Consistency in change

Walking on the beach, walking along the inter-coastal, walking along the causeway or just walking in the neighborhood, is one of my consistent ways of exercise and meditation. It is one of the things I do when I get to visit Florida for the holidays, over the winter break I logged over 70 miles and I’m already up to 26 miles. I sometimes walked alone, with Brené Brown in my ear or more often, with someone who was inspired to walk with me. Every walk is a unique experience for the senses and soul; the weather, the views and kinship with kindred spirits.

I’m here in Florida during this challenging time and getting to go on my walks is something I am beyond grateful for. My daughter, sister and son in law have been joining me on the daily ritual, last night their dog, Harpua even joined us on a five mile walk.

I have been practicing gratitude for many years now, it is a daily ritual that is more important than ever in my life.

Harpua made the journey.

Today was a good day

Changing time zones is always a challenge for me and probably a billion other people. I’ve been up every morning at 4:00 am here in Florida, sleeping in for Ghana time at 8:00 am at GMT. This morning I was able to go back to sleep for a bit before our morning walk at 8:00. The parks and places to be outside are closed, the Dunedin Causeway was open for a walk along the roadway. We met my sister at the parking spot and did our beautiful, a little over five mile walk along the pristine inter-coastal waterway, beautiful breeze and the bluest of sky as our guide.

We came back to Jomelia’s (the name my daughter and her husband have given their home) and had coffee and breakfast. The plan for the day was to go outside in the backyard and have a ‘garden party’, code for raking and cleaning up their backyard. We rested a bit while Joey mowed and captured some leaves with the mower. The sunshine and the breeze did not disappoint, we raked and bagged over 18 bags of leaves and branches. The backyard is coming together as a sanctuary and place to be at peace with the world. We have more work to do tomorrow, but it is a labor of love. Making the outside of the home match the inside.

Dunedin Causeway- the draw bridge behind us and Honeymoon Island.
The after shot of cleanup.

I Remembered as I was drifting off to sleep.

I didn’t write on Sunday. That really bums me out, I guess it’s taking my mind off of other pressing issues. I was torn today to ‘throw in the towel’ and stop or continue on. I’m going to continue on. Today and yesterday I had to cancel a lot of plans with friends and family, cancelling reservations I have had when my sister comes to Ghana, or when she was going to come to visit. Deciding if I should go to be with my children in Florida or stay here in Ghana is weighing heavy on my head and heart.

Today the vet came to my house to give Eli his shots for future travel. That was not as exciting as the first time, only one little scratch and now he’s hiding again. I feel bad for the animal that senses the changes but doesn’t know what they are and when they will come. Before the vet I went for a three mile walk, trying to get into a schedule of things to do and get some fresh air. All was quiet and serene outside, not as many sellers, cars, taxis or tro-tros on the streets.

Tomorrow I’ll make some tough decisions, for now I’ll go find Eli and give him a hug.

Pre-emptive Action

Saturday, beautiful Saturday, is usually my grocery shopping running around town day, unless I’m in a hammock at the beach. Today was a running around town day. After a beautiful impromptu brunch at my neighbors, a true community effort with coffee, bagels, biscuits and some strawberries from Burkina Faso; along with great conversation of our upcoming time off. I set out to my favorite store before 12:00pm, breakfast made me a little later than my usual start time, and the strawberry delivery was late, but I got some green beans to sample from the Burkina delivery person.

I made it to MaxxMart 37 in record time, light traffic also, parked the Suzuki Samuri and grabbed my basket with bags in it and headed into the store. I was immediately stopped and squirted with hand sanitizer, a very large dollop, as I tried to move toward the carts, I was stopped again and handed two plastic gloves to wear while I was shopping. Trying to pull those gloves on the hand sanitized hands was a little challenge, but not one to give up I did it! When I went to pull off a cart I was stopped again, “Wait!” a masked man with gloves and sanitizer wipes, scrubbed down the cart’s handle and then gave me the go ahead to proceed. Whew, this all only took about 30 seconds, but it was so out of the ordinary shopping experience I felt like it was a mini movie. Shopping only took about 20 minutes and I was out of the store, but I did think of all of the items I touched with my gloved hands, who touched them before me and did they cough or sneeze on it? I could drive myself crazy if I let it go down that rabbit hole. I’m stocked up for food and coconut milk for my coffee for two weeks or so…

Notice, super clean cart handle!

Nothing to do for Ten Days

Ten days with nothing to do? There is so much to do and also so little. My life always has seemed planned out; ten days here, three weeks or a summer holiday- always planned out. Ten days unplanned and no plan…

Stay tuned….

Celebrations from Afar

Let’s Celebrate!

