September 11 went largely unnoticed here in Ghana, I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Grace and I commented at the dinner table that we had realized partway through the day that it was 9/11 (well, here it would be 11/9). It being the 5th anniversary I’m sure there were some commemorative events in the States.
The last week I would say we’ve entered our groove. Weeknights are a flurry of people arriving at different times and different places. Fox is either staying after school for a student council meeting or class officer’s meeting (he is 10th grade class president) or going to a friend’s house after school. Grace similarly is staying after school for soccer practice (she is one of two 9th graders that made the varsity soccer team) or going to a friend’s house, although she generally keeps her weekdays at home and goes to friends’ houses on the weekends. Anna comes home most days after school and helps Dad run errands or keep up the household. She sometimes goes horseback riding on Wednesdays (school is out at 1:10pm on Wednesdays) with her friend Alina. Suzanne gets home from work anytime from 3 to 6pm, depending on the day (and if anyone is home or not – if not, she’ll often just stay and work). Steve still works hard just at keeping the household running, and finding the few things we still “need” (need here is quite relative). All this will change in two weeks when Lincoln’s after school program begins – from 3:30-5:30pm every day after school there are all sorts of activities for the kids to participate in: swimming, sewing classes, karate, choir, basketball, soccer, drumming and dancing, yoga, etc, etc. Then most days kids will stay through to 5:30pm, and Steve will get a longer day, but, will have to pick them up during the high traffic times. We’ve just started going back to using taxis occasionally to help with the school transportation – after filling up the Patrol the first time, we decided it probably was not much more money (if any?) to have a taxi drive them, and it saves Steve an hour each trip. Weekends are busy! Grace and Fox go to “Pram-Pram” every Saturday morning, which is an orphanage (in the nearby village of Pram Pram) – the youth of Elim International Church go every Saturday to play with the kids, and one young man is organizing a football (soccer) team for some of the young boys there to enter a local league. Grace especially (Fox also) looks forward to it every week. Afterward they all go out to lunch and then back to the Ike’s house, where they have Bible study at 2pm and youth group 3-5pm. So essentially we don’t see at least Grace and Fox all Saturday. Sunday is church, and we have entered a pattern of going out to lunch afterward and visiting, which doesn’t get us home until 3pm usually. At 5pm on Sunday Steve and I have our Marriage Course, which has been good so far (and demands we have 2 hours a week dedicated “marriage time” – so far we’ve had a great buffet breakfast out, and today a nice French lunch. So, what’s not to like?
I was really not feeling well this weekend, really beginning last week. Mostly just run down, maybe with a low-grade fever. Saturday I woke up with a terrible headache that finally went away after 8 hours of Motrin – Tylenol alternating every 2 hours. I continued to rest through Sunday – I slept hard both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Some ex-pats tell me that it may have been malaria – when you’re on the prophylactic (we take Doxycycline) you can get a mild case, and headache and achy are pretty much the symptoms. I felt much better by Monday, though. (I heard the voice of Dr. Proctor in Temple, saying, “I never had an illness I couldn’t hydrate away” – or something like that. Anyway, I drank A LOT of water – thanks, Barbara!). Unfortunately, I hear malaria isn’t the kind of thing you build up immunity to though, too bad.
Saturday night we went to a gathering at the house of one of the Methodist missionaries and had a potluck dinner and watched a movie called “Emmanuel’s Gift”, a really great movie/story about a Ghanaian named Emmanuel who was born with a physical defect but has gone on to fight for the rights of the disabled in Ghana. It actually shows quite a lot of footage of the kinds of scenes we see here every day – it was produced in the USA, you might be able to find it at a video rental place (a big one, of course). Also there were several other Methodist missionary families there, and they also invited some guests from the Mercy Ship Anastasis (http://www.mercyships.org), which is currently off the coast of Ghana (until February), and another couple from New Zealand who are here on sabbatical study leave. It was really great meeting and interacting with some of those folks – what adventurous lives they lead! We have come to really appreciate socializing with so many interesting people here – from all over, doing all kinds of things. Wow. We have thoroughly enjoyed our newfound relationships (dare I say friendships?), and it’s nice to not have to live our social lives vicariously through our children anymore (at least, not so much). We have a “Texas Open House” in the works for all of the faculty and staff at Ashesi (still a couple of weeks out – the next two weekends are busy, and we still need to locate a BBQ grill…)
I think I was the only one to have much “culture shock” and I do believe it is largely gone now. Everything seems so normal now. We are really feeling settled, and happy here. So, life is full and joyful for the Bucheles!