More and more I am able to deftly search through the face-up pieces of this language and fit together interlocking phrases to express responses, questions, musings and exclamations which I share with relative accuracy with the people I’m interacting with in Karaga. My tires are being consistently pumped by both my EWB coach Don, and my coworkers at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture office, but I still strain to learn new words and sentences to mix and match. How unfair does it seem that just as I am getting the hang of this newly-cherished language I am also getting ready to leave? Very. My work and life is pushed and shoved in order as I slowly trim the edges and wrap up my placement. There are still countless conversations I have not had with my family, but our mutual facility for communication has increased so much you would not have recognised us as the same awkward mimes from 4 months previous. But I yearn for a true sign that I have progressed, and it’s hard to get a straight answer from people when they are comparing you to the other foreigners they have met, who usually stopped right before or after learning how to say “good morning”. Considering my high standards, I’m pleased but not content.
As I am spending the last hours of one last glorious day in the sun with Arimiyaw, who is now in Tamale and studying in his marketing courses, we are talking with shop owners and college students and each other, and suddenly, he turns to me and mentions, “You’ve really improved. Your Dagbani would not have allowed this some few months ago.” And suddenly, the hot sun is just that much more friendly, and the fluttering leaves dance patterns on our footsteps and as the sun sets on my time in Ghana, I internally glow, and externally say “Mpaaya”, thank you.