"Can you say Boot?"

I'm pooped! Isaac and I decided to leave extra early this morning and visit 6 schools. That may sound like an easy thing to all you Obrunis, but here in Ghana even the shortest trip can take you hours.

One look at the roads, traffic, hawkers, and police checkpoints and you start to understand why. The hawkers I don't mind so much, especially the frozen yogurt type. They have often been angels of mercy on skin-blisteringly hot days, offering up cool, refreshing, frozen yogurty goodness along almost every stretch of road. Remarkably enough, every yogurt I have ever had has been extremely cold, which begs the question of how they get and keep the yogurt frozen when it's 100 degrees and there is no electricity for miles? You think on that, I'm moving on.

Anytime I visit a school here I am humbled by how fortunate I have been, even when living in backwoods Missouri (no offense), in regards to schooling. Always within my reach and always present. But what struck me today was how many things I have learned from even mundane, everyday activities like shopping and watching television. Perhaps not all of it is crucial or that important in and of itself, but it's still learning. Two classrooms I visited today were missing teachers. Remarkable thing number 1,857, all the students were in class and sitting quietly at their desks even without a teacher present, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore. So I took over, feeling my recent degree would more than qualify me for the task of teaching elementary school classes. I found a nib of chalk in the dirt and began drawing on the board. I drew a shoe and asked "what is this?" to no response. Finally one brave boy answered "boot." I then asked him what were on his feet. He pointed to his power ranger sneakers and said "boots." I pointed to the girl next to him and her sandals and said "what are those?", "boots." Again I went to the chalkboard, and using all my Dillards shoe salesman knowledge, began drawing different types of shoes. "This is a boot, see it's higher than a sneaker.", "This is a slipper (sandal), it doesn't have any laces." Then I drew a pair of stiletto heals and asked them what they were, sheer silence fell over the class. I asked one of the older girls in the class and again, nothing. So I switched from shoe salesman to Charades champ and started walking on my toes while pointing to the picture. Silence was overrun with shrill laughter, and then I had 20 kids following me around the room on their toes, giggling and saying "high heels" in unison. Not on the test, but still important.

We moved on to glasses, shorts, shirt, pants, car and then I was out of artistic power and class was over, at least for me. Then they wanted me to spell things on the board as they said them. We went through names, Elisha, Gladys, Enoch, Chris. Then I asked them to spell "Bafono", their dialect's version of Obruni. They giggled and all of a sudden chalk came out of every pocket as they wrote furiously on the board for me to read. I now know cracker in Twi (obruni), Ga (bafono), and Ada (brofuni). I can't order food, I can't say thank you, I can't find directions; but I can make fun of myself all day long.