dear mom,

I’m back home, as are you. It took me a week to trek back to Sankpala, I needed a bit of recover time. Something about you telling Sahada that she can come to America when she finishes high school, or telling Razak that you will send him books and supplies for his make-shift preschool of 9 students, I-don’t-know, I was a little afraid I would come home to a line around the corner asking for your contact information. But alas, the only one that discovered me (I tend to sneak back home) was sweet little Aze, who desperately wanted to show me the shuck of corn he was munching on. Wo-ow, I say before I sent him home, locking the door behind me.

Your goat is just fine, by the way. The one you thought was on its last breath that night, the night you tried to get me to check on its mother at 1 in the morning. Those two were rather symbolic of us, don’t you think? You were so concerned about the mother, who hadn’t moved for a good day from hovering over its child. And I was concerned about the child, who was too sick to concern itself of its mothers nudging. Well, anywho, they are both running about now without a care in the world, clueless to the trauma they put us through. Goats can be such selfish creatures.

Sankpala is different now, not to the rest of Sankpala, but to me. Once your mother trots around your village in heels and Tiffany’s bangles with a small, dark boy and girl attached to each hand, it’s hard to look at it all the same. Because for eight months now, I have been a fly on the wall here, just watching people live their lives. Quietly and desperately trying not to shake things up too much, don’t mind me, just your average white lady who needs a placed to crash for a couple of years. But transporting the loudest part of my life home into my life here made me come to terms with how strange we are, how strange they are, and how strange I am to be living, breathing, sleeping, and eating here.

So although I woke up in a panic each morning because of the left over dishes from our late dinners the night previous (you didn’t get that from me or your father), although we never could agree on a movie to watch, although I had to wait for you to put on a few layers of makeup before we ventured into my mud hut village, although each time you had to use my latrine it became an ordeal as tragic as a dentist visit, even though you blew smooth rings of smoke into the air, took a sip of your Campari and said to me, “Maria, I could never, ever do this. There was this smidgen of a moment earlier this year when I thought, hmm, maybe I could do something like that. But now… No. Not for me,” and you looked at me with a strange pride, like you do love me, but you don’t really know where I came from. Although now more then ever mom, it seems like we live on two different planets (because we do) and seem to lead such different lives (because we do), I realized that week that, in fact, we are oddly the same human being. Watching you stroke the faces of each child we passed and awkwardly greeting every person we crossed was like an outer body experience for me. The jokes you made and the jokes you didn’t get. The beauty you saw in people that most others would not. I was watching myself mom, it was the weirdest thing.

So you survived a week in rural Ghana, moreover you survived a week with me. Mazal tov.
Sankpala sends its greetings.

All my love,


Popular Posts