As Rita, Nii's oldest niece(13) and I walked around Teshie Friday night everybody told me she is very bright. I spent Friday evening running errands with Rita. First we went to fetch water from a large community tank and as I carried the buckets for her everyone was telling me to put them down and make Rita carry one on her head--they found it very funny that the white man was carrying the water. After this we went into Teshie to buy some CakeCay(sp?) a corn based dough that is dipped into soup. First Rita informed me that I must hold her hand and then she talked me into buying her and her sister fried eggs. She ate hers and then I had to spend the rest of the time making sure she did not eat her sister's.
As we walked along Teshie's main road everything was silhouetted by lights from the large trucks parked on the side of the road waiting to enter the port in Tema the next day. We stopped and talked to all of her friends and her grandmother's but if somebody called out to me that she did not know or like she would simply say "Do not mind them" and we would continue walking with her giving the direction of "We will pass here". When we returned home she attempted to give me a lesson in Tre, the local language. I felt that the effectiveness of the lesson was severely limited because her only feedback was laughter.
This morning Rita also said that she would help me do my laundry; however, this soon turned into me helping her do the laundry and as I washed more and more little girl sized socks her trips to hang the clothes became longer and longer. But I felt it was good practice for the months to come and I think I will implement her three bucket wash system.
I think Rita will miss me and she has already asked me to stay longer and I know that I will miss her and her sister Evelyn (6) as well--in fact I will miss all of my new friends, but I am ready to leave Accra and travel north.
Last night as I stood on a balcony overlooking the oldest part of Accra I took stock of my week in this sprawling third world city. From my vantage point I could see the old Dutch slave castle as well as the entrance to the tunnel that went from the castle to the market, countless colonial era buildings and newer single story stores. And as the sun set I realized that i liked Accra better by night because as the sun set and the heat resided the filth also disappeared into the darkness. While the people of Accra make the city vibrant and interesting in the present it is the permanace of the problems that make Accra in the future depressing.
The enormity of the issues facing Accra are overwhelming and only a massive influx of money and political will can make a difference. There can be, and are thousands of people like me tackling small issues and doing what we can around the developing world but we simply can not do enough. So when you go to vote please think past your own pocket book and vote for people like Benjamin and Rita--vote for someone who supports social just at home and more importantly abroad. Take a look at your wealth--because yes, the least of you are very wealthy--and ask yourself if you could pay a little bit more in taxes if it meant that Rita could have running water in her house.