Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ann's Doll House

We are all really just children walking around in bodies that are "seasoned," a nice way of saying - getting older. I don't think our minds ever really get old, unless we let them stay still. It's fun to stay curious, inventive, playful, and my friend, Ann, has brought out these girlish qualities in many of us here, by sharing her Doll House.

Ann and her husband, Richard, are from Britain, and they delight us with their "ahhkcents" and things British, meaning their words and phrases. Their understatement is hilarious, and it is just entertaining to be around them. She is a talent, who has brought scrap-booking to a new high, plays golf beautifully, teaches Ghanaians how to swim in her pool, and among other projects, has put together this gorgeous Victorian Doll House. The detail that goes into each room is meticulous... and handmade. I not only loved "playing" with this house - I want to live in it!

I will never get tired of anything Disney. Can't. I grew up in Disneyland. I was there the first year it opened and had my own special book about the park that I read and re-read ever since I was 5. It IS the Happiest Place on Earth, and I love it that our grandchildren have happy childhood memories there, too. Ann has a whole scrapbook dedicated to Disney themes, and her art work is deserving of the word "imagineer."

The front of the Doll House. The house actually becomes two large doors that open from the middle, and invite you to become like Alice in Wonderland and shrink down with a quick "Drink me" cup and walk in.

The Girls'Room. Absolutely Darling. Ann made the small bedspreads that even have litle pleats in them. The wallpaper is her touch, as it is in all the rooms, but what I really love are the light fixtures on the wall and the stuffed animals.

I can imagine the small, tinkling sounds that could come from the baby grand. To our delight, it really is a music box.

If the crib is this little, imagine the baby that would curl up inside. Oh, to be Thumbellina for 30 minutes and to play in the Baby's Room.

The W.C.

The Dining Room. It's as elegant as any 19th century dining room could be.

Come in, invited guests, to the parlor. Mary Poppins herself could sit down and take a cup of tea.

Formal and wide -- the proper entry.

Tiny shelves to house tiny dishes.

I love the golf cleats and clubs propped in the corner. Both Ann and Richard play, so I'm sure this is a microcosm of their life.

The Sewing Room. A tiny sewing machine and work station just leave my imagination to picture all kinds of projects being created here. The house has been 8 years in the making, and Ann has lots of ideas for items to add. It is really fun to NOT grow up just yet, and even more fun to have friends who refuse to be adults all the time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We've come to expect the unexpected.

I suppose unique things happen in just about any country, but it seems we are noticing particular interesting instances since being here.

These young people are wonderful. We had just come out of pre-requisite class for PEF called "Planning for Success," when we ran into Jefferson Agamah, one of our absolute favorite people, and a group of young adults who were at the building, great kids, who are all doing great things. Jefferson is on the far right. They are bright, friendly, energetic, and SO nice to us.

This last weekend we had a "road trip" to Kumasi ( 7 hours away), and we needed to deliver a PEF check to one of our students. When we stopped at Koforidua to deliver the check, we were immediately surrounded by children who live in the area. They look darling, and they are so curious about "obrunis" who would drive into their housing area. However, what they are saying to us is: "We want money." ...tends to spoil the moment..

Finally got a picture of some baby goats! Because we usually see things as we drive by on the road, I have to quick with the camera.

The landscape towards the interior is really beautiful. I especially liked the way this tree stood out from the background.

These goats had just crossed the street, single file; I just wasn't quick enough to capture that line-up. But here, they had reached the other side safely and were re-grouping for their next move.

Uh, this is only a 2-way road. Incredible. Really? We were behind the bus on the left, which passed us, we passed him, he passed us again. Then, he decides he needs to pass the truck ahead of him...on a blind hill, which actually is curve. He was so lucky there was no one coming from the other direction.

We were behind the bus when it stopped in this housing area and just exploded with school children. It happened so fast! The bus was moving, stopped, and then a flood of children came out all at once.

This is hard to see, I know. But, as we drove into Kumasi (a good-sized city) we followed this delivery truck into a round-about, and the truck is filled to capacity with brown eggs - fresh off the farm.

We checked into our fabulous, fabulous hotel, and asked where the nearest barber might be. one understood that word. I mimed "cutting hair," and then we were understood, and the nearest place was right across the street. It is open-air, with a tin roof. As I sat down to wait for David and read my book, an 8-inch lizard ran across the floor towards my chair. The "barbering" guy assured me they "don't hurt."

The view from our 4th story window was awesome, the room was awesome, the food was great, the beds - h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e. A picnic table may have been softer. Ghanaians enjoy a good firm mattress, apparently.

University of Kwame Nkrumah. This was gorgeous, and who would assume we would come across such a beautiful campus?

Shades of memories...the English Department. I would so love to just sit in on a class to see what they are studying.

I have no idea what the mascot or logo here might be, but nonetheless, it is impressive. Interesting, that from goats passing right in front of us, to a bus passing on an incredibly dangerous incline, to a modern 5-star hotel, to an outdoor "barbering" shop across the street, all things seem to have their place and surprisingly fit. They fit in their place, and who is to say this is not normal? We learn to "let go" of what we think is expected and accept what is.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ghana's Independence Day

Today was Independence Day for Ghana. 55 years ago today, Kwame Nkrumah declared that Ghana would be "free forever" from British rule. Besides a few businesses being closed (our office being one of them), life pretty much carried on as usual. Seeing that we had a free day, our friends invited us to play with them in a golf tournament with a few interesting twists: players could only use 3 clubs - any 3 clubs and NO trading.

We thought we would form our own "Girls Team": Anne, Jane, Gladys, me, but then we found out there could only be 3 on a team. Gladys politely said she would play with her husband, leaving the 3 of us to find our way around 18 holes with the help of our caddies.

I chose a 3-wood, 7-iron, and pitching wedge. The major problem was trying to putt, and we found the driver had the flattest face, so it was the best choice. (I made this putt, by the way!)

David was playing across the fairway from us, and I was so impressed that he was walking with hardly any limp. We've been working very hard on strengthening his knee.

The good news was that we didn't have to carry our own 3 clubs! Everyone had a personal caddy - and these young guys were good! My 15-year-old caddy's older brother is a professional golfer, so this kid knew the game. The bad news was that we walked the whole course - there are NO golf carts. The temperature was in the 90's, and the humidity had to be the same. We could hardly move by the time we reached the last hole, but lunch was prepared for us: pig and lamb on a spit.

I still haven't tasted this...fufu. It is a staple of West Africa; people love this. It's made by boiling a starchy root in water, then pounding it forever into a thick paste with a mortar and pestle.

The buffet was Ghanaian food: a soup (David told me later is was Goat Soup. Euww - I ate it. But just the broth), rice, chicken, vegetables, and salmon rolls. It was very good, but the best thing was having 6 glasses of water.

This is our group: Lee Curtis, Gladys Sitati, Joseph Sitati, Marty Slater, David, Jane Curtis, me, Richard Smith, and Ann Smith. We are the only missionary couple; the others are either church employees or authorities. Great, great people!

The goal: a trophy. Gladys made a very good move, leaving our group. When we started out with our caddies, they assured us it was fine if they kept score for us, since we didn't really want to do it. Wrong. All 3 of us: Jane, Ann, and me were DQ'd for not keeping the score ourselves. Hmp.

Cuties. Gladys came in 2nd for the women, and her husband came in 3rd for the men. We had a great Independence Day; the price was right, 20 Ghana cedis per person - about $15 U.S., which included lunch, and we were with darling people. It's good to mix up our experiences with student responsibilities and service with a little bit of social recreation!