I'm alive! I survived my research. Kind of. I still need to do the assessments for one girl on Monday and take 3 more BMIs, but other than that, I am finished! Friday was my last day at school. It was kind of bittersweet because I'll really miss the students, but I was happy to be done. The kids haven't really had class this last week, so it was mayhem. The last week of school. Yesterday was like the last day of school. I brought my camera and took pictures. It was insane. The kids were tackling me and fighting each other to get in the pictures. I went with Kayla, and we both got MOBBED. Those kids are so funny.
To celebrate the end of school, I decided to write down my favorite quotes from the teachers at the school
TOP 15 QUOTES FROM PRESBY TEACHERS
1. "The weather is not favorable for caning. But some of you, you push us to the wall. And for those, I will support it." (caning = beating).
2. "Amy, what is your number? For break, I will beat you."
3. "If you are talking, it will speak." (Referring to the cane).
4. "Stop clearing your throats...it is like you have chewed maggots."
5. "Keep mute."
6. "If I get hold of you, you will laugh at the wrong side of your teeth."
7. "You don't see men getting the breast cancer. It's because the women put the money under their BRASSIERE, and the metals and the chemicals go into the skin." (Huge emphasis on BRASSIERE)
8. "We should not put currencies under our BRASSIERES, or they will be defaced" (Bigger emphasis on BRASSIERES...I was cracking up at that point).
9. "You can fool the people all the time, but all the time you can't fool all the people." (Huh?)
10. "The weather will be very hot for you." (Note: it was really cold and rainy outside, and he was threatening to beat the kids)
11. "I want the room to be as silent as...my...house."
12. "I will work you." (Threatening to beat the kids...heard this one just about every day)
13. "A hunter who only hunts for elepyhants will go home empty-handed." I really liked that one actually.
14. "I will beat you, and you will smell the pepe." (Pepe is the spicy pepper that Ghanaians put in all their food)
15. "Leave Amy alone. The way you crowd around her, it is as if you have never seen a white person before. Let her breathe the fresh air of Ghana. The same blood that runs through you also runs through her. It is by God's creation that she is white. Amy told me that just yesterday she ate fufu. She does the same things as you. Do you wonder if Amy poo-poos? AMY POO-POOS!"
I hope you all enjoyed them as much as I did. Good times.
Anyway, for the last day of school, I presented some world maps as a gift for all of the classrooms. I found some in Kumasi that showed Salt Lake City, so the students will now know exactly how far BYU students come to be with them. It was a great day, and I'll miss everyone oodles.
I did not just do testing the whole time, though. I have a life outside of school. On July 4th, we went to the funeral of the brother of a man in our ward. It was so cool! First, we greeted everyone there. The people were so excited to see Obronis at the event. Then, we ate some chicken-jerky-ish food and Fanta (the soda). When we were finished, we sat under some tents and listened to a woman speaking into a microphone amplified to a bagillion decibels. It hurt my ears, but that's celebration here. We talked to the man in our ward. It was interesting to see all the people in the ceremonious Ghanaian funeral dress. We all wore black to be respectful, too. However, there was a girl who showed up in REALLY short shorts...dare I say booty shorts. All of the elders were appalled. The lady sitting in front of us was hilarious. Her jaw literally dropped...I could see her uvula. Then, she pointed to our dresses and skirts and gave us a "thumbs up" to show that our dress was more respectful than the girl's outfit. The whole place was scandalized, and so many people were really offended. Michelle put our donation for the family up at the front, and one of the women asked her to dance. So, Michelle fetched all of us, and we danced in front of the family. It was so fun! We learned the traditional funeral dances, and all the women privately tutored each one of the girls in dancing. I loved it. When we were done, the people were taking pictures of us with their camera phones...they loved it.
In addition to the funeral, we also played football (aka soccer) with some girls from the secondary school on the Fourth of July. It was a really great game, but none of us were used to running in such humidity, so we had to take lots of breathers. We played on a regulation sized field, but there were only 10 girls (both teams combined), so that added a bit to the water breaks. It was really fun, though. Ghanaians play football differently than Americans. There is a lot less physical contact because the kids don't have as much equipment. The girls we were playing with played in their bare feet or socks, and obviously no one wore shin guards. It required a lot more ball control...I liked it.
