Officially welcolmed into Tafi Atome culture!

05/27/2014

We met the chiefs of the village this morning before school. Only eight of them were present. As visitors we had to bring a drink offering. By drink I mean we brought 3 bottles of whiskey and a Baileys. Very much pleased, they sat in front of us explaining their roles within the community of Tafi Atome. They shared their opinions about our projects in the community and welcomed us. The drinks of course did not go to waste, the eldest chief opened a bottle up and poured some libation. To those who do not know what pouring libation means, it is a tradition established before Christianity was established in this village, it is a way of drinking and offering a prayer to the gods. The eldest chief poured a long shotful of whiskey, did a prayer in Ewe and poured it to the ground. He then poured another full shot and enjoyed it himself. The bottle was then passed on to me, mindful of the fact that school was to begin in an hour I opted for only a few drops. After drinking it we pouring the rest on the ground. We continued this until everyone finished pouring libation. The Chiefs said since we had finally poured some libation, tafi atome was now our home. In fact it was to be our first and only home, we could now marry in the village. The Chiefs suggested we finish our schooling and return to tafi promptly after to do such. Tafi atome being such a calming beautiful place,I already consider this my home.

Today was the first day in class after Monday’s holiday. The headmaster decided to place Phoenix & I in charge of a 4th level class; the teacher and the usual volunteer helper, kiki, were out recovering. The children were loud and overbearring at times but we managed to review material. We went over multiplication and division. Calling kids out one by one I began to reminisce of my days when teachers used to call me to the board. Phoenix and I made sure our kids knew the answer, if not we taught them in front of the whole class. We had a few kids who were willing to help out and show us the their usual routine. Mary was one of the girls who stood out the most to me. Although all the children were great, Mary was different in the way she acted in class. She seemed like the big sister that would get the other kids in line if they misbehaved. She would also talk in Ewe and translate in english for me, this facilitated my day . As I saw the sky get darker, i hoped it would rain so we could be able to replenish our water source.

Like the sound of a million marbles hitting the floor, the rain pounded the tin cealing drowning out my voice. Once the rain hit, even the most behaved little one was tempted to jump out of their seat. There was nothing left to do but to dismiss our lecture time in the precense of these sudden waterfalls. The children began to teach Phoenix and I games and old nursery songs, after a while even I could help but join the fun. Once the rain deceased it was back to bussiness. One thing I noticed was that the kids loved to touch my hands. When i asked Mary why, she told me they were facinated with how soft my hands were compared to theirs. And here I was thinking that not even vaseline could fix my rough hands. All the kids lined up their hands next to mines. Comparing textures they would pinch my palms, prick my fingers, to them it seemed as if my hands had never seen a day of labor in all my years. In my mind I wanted to refuse that comment, I was proud of the fact that I had worked every year since senior year of high school. Even now in college, I pride my self on the fact that my job is one of the things that make me an independent young woman. I forget the fact that my hands have not seen the same labor that these children’s hands have seen. My hands dont have to go fetch water from the nearby stream various times a day, my hands dont have to do construction on the weekends nor do my hands do chores everyday. Within a matter of minutes these children who know nothing more than my name were able to tell me my hands life history. As we were being dismissed Mary taught me what “echemiak be” meant, it means tomorrow we shall meet. Although we differ in lifestyles, they still manage to accept me with innocent bright smiles and expected me to be there same time same place tomorrow.

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