We escaped to the country…to Grandma Rose’s.
Grandma Rose lives in Nsawam, which is at the foothills of the mountains, approximately a two hour drive from Accra, Ghana. Nsawam is “lush.” This tucked away small community oozes with vibrant, tropical vegetation everywhere I looked…a far cry from the sweating, concrete jungle of Accra. It reminded me of the gentle, climbing, misty foothills and rich vegetation of the Blue Mountains outside Kingston, Jamaica where I used to teach many years ago.
Grandma Rose is 83. She is a most gentle, gracious and loving soul. She is “pure white light”….. and a deeply committed Christian. In the middle of the day whilst we were writing on her front porch, oftentimes she would kneeling by her bed giving thanks and quietly saying her prayers. She oozes compassion and is one on the most non-judgemental persons I have had the privilege of meeting. She walks the talk, her faith is resolute..and her deep Christian faith is what guides her life and feeds her soul.
Everyday Delana, my Kiva Fellow partner, and I took early morning power walks up the gentle hills and surrounding countryside. We passed by numerous fields of tall, leafy green maize, willowy okra, and copious papaya trees that seemed to be growing anywhere…from where the birds and winds placed their seeds. Being an avid gardener, I was craving for some “green”…it was “nectar” for my soul and very healing.
Nana, the executive director of Kraban, intuitively and correctly understood that we needed the “calm and hearth” of his mother’s place in the country…to re-energize our batteries. Grandma Rose takes care of three younger grandchildren/cousins; Corby 8 years, Emmanuel 7 years, and lastly, Rebecca, a trainee nurse in her early twenties. Fortunatly for us, both Rebecca and Grandma Rose were extraordinary cooks and prepared abundant “feasts” of tasty, delicious African food….red red, cassava, yam, fu fu, garri, etc. We had full bellies every day.
I have wonderful memories of life at Grandma Rose’s…spontaneously dancing together with our arms up in the air….she would watch me have a “private dance” whenever I got up from my laptop to take a “breather” to change my energy. Eventually, she succumbed and sometimes joined me, or both Delana and I, as we swung our hands in the air and danced to some soulful, foot stomping music on our i-pods. She loved it. It reminded her of her college days when they were required to dance…and in her words “be like a fairy.” The dancing energized us all…and gave us all a lot of joy. Even the little boys Emmanuel and Corby were joining in on the fun. It was contagious!
Running water for bathing and the toilet in Nsawam was challenging. We soon adapted. Emmanuel and Corby would bring buckets of water from the outside well to strip wash ourselves and leave water to flush the toilet. I was amazed how refreshed I would feel after my many strip washes with just a small bucket of water. Ever since my last trip to East Africa in the late 90’s, I thought I “got” the value of water; however, in Nsawam, I went to a much deeper level of appreciation and understanding.
We were sad to leave Grandma Rose’s refuge. As we drove away in our taxi, both waving good bye to each other, she was “lightly” dancing, letting us know she had not forgotten our joyful moments on the front porch together. It was her parting “gift” to us as we drove away.