22 July 2008

Ghana Videos

So, I accidentally deleted all of my Blogger pictures that were on my Picasa web album, which in turn, deleted all of my Ghana pictures off of my blog. I will put them back up eventually. Some of you have said that you tried to view them, but couldn't, so that is why.

As if I have not talked about Ghana enough...there’s more. In my long post about my trip, I wanted to put some videos up, but I did not have them ready yet. Now I do, so here they are.

Unfortunately, you have to hear my obnoxious voice in some of them. In the videos of the children, we had planned out what they were going to say ahead of time, but right when I started filming them, they forgot. When I was in Ghana, I found myself talking in an accent because it was much easier to communicate this way. So, just ignore me.

I also had some really cute videos of the kids dancing and singing with the gifts I brought them, but I accidentally deleted my first weeks’ videos and pictures while I was in Ghana.

These first videos are of the funeral mourning. As you will see, the funerals are more of a celebration of life. I was so lucky to witness this very amazing event. I found that I was much braver than I would have expected myself to be. In some of the videos, you can see the men walking around with guns and machetes. You have to be careful about who you take pictures of, because some Africans are superstitious about photographs of themselves. I have no idea what possessed me to be so intrusive.

This video is of a man dancing. I'm not sure what the meaning of the cutler to his neck, stomach and mouth means, but I would be interested to learn. I noticed that one of the Ghanaian Peswa coins has a picture of a man holding a cutler to his mouth, so it must be some sort of tradition:

This video is cute. These women were so fun to watch. They all had such big smiles on their faces. I didn't realize it at the time, but the men at the end of the video are two of the different presidential candidates greeting each other. The elections will be held in December. The Ghanaian president was supposed to be at the funeral, but he was in Europe that day:

This is just a video of some people walking towards the funeral. I am not sure who they are. They are either family of the chief, or some sort of officials. Notice the cute women who wave to me:

More men singing and dancing inside the courtyard where the viewing was held. It is so cool how they dance with the cutlers:

Women singing and dancing. Aren't their outfits great? Notice the cute babies on the womens' backs:

This is a video of the primary children at the school I taught at, dancing and singing on devotional Wednesday. This was my favorite day of the week:

I made a video of the two oldest boys telling me what they want. I am raising money and collecting donations for the children, so I wanted them to tell me what they wanted and needed. This first video is of Komla Isaac. He has the best smile that I have ever seen. For some reason, I have a real talent of embarrassing little boys...no matter what country I am in:

This is Wisdom, my Love. He is my favorire of all the orphans. I talked to him on the 4th of July, which is his birthday. It was so good to talk to him:

This is a video of the children eating dinner. Look how happy they are. I love them so much. If you listen, you can hear the kids speaking their tribal language, Ewe. I tried to speak it myself, too, because it makes the kids laugh. Komla is making funny faces at me because he thinks that my cheeks are so funny. My whole life, people have been pinching my big fat cheeks.

This last video is of Love coloring with the coloring books and crayons I brought them:

I can't wait to go back to Ghana. Watching these videos again makes me get teary-eyed all over again. I continue to communitcate with my friends regularly. This is a letter that I received from one of my friends, Wisdom (not to be confused with the orphan, Wisdom), who I worked with at the school. I'm pretty sure this is the sweetest letter anyone has ever written me. He was appologizing because he had not yet emailed me. As if I mind. It is hard for them to scrounge up the money to get to the internet cafe. I quoted it as he wrote it:

I have a strong inner feeling that you will wonder why I have never emailed you, or may think I do not regard you as one of my friends.
If it is so then forgive me. Kelly, I rank you very high among my friends. Only heavens know how great and special I think you are. Your way of life is a thing worth emulating, especially how religious you are. Your visit to Ghana has brought a total change in my life for the better. Will you be surprised to hear that, this total transformation of my life came through your numerous pieces of advice you gave us? Thanks so much for correcting us whenever we spoke profane words. Kelly, I thought your departure was a dream; I would have burst into uncontrollable tears if I happened to witness your departure. I pray that the Lord Almighty in His own mercy will bring us all together one day. I can find nothing to completely wipe out your absence that I always feel in my thoughts. Forgive me for any misbehavior you may have noticed in my life. You must be a thief because you have stolen my heart, you must be tired because you have been running through my mind, I must also be a bad shooter because I always miss you. I wish you all the best things you wish for yourself and may the almighty God crown all your endeavors with success. But always remember, whenever you say a prayer, say one for me too.


This is a letter from another friend, Newell:

Hi, I deem it a very great honor to speak my desirable pleasures of your profound efforts you show by traveling with me to both Grotto and Wli. Kelly l love you not because of anything but for your familiarizes and benevolent manners which you show. That is a sign of a good Christian, Keep it up. I will like to talk with you more before you make dash out of the Africa shore but because of the sad and melancholy mood which we both were; I try to control mine but that of yours surpasses which anything I may will say fall on deaf ears. In a nut I MISS your companionship and caring but hopping to hearing from you. Kelly have a happy stay at America and remember me in your prayers. Greetings to all your friend especially your sister and most especially your husband.

And one from Christian:

Hi Kelly,
I was sorry for the delay in replying your letter, This was partly due to the problem pertaining to internet @ Kpando. How are you and your beloved? I think things are quiet well with you and by now you might be done away with the culture-shock you have experienced. It is normal with every individual to experience so don't take it so serious. That's Ghana for you, and I'm overwhelmed to hear that you will be coming back again soon. This time I hope it will be more fun and I'm ready to send you to wherever you want to in Ghana. Delta school is fine it's only that everybody missed you. Now about tertiary schools I have applied for, I have been short listed for interview this month which I hope I will sail through with success. Don’t forget to pray for me because this where my future plan will be shaped.
I'm looking forward to reading more of your letters
Good bye Kelly & greetings to you husband.
Lavieko writes

Wow, I don't mean to brag about all my great friends and great experiences, but I can't help myself!

03 July 2008

Meeting My Hero

Last summer I read a book about a woman named Immaculée Ilibagiza, who is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Her story is so amazing. Immaculée spent 3 months with 7 other women hiding in a bathroom which measured 3 feet by 4 feet. During this time, millions of Rwandans were murdered, including every family member, neighbor and friend of Immaculée's. While Immaculée was in hiding, she developed a profound hope in God. She taught her self English by reading a Bible and translating it using an English dictionary--she decided that there was a reason why she was not found, and that she would need to know English to share her story with others some day. Her story is mind-blowing--it is truly a miracle. She is a true example of what faith in God means. After I read her story, I told myself that I would someday meet her.

When I came home from Africa, I read that she would be speaking here in Utah. So, right away, I bought tickets to the gala which she was speaking at--even though the tickets cost $80!

Last night I was so honored to meet her. I was sitting at my table before the event began, and I kept looking to see when she would walk in the door. When I saw her, I instantly became so nervous, I have no clue why. I'm a big nerd, so of course I brought with me my book for her to sign and my camera to get a picture with her. When I approached her, I was literally shaking. Mac went to take the picture and my memory card was full, so he had to hand me the camera to delete some pictures. Mac said that my hands were shaking so bad that she must have noticed. Anyway, here is my treasured picture with her:

When she shared her story, I began crying the instant she stepped to the podium. I was so embarassed, so I used my bangs to shield the other people at our table's view of the tears which I could not control. I love Immaculée Ilibagiza so much.

Here is a video which shares a bit of her story:

Part 1

Part 2