SugarHouse Mama

Monday, August 4, 2008

Letter to the Director to Social Welfare

So today I'm doing the last bit of work on the dossier. I am *patiently* waiting for Andy and Jessica to return so we can fill out the paperwork Kingsley sent. Once that is done, it's all out of our hands.

Honestly, I think I will be relieved that I've done all I can do, you know. Shelley assures me that will last for a few days and then I will be anxiety-ridden because there is nothing I can do.

Anyway, as part of the letter to the Director of Social Welfare, we are supposed to include information about us, our home, and why we want to adopt from Ghana. Shelley suggested we also include the assurance that we will teach Sarah about her Ghanaian culture, etc.

So I've been thinking about it. It's probably easier for me because I've already been there. In fact, we chose Ghana because of my love for the country and the people. From the beginning I have been excited to teach Sarah about her cultural background.

I look forward to telling Sarah Anansi stories, how kente cloth is made, and the symbolic significance of cowrie shells; to describing the spicy smell in the heavy Ghanaian air, how the rain comes suddenly and is so heavy you feel like you can swim in it, and the way the sun pierces deeply into your skin in Ghana; to teaching her how to greet people, inquiring about them and their family, and that when you welcome someone into your home, you always offer something to drink.

Anansi, the Trickster

I can’t wait to share with her that, traditionally, Ghanaian women wore bright beads that circled their waists and wrists; red is the color of mourning; the elephant tusk is really hard to play, and balancing things on your head is an art that takes a lot of practice and grace.

I love this picture, isn't she beautiful?

Practicing, and yes, my washing tub is empty. (summer, 2002)

I think their grace moves right out of the picture. I was walking past them to the school and just had to turn around and snap this picture, they were so perfect. (summer, 2002)

Sarah will be taught about the history of Elmina and Kwame Nkrumah; she will know Ajua is her Ghanaian name because she was born on Monday, and that I would be called Aba, and Robert Yao because we were both born on a Thursday.

Kwame Nkrumah led Ghana to independence in the 1950's.

I will admit to her that the salted fish sold in the markets scare me a little, but that I love eating fu-fu and bushmeat with my hands, and nothing is better than red-red and the boiled eggs in Ghana.

Eating fu-fu and bushmeat...yummy. (summer, 2002)

In short, she will know we love her and everything about her. She will know we love Ghana, and that she should be proud of her heritage.


CtephFrid said...

What a beautiful and poetic Post! I am so excited to learn more about Ghana!! However, I might want to ask you ALOT of questions about culture, since you have had the chance to be there - if you are okay with that!! Mind if I ask one now? One quick question about the names: Based on which day your born, there is one of several differnt names to choose from, correct? How is it chosen? There are a few options I noticed, it is just what you like best or is the choice taken one step farther (like what time of day etc? You mentioned you were born on Thurs; therefore called Aba. Did you choose that, or did someone in Ghana dub you that?
Hope this wasn't too long!

SugarHouse Mama said...

Mostly, the different variations on the names result from various tribes and, consequently, languages. Every group has, typically, only 1 name per day, per gender (so 14). My list below has several that are drawn from different tribes.

Also, spellings can be different depending on where the person is from. Adwoa, for example, is spelled Adwoa, Ajua, Adoa, etc. depending on the region.

I choose Aba simply because I liked it. However, where I taught English, I would have probably been called Yaa.

kare bear said...

Jes - I absolutely love your post. So beautiful. I can't wait to meet my new niece