I don’t want to leave

Tonight, it rained the heaviest it has ever rained since I’ve been here.

I was in my room, trying to write my internship fieldnotes for today, but I felt an unusually strong urge to dance.

So I closed my laptop, turned on my iPod, and against the sound of the rain in the background, I danced all over the room.

And then Rob Thomas’ “Little Wonders” song came on.

And I was overcome by an incredible sense of HOLY SHIT!


The first time I listened to this song and had goosebumps, I was walking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, in January, on the second day of 2011.

A few months later, I was listening to the song when I was in France, walking back to my house past midnight, after celebrating Chinese New Year with French people.

Half a year later, here I am, in Ghana, listening to the same song, having goosebumps again. My feet are dusty from dancing all over the room (I cleaned yesterday, but dust gathers fast here), the rain is still going strong, and I know tomorrow, mud will be all over the place.

I’m freaking in Africa. Few months ago, I was in Europe. And in less than a month, I will be back in North America. And despite all this, I was still able to return to Malaysia for three golden weeks. I didn’t just visit these places, I was able to live there, really feel like I belong, even if just for a few months. I had a room there, did laundry there, went to school / work there, made friends there.

How the fuck did I get so fortunate?

I’ve been to San Francisco, the most awesome city in America, hands down. I’ve seen the Norwegian fjords, one of the greatest, most jaw-dropping beauties nature has to offer. I’ve visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forums, the Pantheon, I’ve been to Florence, the freaking birthplace of the Renaissance. Now I’m in one of the poorest regions in Ghana; this is a world away from the places I’ve been before, but something about this place screams home.

I mean, ohmygod, is this really happening?

I don’t want this to end. I love it here, I love love LOVE it here.

Life here is simple. Life is tough, but simple. Less of those complicated distractions that comes with living in a ‘developed’ country.

Every single day, I look forward to work. I’ve been allowed to do some pretty exciting things at work. My professor is impressed with my level of involvement, and wants me to publish something when I get back to school. That’s pretty cool, right? Every day, we go into the villages, where people still live in mud huts and the women are illiterate. And being part of an organization that helps them out of poverty, in whatever little way it can, that has been my childish dream for so many years.

Every single day, after work, I look forward to the kids coming to my room. They are the highlight of my day. They say things that make me laugh, most of the time without knowing what they said that was so funny. Lately, we’ve been playing a lot of songs on my computer and dancing in the room.

And every weekend… well, every weekend is an adventure. Some greater than others, but always quite exciting nonetheless.

This past weekend, I went to a crocodile farm and a tour of a Chief’s Palace. And I experienced Ghanaian hospitality in a way that made me feel very, very touched. I got there, realized I did not have enough money for the entrance fees (long story). In the end, the taxi driver and the people who ran both the crocodile farm and the Chief’s Palace decided to shoulder the cost by each charging me a little less than what I should have paid. It was NOT a small amount that they excused me from paying. So we managed to get in. And my friend ended up paying for both of our bus fare back to Tamale (2.5 hour ride).

I felt like an utter idiot for not having enough money on me, but I felt so grateful for all the people who’d been so nice to me that day. And to think, the general perception here is that all white people have more money than black people (I’m considered white here).

I am so, so sad that I have only 1 more week here.

I am slowly starting to panic. I really, really, really don’t want to leave.

I am not ready for school.

Isn’t it weird? When I was in France, I missed Grinnell SO BADLY.

Now, I don’t miss Grinnell. Not right now. Tamale is too nice for me to be missing some place else.

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