International living and teaching is wonderful and soul filling in the travel and world experiences it provides to me. I love to work and teach with an amazingly diverse group of humans. Today I miss these humans. My daughter, Amelia with her husband Joey, Montana with me at Christmas a few years ago. Amelia has on their batik ‘wedding’ cloth, Joey a cloth we had matching dresses from a few years ago when he joined the family and Montana’s shirt, as you can see, from a much longer time ago. Amelia decided we would all wear something Ghanaian we already had in our closets instead of the usual new outfits. I love it.

Today, Montana texted me that he is now a certified welder. I am so proud of his perseverance, commitment and stamina, he is an amazing human being. He took a gap year after high school and lived in Ghana with me for the year, putting part of his dream on hold. He truly embraced the culture and people of his temporary home. He always talked about coming back to teach and work with people on electrical and welding skills, maybe now he will?

Celebration of his success on hold until June, virtual hugs all around to my three little birds.

Connections in Learning

I feel like I have the best job in the school, as a teacher librarian I get to teach and interact with every elementary student, every week of the school year. Being at a school eight years grants me the privilege of teaching and seeing the students grow and learn from year to year. I love my job.

Today’s third grade lesson started with a story demonstrating a scientific process in a fun and silly way. We got to talk about what we knew about pirates, vikings and of course our scientist. The story takes the students through the process of trying again if your hypothesis doesn’t work (cake was everywhere) and not giving up, until you come up a solution for a fun party with your friends Pirate and Viking (who are not friends at the beginning of the story.) After the story I challenge to the students to create a game or activity for the party that is safe and fun for all of the characters in the story. The chatter and brainstorming started right away, they thought of things that were creative and related to the characters. The students sketched and designed and planned their games or activities. One group a students came up to me excitedly, “Ms Lisa! I now know why we learned about pulleys and axels in second grade! So we can use them now in our design!”

What a beautiful moment, connections in learning. How many other times does this go unnoticed in our busy days? I would like to hear more about this from the students, making learning visible.

Walk about around Abelempke. I’ve been trying to get out in the sunshine and air now that harmattan is over. The air seems clearer and the breeze through the streets is refreshing. I always like a purpose for the walk, visit a store, listen to a book or walking on the beach. Today I needed some coconut milk for tomorrow’s morning coffee, so off to the market I went on foot. I packed my little backpack with money and an extra shopping bag, just in case. I put on my Bluetooth headphones with Tony Morrison’s book, The Bluest Eye (a bookclub book read) for this month and set out down the road. The taxis honk as they pass by, “Where are you going?” I make the motion of walking briskly with my arms, like running, the driver drives on by. The walk is a little over a mile and a half to the Qwick Mart. Down the street past funeral posters and over the railroad tracks and then back over the tracks again to cross the busy Achimoto Highway, timing it just right to avoid the motor bikes, tro-tros, taxis, sellers and cars, I need to keep my eyes up and down at all times (avoiding the open gutters and the vehicles making turns). The store is uneventful, paying and packing the goods into the backpack, taking a different route home so I can buy some imported South African apples from a street seller. Apples in hand I get home in about an hour and 3.25 miles from start to finish.

I love the freedom my neighborhood offers me, it’s not the beach, but there is beauty everywhere I look.

Open space, not in my future…

I really wanted to be the first librarian in this beautiful, light and airy open space. I don’t think it will be for me. Our school built aN enormous new elementary school, with a hub model for each of the class levels. The library a beautiful part of the design. I love living and learning in Ghana, but stayed on this extra year to assist in the set up and opening of the new space. The construction delayed, materials delayed- the reason it’s not open is not important. I went on a visit today with the head of school to check out the new furniture and the space. The space is amazing, the furniture clean and bright, all the bookshelves are on wheels! I love it.

The tour did not leave me hopeful that I will ever be part of the opening and set up of the space. There is still so many ‘little’ things to do in the school and three months left of the school year. I would have loved to see the children laughing and learning in this space, I will do it virtually with photos and maybe an occasional video from a friend.

Life is like that, accept the things we cannot change. My ’new’ library space with a different set of laughing and learning children awaits in Cairo.

The holiday weekend in Ghana presented an opportunity for some of us to rest and recharge our batteries. The fishing community near the beach I was at had no rest. As I walked down the beach the fishermen were repairing their nets for the next day’s fishing, in their traditional wooden canoes. The men go out in the Gulf of Guinea in the evening and bring the almost mile long nets in, in the morning, with the catch of the day. The community of women waiting for the nets to be pulled in to share in that night’s catch. The process is awe inspiring, a community at work for each other.

The past weekend, on a walk down the beach the net lined up next to the crashing surf made me curious as the net went along the beach for at least a half mile, maybe more. The men and children all along the net, repairing and sewing and repairing. Ghana always inspires.

A time lapse video of the net repair.