Friday, April 5, 2013

I see Ghana everywhere!

It seems like I see Ghana wherever I go? Perhaps I am looking for it or perhaps it is following me around reminding me that I have something important to do. Ghana is saying; "Don't forget about us, Adrienne. We are still here, Adrienne. We need you, Madam Adrienne".  "Madam, Madam", I can still hear the kids of Future Leaders calling me now and I smile. It is a true smile that comes from the inside out.

Ghana was there when I checked out at Office Depot in the smiling face of Kofi who had moved here 9 years ago and when Ken and I checked the car in at the Toyota dealership with Sam who has lived in the area for 20 years and last night when I sat down at a dinner at Maggianos next to George from Ghana who graduated from GW in 1979. Last night was just supposed to be all about my son Stephen and his decision of which university to attend. But yet again, there was Ghana!

Both of our families were there to attend a dinner for students accepted to the engineering school at George Washington University. How appropriate because George Washington University was where this all started when my daughter Alexandra chose Ghana as her study abroad destination. I had a feeling that George and his family may be from Africa so I threw out the fact that my daughter loved studying at GW and had an amazing semester abroad in Ghana last year. Yup, George said, "I'm from Ghana".  In which I replied "Ete seen. Me din de Adoawa", my one, well pronounced phrase "How are you, my name is Adoawa". (Adoawa is my Ghanain name because I was born on a Monday). I love the surprise and smile it creates on the face of unsuspecting Africans. It is not quite as dramatic as watching snow white Alexandra rattle off sentences to locals in Twi when we walked down the streets of Accra but fun for this average white American.

I had to bite my tongue most of the night to keep the topic on our sons learning about engineering at GW and not pummeling George with questions about Ghana and my project. "Have you ever shipped items to Ghana?" "Do you know the best way to send my computers?" etc. etc. George has started two schools in Ghana and said he would be able to advise. Yeah! I exchanged contact information with George and his wife Karen, who was also very interesting and had written a children's book about her home country of Liberia. Amazing, I am writing a children's book about the school under the mango tree. It was a connection that was meant to be and I know we will be in touch again soon. So in honor of my new Ghanain, American friends, today I am posting pictures of paintings inspired by the area of Accra know as "American House" because George owns a home in that area, how appropriate.

The beautiful colors I saw as I walked from our hotel to "American house". American House, named after just that an American who had a house there, was a large area where dirt roads connect in a dusty sienna field where people wait packed in lines for taxis and trotroes and others sell and buy and visit and live. 
The original painting is sold but prints are available for $50

This is one little segment of the people selling and buying and chatting at American House. These is where I first ventured out on my own to buy sachet water. I was intimidated, confused and quite overwhelmed . 
Original Oil on canvas panel with high glass varnish 8 x 10 $150. Proceeds go to Future Leaders UCC.

One of my favorite memories of my first trip to Ghana. I was hot(Alexandra preferred the A/C off since she was African now) and jet lagged when the sound of distant drumming woke me before sunrise. I sat on the hotel balcony and watched the city wake before my eyes. The sky turned from purple to lavender to blue. It was a  treat for my eyes and ears as the drumming and chanting ebbed and flowed until it appeared as a local jogging group passing by on the street in front me. Original 8 x 10 on linen panel $150 Proceeds go to Future Leaders UCC.