School was pretty much the same every day...it actually got a little bit monotonous. One day, one of the teachers asked me to beat the students. I said no, and he made me come to the front of the room anyway. I feigned a lack of strength and told him that I was not as strong as a Ghanaian. Instead of leaving me alone, he grabbed my hand, put a cane in it, and slapped a kid really hard. I felt terrible, even though it wasn't really my doing. He told me that he would train me more, and I was terrified. However, that was the only incidence of it because I told them that American teachers get arrested for beating the children and I was afraid of the police. They laughed and left it alone at that.
It had been raining A LOT for a while...every day. Luckily, my research was only disrupted once by the rain. However, the power went out a bunch, so it was hard to read and get work done. It seems like the rain will be letting up a little now, though, so I can do fun things in the community without getting too wet.
Last Saturday, we watched President Obama speak to the Ghanaians, both in Accra and in Cape Coast. I felt very proud that he is my president because the words he spoke were both honest and hopeful. He told Ghanaians that they need to take responsibility for their economic situations and their lives, but that by staying healthy and embracing opportunities they can prosper. He also made a huge point to address the youth, to encourage them to build up the country and their individual situations. I loved listening to that part. I also really liked that he told Ghanaians that they were a part of the progressive world, not just a country that should receive aid. He really encouraged hard work. All the Ghanaians I spoke to really seemed to like the speech as well, and all of them tuned in to see him. What a great time to be in Ghana!
Yesterday was a pretty eventful day. Besides being the last day of school, I also got a dress made! I brought the fabric that Headmaster Peter had bought me for my birthday on Monday to a dress lady named Beatrice, a single mother to whom Shannon introduced me. She was so sweet! The dress was ready yesterday so I could wear it to the last day of school. It's beautiful! Also, some beads that I had gotten at the market match it perfectly. When I wore it to school, everyone was so happy. All of the kids kept telling me that I looked beautiful. Peter was beaming with happiness. Madam Beatrice, one of the teachers, screamed and gave me a huge hug, telling me that I was a Ghanaian beauty. I had my dress, my hair, my beads...all I needed was a couple shades darker on the skin, and I would have blended right in! Madam Agnes, the English teacher, rubbed my arms and spouted off in Twi. So cute.
Kayla and I also took our hair out yesterday after school after 6 weeks of leaving it in. Talk about greasy! The ends weren't too bad, but the roots were matted and gross. When we combed it all out, we both had two huge poof balls for heads. Also, 6 weeks of dead hair came out, too. Kayla and I filled a plastic bag with all the hair that fell out. Kayla told me that she feels like she lost all of her hair and is bald, but I really can't notice a difference. Do I have THAT much hair normally? How embarrassing.
I know everyone's really excited to learn about the results of the research...however, since my study is comparative, I won't actually find out until AFTER I test the students in America. Sorry! Just know that the project was super duper successful here. I got all the information I needed. The students scored really well on the assessments...turns out that the first day was kind of a fluke. The interviews about types of physical activity gave me lots of information, but I don't know how dependable it is, so I'll ask my professor what we should do about that. Worst come to worst, I can ignore duration and only focus on the activities and their intensities. We'll see. I'll keep you all posted, though.
I'm just so happy that my project is done! I tested 30 girls in only 15 days. I'm so pleased. For the next two weeks, I will be volunteering in the clinic, visiting the friends I've made in the community, and exploring. I'm really excited. I don't think my project could have gone better as far as timing and logistics are concerned. All of the people at the school--the headmaster, teachers, and students--were so helpful. They really jumped through fiery hoops to make everything work out. I feel so grateful.
I think the next time I will use the internet will be Wednesday. Hopefully, by that time, you will all have finished reading this extraordinarily long blog post. Enjoy!
I hope everything is well on the homefront. Just seeing the United States on the world maps made me really miss home. I'll be back soon...just two more weeks!
Love you guys.