in and out, I hit one.  I have never been in a car accident in my life, but now I have been in a cow accident.  The cow was completely un-phased, uttering a quiet “moo” as it continued on its way.  The two boys shepherding, however, will never let me forget it.  Choking on their laughter, the pointed and screamed at me in Dagaare, words I couldn’t translate but could very clearly understand.  I used to like cows.

On a more serious note, I have started a huge project to build about 300 latrines in Eremon.  The registration in under way and the grant is in the process of being written.  Once everything has been approved I will publicize all the details and let you all know what you can do to help, if you’re interested, of course!


Anybody Want a Peanut?

Here in Eremon, the crops are growing, school is back in, and the number of projects that are in the works right now is a little overwhelming.  I have given a couple talks during Sunday market, the first of which involved demonstrating how to hang a mosquito net, while the second simply demonstrated what I like to call the “Ghanaian mob effect,” which occured while giving out free samples of Neem Cream (home brewed insect repellant).  I have never in my life been touched by so many people at once, and I can’t say that I liked it.  I am also back to attending Women’s Group meetings, one of which resulted in me returning home with a sack of beans and three yams (which I have no idea how to cook).  The school health clubs are starting up again, and I plan to organize an inter-school health competition between the three clubs. I also planted three hundred moringa seeds in baggies on my back porch, which I am eventually going to transplant to the schools.  Finally, meetings to discuss latrine-digging are being planned, and I have a new sofa!

Even in the midst of all this, I found time to exercise my true passion for farming and went with a friend to harvest groundnuts (aka peanuts).  First of all, I don’t understand how Ghanaians go to the farm wearing flip-flops and normal clothes. I was wearing my hiking boots, long sleeves, and insect repellant, and by the end I was dirty, sweaty, and bit all over.  The groundnut plants are relatively short, and you have to dodge the corn stalks and break your back trying to find and pull them up, roots and all.  Luckily, I went on the last day of the groundnut harvest, so I only had to do this part for a couple of hours.  We then loaded all of the up-rooted plants onto a tricycle moto and drove them back to the house.  I was granted the honor of sitting on top of the huge pile of groundnuts, and was greeted on my way by pointing and laughter from all the locals.  We then spent the rest of the day plucking the groundnuts from the roots, which was thankfully slightly less strenuous. As thanks, I was given a bag to take home with me, which I shelled, roasted, salted, and ate.

Otherwise, I am back to running every day.  It was difficult to get into it at first, but I have found a really great support system to keep me going.  There is one curve in the road, where the assemblyman lives, that seems to have an excess of children.  They like to stand by the road and scream my name as I run by.  Recently, I have trained them all to stick out their hands when I run by so I can get a line of about ten high fives.  It is “inconthievable” that feeling like you are about to win a marathon is not motivation enough to keep going.