Last week I had the chance to travel to Tamale, Bolgatanga, and back to Tamale. I took a much-needed 2 days off, went to the West Africa Retreat with all of EWB’s West Africa staff, and facilitated the DDA Fellowship meeting with 6 inspiring MoFA leaders in the Northern Region. And I was missing home.
The two weeks previous in Karaga I was dealing with cell phone issues, resulting in a severe decrease in the number of calls I made to Canada in an effort to reduce frustration on all sides. Losing this connection to my partner, family, and friends in Vancouver and elsewhere in Canada had a subtle beginning, but blossomed into an ache that I haven’t otherwise experienced being in Ghana. In Ghana, I am comfortable. I am surrounded by people that I enjoy, and who enjoy me. But there is still a section of me that is deeply rooted in my relationships in Canada, and feeling that small ache reminded me of that.
And then the whirlwind of travel whisked me into an exciting, and overwhelming environment of relative excess in the departments of bustle, food, and EWB contact. Tamale is so much compared to Karaga. Familiar in the sense that I have lived in the big city my entire life, but minus any people that I actually know. I was incognito in Tamale, utterly anonymous, and I missed that about my home in Karaga. I missed my bike ride to work where I am essentially obliged to stop and greet at minimum 10 people on the way. I missed the rhythm of my family here, where I fit in wherever I can and am welcomed. I did in fact meet some really nice people in Tamale, but the brief interactions we had haven’t yet matched up to the 2 months of Karaga relationships.
Food was exhilarating. On day 1 in Tamale I consumed pure pineapple juice, ingredients list: pineapple. I ate half a round of Laughing cow cheese. I shared a beer and half a box of sangria. I ate a dinner of Ghana-style chinese food. And this was DAY 1. I’m not saying that I don’t like Karaga food, but the sheer variety of food in Tamale was incredible, delicious, and frankly excessive. I’m happy to be back with my staples of egg and bread, yams n’ beans, rice and spaghetti, and t-zed.
EWB people. Wow, there are a lot of them all together in Tamale. And it was incredible to be having work-related conversations over every meal, and to be with people of my own culture. But it turned to over-stimulation at a point, and I really did miss the people that I’ve come to know, the small jokes that we make together, and our own simple interactions. Life with EWB every moment of the day is tiring, and I found also that my daily routine was jarred by the near-Canadian lifestyle that most of us were living for the past week and a half. Again, it was exhilarating to be with EWBers, but utterly exhausting, and by day 5 of my 9-day excursion, I was vocalizing my longing for Karaga and my people there. To top that, Canadians reminded me of Canada and EWBers and friends that I have there, and the compound effect was something fierce, let me tell you.
So this post was an outflow of thoughts on missing my homes, and while it’s not polished, it’s honest. I loved the chance to see a different side of life in Northern Region, Ghana, but am finding myself far preferring my existence in Karaga, the “village” according to Tamale residents. Little do they know I’m actually living in a village of the village.