Friday, July 3, 2009

The Beginnings of my Research

After two months of trying to start my project, I finally began my research yesterday! It went well...definitely not the results I expected. The students scored really low on the core stability tests, which I attribute to their Western influence of a society in which children are trained physically to pass a fitness test instead of to sit up straight or carry their own backpacks. I thought it was really interesting, though.

Wednesday was a holiday--Republic Day (the day upon which the republic was formed). And TOMORROW is the Fourth of July! We'll be going to a funeral, which should be an interesting cultural experience. We are going to the part where the people dance and eat lots of food, not the wailing and mourning part. A man who goes to our church has a brother who died in Canada, and his body was shipped back to Ghana. The people here traditionally wait forty days before they bury the body (unless they are Muslim). Interesting...

I know I wrote to everybody on Monday...I do have a cute story from yesterday, though. Shannon, Kayla, and I went with Grace (the daughter of our host parents and our translator) to a house so that Kayla could meet people to interview. We went into the compound, and a billion little kids were in there. The mothers were pounding fufu. Fufu is basically yams that are pounded into a gelatinous goo. They are used to mop up soups and stews. The women use a giant log and bring the end down into a bowl to mash it up. It's really cool. Anyways, at first these kids were terrified of us. They think that white people are ghosts sometimes. However, one of the mothers gave Kayla her newborn baby to hold. She was darling with her curly black ringlet hair and her tiny little fingers. I tried to speak Twi with the kids. They loved it. Then, I motioned for them to come play handgames with me (I had learned some in the Presby school...the girls teach them to me pretty much every day). Soon, the children all wanted to play with me. They were singing and clapping. It was so much fun. I love connecting to the people here. The kids are so cute once they learn that we're actually good people.

Sad news...Margaret, our field facilitator, got malaria this week. That means that out of our group of seven, six have gotten malaria so far. We are predicting that Whitney will get it before we leave.

I will not be emailing again until July 18th or later because I will be doing research every day for the next two weeks. I will talk to you all then. I'm sure I'll have a lot to talk about, so be sure to check my blog after that date.

I love you all...have a happy holiday and watch some fireworks for me. Hot dogs and hamburgers and Momma's macaroni/tuna salad are not out of the question, either.


  1. Hi Sweetie -

    I wish you were home for fireworks and cookouts with mac/tuna salad!!! Daddy and I are going to Boston and do stuff with Mike. Sean is going to Steph Fasullo's wedding in Rhode Island (Ithink that's who is getting married) and Tommy will probably go hiking. The sun is finally out today - we've had so much rain that Mill St and Art Rich are flooded.

    I bet the little kids just love you - especially since you are trying to speak with them in their language and play games they are familiar with. Little kids are the same everywhere aren't they - terrified of you for a minute and then once they warm up to you, they want to be glued to your side.

    We all miss you to pieces and can't wait for you to get home. Be good and stay safe. Happy Red, White and Blue tomorrow!!!

    Love you honey -


  2. Amy!!!

    I love and miss you!

    And I love hand games and netball! :)

    Happy Belated Birthday and July 4th darlin!

    Nina :)

  3. Dear Amy, I love reading about your work and your committment to your mission. But I will be happy to see you come home.

  4. Amy,

    I am still enjoying reading about your adventures in Africa. So glad your study is going well. Everyone here is getting excited you are coming home soon. Can hardly wait to see the photo's you've taken. Take care of yourself and have fun these last few weeks.

    Brenda Jensen (Devin's Aunt)

  5. first of all, i want to say that i just made an awesome comment. then it got deleted. went something like this:

    amy! i was thinking about you and realized i never commented on this. here are my thoughts:

    1)RESEARCH! yay! interesting that they scored low. so do they just have less core strength than they should and deal with it as they do their daily activities? dang western influence. that's hardly fair.

    2) why do they wait to bury the bodies?

    3) love that the kiddos love you. i want to learn hand games. teach me?

    4) poor margaret! tell her i hope she's okay. also, tell her that her bishop is my boyfriend's uncle! AND her bishop (stokes) is in my home ward. how 'bout that. small world. :)

    5) can't wait to hear how the research is going!

  6. Thanks for all of the comments, everybody! I miss you all so much, but I will be home in about 2 1/2 weeks. Hooray!

    Kwistin: In answering your questions--
    1. If the students score lower in Ghana than America, it may just be because the assessments were designed for people in the Western world. If you asked an American to do a pushup, he might be able to because he's probably been doing pushups in PE classes his whole life. However, Ghanaians don't exercise without a purpose, so doing a pushup could be an unusual position for them. It is not that they necessarily have less core stability, but the position could just be really uncomfortable for them...something they are not used to. It would be like asking an American to balance something on her head. Could she do it? Probably, but since it is not something that Americans do everyday she might not score as well as a Ghanaian. Does that make sense?

    2. Waiting to bury the bodies is just a part of the culture. The guy was LDS, but it's a Ghanaian thing. I'm not sure why they do it, though...I'll ask.

    3. You can call me hand game sensei. It's like hand game Barbie, but I think people will take me more seriously.

    4. That was really hard to understand.

    5. Read my new update!