Friday, January 15, 2010

Spiders are my Friend, Spiders are my Friend…

Anna and I moved into our flat at the Wa School for the Blind on Wednesday. Now when I was 11 years old saying I wanted to go to Africa I really did not realize all of what that entailed. After researching and talking to other people lives in Africa I realized I should start praying for a toilet and at least a well to get water from. I knew that electricity and running water is a great thing to have but for me not so much of a necessity. Sure they are great to have but I knew that the places I was wanted to go probably would not have these things.

Well, God answered my prayers! I have a great flat with a toilet and the well is right next door. It is a little place but it is great. It has a little sitting area with a love seat, desk, chair, and we got a refrigerator. There is a bedroom that has two beds and we have a toilet, shower and sink room. Now we do not have running water but the well is very close and Alice (the school helper) comes every day to help us carry buckets of water to our flat. She carries them on her head but as for Anna and I, we help each other carry one between the two of us. (Water is heavy.) There is electricity but it is expensive so we use the ceiling fan at night when we sleep and use candle light after 6:30pm because by this time it is pitch black outside.

Dinners with Anna can be very are romantic  Often we eat peanut butter and jelly with an apple. We will also have tuna salad with unions, tomatoes and hopefully soon the cucumbers will be good at the market. Once Wa is able to get some gas we will buy a small eye, or stove, so we can cook rice and will be able to have more food. The bread here is really good. Ghanaians really like starch so when you are asked what your favorite meal is, you say rice or potatoes and then the meat (chicken, but sometimes beef) or vegetable.

It is very hot here and very dry. It feels over 100 during the day in the sun. When you step in the shade it gets much cooler and it is bearable to be outside. You do not feel your sweat because it evaporates right away, due to the fact that it is so dry. Around 2 in the afternoon I bet I could crack open an egg and fry it on the cement or I could boil some water for hot chocolate but as much as I love hot chocolate I really would rather drink some water.

They do have popcorn at the market but no kettle corn. I brought some different seasons to put on the popcorn so when we pop it we can make it butter or cheese. But they do have veggies, jewelry and lab kabobs at the market.

As for the wild life in Wa… Well have you every read the book Charlotte’s Web? It is like that but with no fences. Goats, sheep, chickens, some ducks, a few pigs, spiders, oh and lizards (I know there are no lizards in the book but there are some here) all just roam around all over the place. The way you can tell the goats and sheep apart is by the tail. Goats’ tails are up and sheep tails are down and pigs’ tails do not curl here, they are straight. Yeah Wa is pretty much a large farm.

A pig family lives right outside out flat; Anna and I named the little one Wilber. We have a pet lizard in our room that we named Evelyn. There are a lot of Daddy Long Leg Spiders that live with us but we call them Charlotte to make them a little less intimidating. We keep them around because they will eat all the bad bugs that we really do not want in our flat. Spiders are my friend, Spiders are my friend, Charlotte is my friend; I have to remind myself sometimes…


  1. Maddy! I'm glad to hear things are going good! As I read these blogs I can just see you telling someone your stoires face to face and seeing how into your stories you get. I can almost imagine the excitment in your voice that you have when telling them :)

    Alright I am a huge fan of Hot Chooclate and I drink it during the summer... But I have to agree that I don't think I would be drinking it if I was constantly in the sun. I would def prefer the cool drinking water to the hot water.

    And I as for the snakes you have mentioned before- The thought makes me nervous about having a dream about them tonight! Spiders I can handle but snakes... Yikes.


  2. the spiders are your friends! you need them so that you won't need me to come kill the bugs on your pillow. :D

    sounds like you've got a pretty nice little living arrangement going on! i'm glad you have a toilet. and popcorn. both are very important things.

    the art majors are holding down the fort over here pretty well i would say. it's really not that much of a disastor zone yet! and interim has been fantastic, we'll have so many great stories to tell you when you return!

    enjoy your pb&j and have fun teaching your beautiful little children!


