Monday, July 17, 2006

In Someone Else's More Practical Shoes

It’s Saturday morning and I finally rouse myself from bed around 7am. The morning prayer from the neighbouring mosque no longer disturbs my sleep. (Well, if it does I don’t have any recollection). The sky is grey and somber; it might saa today. On mornings like this my bucket bath doesn’t quite have the same refreshing relief from the heat. I have goosebumps! Despite the chilly weather and threat of rains, I head out towards town to meet Marka, a JF from MacMaster, and Gwen, a new LTOV, to go fabric shopping.

Clothing here is usually one of two styles: traditional brightly coloured prints made into long skirts and fitted tops for the women, or Western-style clothing, some new and some from thrift stores now for sale in Ghana. (I’ve spotted a boy wearing an Oilers jersey, another wearing a Team Canada jersey, and a man wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a middle-aged white woman with the caption “Look who’s 50!”; so if you’ve ever wondered where the third-hand clothes from home go, my guess is here).

This is a photo of Okaps, a DWST (District Water and Sanitation Team Member) who I have worked with, and me in one of my traditional Ghanaian outfits.

Back to the beautiful fabrics. There are cloth vendors up and down the main street, so we start there. The rain gods have a different idea and the sky now delivers on its threat. We take shelter in one shop, where the woman kindly offers us seats to wait out the rain. We wait and wait, but the rains are not letting up. All I can think of is how much I have been looking forward to browsing the fabric shops along the road and in the market. And now we are stuck in a store, trapped by the rain.

But then I start to think of what the rain means to other people. To me it has delayed a day of shopping. For many others, it means much much more. Although it is the rainy season, we have not seen much rain in the past few weeks. The farmers rely on the rains to water their crops. Here in the Northern Region, there is only one rainy season whereas in the south there are two. So the rains must come or there won’t be any crops to sell or to eat. And not only must the rains come, they must come at the right time. The farmers plant their seeds and pray for the rains to come soon so the seeds will germinate. If the rains come a few days too late, the seeds will be wasted and the farmers must plant again. When farming is your livelihood, the unpredictability of the weather makes you extremely vulnerable.

The rain continued for most of the day, putting a damper on my day of shopping but providing life to both the crops and the people they will feed. Oh well, there's always next weekend to go shopping!


Anonymous Inga said...

I'm glad to hear you are still the same Sarah whom is upset over a lost day of shopping. However, you are quite optimistic about next weekend's adventure! Will you be coming home and teaching me how to sew? I can only imagine the beautiful fabrics they have there, and the work that those ladies must endure to make them. I do hope for your sake you do get a shopping trip in! Just think, next weekend Jen and I are going downtown shopping ;) (May not be quite the same haha) Miss you! Eat and be merry! ;)

7:47 p.m.  
Anonymous Sarah Summer said...

This man in the photo looks like a friend of mine from Congo. Have you ever been to Congo?

1:45 p.m.  

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