Thursday, December 19, 2013
The students finished exams and teachers were busy grading them, so the kids had nothing to do.
I suggested to Mr. Kabutey two things: one) we host a party at Manye on Tuesday, Christmas Eve, for students who live nearby and any other children in Community 25. And two) we invite the local District Chief Executive, whom I met the other day with Mr. K on behalf of Manye (as anywhere in the world, but perhaps most pronouncedly in sub-Saharan Africa, whiteness commands authority) in order to introduce the school to him and have him meet the pupils. This will give him context and personal investment in promoting the (NGO) school as well as the community, both of which are struggling from the financial crisis and local gentrification.
We typed up an invitation letter to the Chief Executive and hand-delivered it to his office in Kpone, a process which lasted from about 8am to noon. (While some people have email here and theoretically there is the Ghana Post, any important letter or package, including all the invitations to Eunice’s (Mr. K’s first daughter) wedding, are delivered by hand.
When we returned, I suggested to Mr. K that we rent some speakers and play music for the party, because one of the National Service Volunteers, Appiah, is a DJ, and the kids adore dancing. By far the richest (“most blessed”) institutions in Community 25 are its churches, so we easily borrowed a huge speaker set from one nearby and brought it into the Manye yard. At which point, Appiah needed to test the connection to his computer, so from about 1-4pm the hundreds of kids (and myself) just had a huge, hot dance party in the sun, punctuated occasionally by a refreshing colddrink, either local Sobolu (a dark red soda made with ginger and hot pepper) or Mineral (aka glass bottles of Coke, Sprite or Fanta).
Afterwards at the kids’ request, I took portrait pictures of students one by one and provided them to Mr. Kabutey on a flash drive.
Note A): In a place with no regular Internet access, having a workable pen drive/flash drive is absolutely essential. Some extended consternation ensued because we couldn’t locate one that worked.
Note B): I have loosely adopted a policy that aims to address the personal moral quandaries I feel with regards to photographing people, particularly in situations of asymmetrical power dynamics (you might imagine how this applies to taking shots of under-privileged African children). In general, I try not to photograph anyone whose name I do not already know without having to ask it, and/or anyone with whom I have not on some previous occasion had direct personal communication. Additionally, I do not photograph anyone without their explicit, verbal consent. Duh.
That evening, Bernice, Tetteh and Jerry took me to Prince’s family’s store and together we bought groceries for Madame Emma, who had gone to Saon to visit her mother who was in the hospital.
When I returned, I went out with two of the National Service Volunteers, Ruth and Dormenyo, to Accra Mall for a special pizza dinner. (Dormenyo is especially amazing because her personality reminds me so much of my beloved Judith!!! I think they would get along suuuper well, anyways…) The three of us amused ourselves splendidly, joking about how “Manye” means “victory” in Adaa’, Mr. K’s first language, and so when one person at the school calls out “Manye Manye!” everyone else must shout back “Victory Victory!” We practiced our call-and-response all around the Accra Mall, which I imagine was relatively entertaining for many onlookers.
Also (on a different note) for anyone interested in currency inflation, a large Meat Lovers’ Pizza now costs about 22 Ghana cedis, which I’d say is about 65% more than in 2010.