  3. Hi Maddy, I love reading about your Ghana adventure. I don't know if you heard about the earthquake in Haiti, but they are showing lots of graphic pictures of the poor people, and it reminds me of the African people, and your mission to helping the blind at the Wa school. I am very excited of what you are doing and proud that YOU can live with spiders! Please be careful, but enjoy your visit. I'm looking forward to reading more as the days unfold.

    Uncle Bruce

  4. Hey kiddo,
    Lexi got the cute stuff you got her, it came in the mail this week. Thank you so much. Her little toy is on her car seat, and I can't wait to put her sunglasses on her. She might be a liitle to little still but as soon as she can wear them I'll send a picture. Thanks! You sure are your mothers kid with everything you picked out. Not much here, we are starting the final count down for when Andy gets home, probably 3 weeks or do. We are looking forward to being a big happy family again.
    This while haiti incident makes me want to go adopt a little kid, as uncle Bruce said, it reminds me of you, as well.I Iove reading whats going on with you.
    <3 ya
    Amy & Lexi

  5. YUK! I can't believe your handeling the spiders so well. I'm squeamish just thinking about them. And the SHAKES, I can/t imagine how I'd handle that. I think your aunt Beth moved to Alaska just because they don;t have shakes. Be Cool! Love Ya, G-MA


  7. Hey Maddy! You're doing great things over there. It sounds like a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy mingling with the local populace around there. Well Keep up the great things. But most importantly keep your head on a swivel and know your surroundings. Don't trust anyone, but treat them with respect. There are many paradoxes with dealing with host country nationals and you are a foreigner. I'm sure you're doing great though. Can't wait until you can meet Lexi. I get to see her soon again. Love you, and have fun. Be safe and know that Amy, Lexi and I can't wait to bring you up for a few weeks when you have some time off from school. And spiders are good. They eat bugs that eat you. Take care.



  8. Ohhh I love how you name things!! I think any time you give something a name it becomes way less scary so good idea with that :) It sounds like you have your own pet store all around you. You no longer need to go to that one pet store to get your animal fix. All you have to do in Africa is step out the door or walk down the road. I am so excited for you to get to meet your students. You need to be sure to tell us all about them.


    p.s. If you have a lot of spiders that must mean you have lots of spider webs, but you don't have to worry so much about cob webs huh because they don't come from spiders - right. hahaha

  9. Maddy, It's so much fun to hear about your new experiences in Africa. Isn't it wonderful to be able to see and experience how other people in the world live? How we take so many things for granted in our little circle of the world and how fortunate we are to have running water (and HOT water), air conditioning, electricity anytime we want, etc., etc., etc.

    Isn't reading about it SO MUCH different than living it!!! And what's amazing is that many/most of the people who live with far less than us still enjoy and live contented lives (though we can't imagine how) :-) Welcome to Culture Shock, it makes life so much richer, really!!

    I commend you on your life journey. Your life is growing fuller.

    ....And about those spiders? Just remember, they are WAY more afraid of you than you are of them and all of them are God's creatures just trying to get through life like all of us.

    Have fun, experience a lot and stay safe!!!

    Hugs, Monica and Sammy (woof)

  10. Hi Maddy,
    Also having a great time reading your blog entries - can't believe your words can travel all those miles to the eyes of those wanting to know how you are doing. Looking forward to hearing about your students and how you work with those that don't have the benefit of eyesight. Thanks for sharing.
    Prof Post

  11. Maddy I am enjoying the stories. You paint a really good picture I feel like I can see your little apartment. I'm so glad that you realize that spiders and grand daddy long legs are good. They really do serve a purpose in life.
    I am so encouraged by your stories. I am also so happy to be able to live it through what you are writting.

  12. Ooops forgot to sign my name to the above post. It's me Linda B aka cheez

  13. This is for Stacey - We all know that Cob-Webs are made of Dust!! ;)

    I bet you will use that one day when you have children!!!!

    Missing Stacey stories (Art Majors, Lauren....Trinity....oh and boys too....)

    Hugs to you - Love,Sandy