Well, last night was a nice surprise. We stopped at a restaurant called Mable’s Tables which is along the route to Elmina. We stopped, placed an order for banku (takes an hour to cook), then continued to Elmina. When we got there, the beach was empty. The intent was to buy some fresh seafood, but everyone had already packed up. It was nice to be able to drive through the city and see it when it wasn’t overrun by people (the last time I was there was during Baka Tue.)
Well, on the way back, I saw something that is quite common here. See, there are no public restrooms or port-o-potties as we know them here….err…there! But, at least not that I’ve seen 😀 So, people here – men, women, children alike – just help themselves to relief in public. They’ve mastered it because they’re still modest in the process – but it’s still alarming and catches me off guard.
Another funny is – you see everything here. Obama’s picture on the side of a carton of cigarettes, his picture is on the water sachets, on the side of tote bags, and – yesterday, though not Obama related – I saw a woman wearing a Walmart smock as she was walking down the street.
After our small drive, we sat on the coast for a nice meal. Dora ordered me a plate of french fries to go with my tilapia. This little fish was bigger than the last one I had in Accra – and it had more bones too. In fact, I nearly had my tongue pierced as one of the sharp little bones stabbed me!
Today, school as usual. I’m really seeing some improvements with the students regarding their math skills from last week to now – but, today was our last math lesson. Tomorrow they have worship instead of math, and all next week they have exams.
Every Thursday there is a staff sign language class combined with a staff meeting. As I sat there observing – I had flashbacks to my earlier ASL classes. It’s hard to summarize the whole language in one sentence – but they’re just teaching words. There is a continuum along the language line that goes from “pure” ASL to English. They are WAY on the English side signing each individual word. I wanted to jump up and give them some theory, but I just let it go. It did, however, help me in analyzing “Ghana” signs better. They don’t go for conceptual accuracy here – who knows if that even means anything to them! For careful, they sign MAKE with a C handshape and FULL. Yeah. I know. There’s a lot to undo and redo.
One of my thoughts was to collect all of the old ASL text books, the Dawn Sign Press books, and somehow get them to Ghana. Some of the teachers are really interested in learning. There is one teacher, deaf, STRICT! I felt bad for this poor man because he was taking notes and she yelled at him. Made me feel uneasy inside – he was just simply writing down the parameters of the signs so he could have his own “dictionary.” The crazy thing about “Sign Language” is there really is no right or wrong – unless you sign elephant when you mean to sign make. But, really – depending on who you’re signing for, their style – most anything goes.
One of my teacher’s, Amy DeLorenzo, is in my head a ton here – well, in my head as I’m talking to the Ghanaians, I sound like her. One of the sentences was “Mother’s expression was sweet/encouraging.” One of the teachers focused on the word “expression” and quoted from the book Joy of Signing (their main tool in learning to communicate with their students, aside from their weekly class.) He wasn’t wrong to use that sign, but showing it – constructed action/dialogue, would be an easier way to do it. That’s what I told him too – “You’re not wrong there’s just an easier way.” Thanks, Amy! 🙂
Now, I’m just chillin’ at “the office.” Typing away to you! I think tomorrow 2 of the students and I will be going out for pizza with Driver Kwame. Totally unconventional – but what here is about convention!? 😀 One of the kids – though he’s 21, lives near the restaurant, and the other kid is the first kid’s best friend. The latter boy – he was walking and was hit by a taxi. He was born hearing but went deaf later in life when he got sick. He has some motor issues, but is cognitively appropriate. He’s managed to land some work as a mechanic – I thought this was so impressive. He is definitely a role model for EVERYone around the world. So, that’s the plan, Stan. I think that’s about it for me – until Monday 😀
OH, I almost forgot – one of the sweet young ladies brought her clear nailpolish in to do my nails today – very thoughtful 🙂