All right, so two things are apparent after six months at my site. First; my life here is in many respects best described as a hilarious cartoon. Second; I am an idiot, thus providing frequent comedy for said cartoon. With that introduction, please enjoy a brief, all too common, snippet of my life in Ghana.
I do a fair amount of labor here, certainly nothing like the amount done by the average Ghanaian, but more than I did back home. The farm is coming up quite well, but that has meant hoeing dirt into hills for the yam mounds, chopping weeds with my cutlass, and punching holes in the ground to transplant my trees. In addition, there are other types of work that I try to help out with when I see people doing them, like shelling ground nuts or corn kernels, the kinds of activities that are rough on the hands when you do them for a while. What I'm trying to say is that often I'll get finished and my hands will be pretty ripped up. They callous over time, but its amazing how many different places on your hands can get rubbed raw, thanks to my progressively growing collection of farm tools.
I eat dinner in the evenings with my counterpart's family, or sometimes with friends in my town. In my area, people typically eat either boiled yams (ampesie) or pounded yam dough (fufu) dipped in a flavorful stew for their meals. The flavor comes from vegetables, small meat, seasonings, and hot peppers. Lots of hot peppers.
So I get finished with the day's work, whatever that happens to be, exhausted from the sun and the work, and sit down gratefully to a bowl of fufu and stew. Tear off a piece of fufu, dip it into the soup, and hurriedly shove it into my mouth blinking back tears. Because people in Ghana eat with their hands, no cutlery, and as the peppers in the stew begin to work their magic on my ripped up fingers and palms I'll usually be silently yelling something along the lines of:
"Why must everything in this country involve me being in agonizing pain?"