It was a special day for me. I woke up at 5.30 and got ready. I tried to look as unnoticable as I could, which is quiet hard when you think that wherever I go I am the only white person. I passed the interns house gate and roled completely alone to the trotro station! I consulted my notes, drawing the route in my mind.
* I am at “New road Madina”… I board on any trotro, whose mate cries either “Cra-Cra-Cra” or “Ci-Ci-Ci”… I should remember to notify the mate that I will get off at “thirty seven” station, because the trotros sometimes change route without warning, in order to evade the traffic… There I will meet the crowded market with the acute smell and the passionate preacher… My trotro will be the one close to that pole and next to the woman’s recorded voice about healing herbs… I should notify also the second mate about my destination… This time the name is “Bola Junction” (Bola means Trash in Ga, because in this place used to be a former collective point for trash )… *
I followed loyally my precious notes, with one difference: I told each mate about three times where I want to stop and I was also asking other passengers frequently if we are taking the normal route or if we have deviated. At the end I proudly arrived at the school with an arrogant feeling that I could conquer the world.
Next up was the second age group, that of 3-4 years old. The classroom seemed much different from the previous one. Instead of mats on the floor, where the students sleep, play, sit, there were long wooden desks and tiny wooden chairs and benches. The scene was also consisted of an old blackboard, a bigger desk, two plastic chairs, a bin, nails on the wall to hang the bags and the familiar bucket with three or four glasses on it. The wall on the left was a thin wooden door, which divides one big hall in two. It is supposed to open only in special occasions, when the two classes become one. But over the time the latch has lost its initial power and now it is loose, permitting the door to open with a 4 year-old’s push.
When the little students gathered in the classroom, the teacher, who is one of the founders of the school, started saying the Alphabet slowly and the little students repeated it in one voice. Then, it is numbers’ time. The same teaching method is used. The teacher counted and the students repeated. Lastly, the students sing kids’ songs, which have been inspired by wild life. Specifically, one song, which was clearly about a fox, was matched with a lovely dance in a circle.
After all that physical and spiritual effort, the break time came. The girls showed vivid interest on me and formed a circle around the plastic chair where I was sitted. They were all calling me “Brofonyo, Brofonyo” (= white woman), trying to capture my attention. Two girls, that looked like sisters and their hair was skillfuly braided, were pulling my hair in an effort to give me small rasta. Another sweet girl with short boy haircut was climbing on my lap asking me personal questions in very good English. “What is your name?”, “Where are your parents?”, “Where do you live?”, “Where is your baby?”. Others were saying the numbers to impress me. My nose ring and my little evil eye chain was often the center of attention. The kids were obsreving and touching those peculiar accessories asking “What is this?” in their delightful Ghanian accent.
When the break was over, I was asked by the teacher to prepare the homework. The task was to draw little dots on the children’s books , that connected together would make numbers. These books were small, squarre, made of vulnerable paper in green, pink, blue colour. Their frontpage had various themes. Others were decorated by Dora the little explorer and Mickey Mouse, others by the Ghanian Flag and ghanian football team.To my huge surprise I noticed, that some blue books depicted Obama! Most of them were torn and some of their pages were missing. They were held together by a plastic rubber, according to the course that they were used for, and stored alltogether under the old wooden teacher’s desk, as no shelves were hanging on the walls. I was informed that the decoration had to be simple, because the classrooms were easily accessible by prospective thieves, when the school was closed.
By the end of the day some kids learnt my name. When they heard someone calling me “Brofonyo” they told him off in Ga and explained with an air of a wise man, that my real name is not “White woman” but Lilly.