I'm just a girl trying to find her own custom groove in this world without bending to the expectations of others.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Ravages of Time

Evidence proves that time takes everything new and beautiful and exciting and converts it to old and mishappen and dull.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A New Scheherazade Theme

The following is a submission for The Scheherazade Project. I've been working on it for a long time. In fact, it's not even for the latest theme, but I want to post it anyway because I've been thinking about it for weeks. It's apparent that I wrapped it up quickly, but I'm sick of it not being done. Also, because I haven't had internet access, I haven't been able to research as in depth as I've wanted. Other than that, please leave any criticism. I'm posting from Mad Hatter's as I still have no computer.

PS: I forgot to mention the theme for the project. We had to work the following statement into a story - "I guess he/she was just born that way."


The year was 1964. Beatlemania had just been conceived and the nation was still reeling from the recent assassination of John F. Kennedy. The war was escalating in Vietnam and Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize, but I wasn’t wrapped up in any of it. Instead, I was weaving baskets in Bolgatanga, Ghana.

Earlier that year, my parents announced that we would be spending our summer in Western Africa on a mission trip. Though my sister and me wanted to raise our voices in unified protest, we were both smart enough to remain silent. That night, however, in the cool darkness of Beth’s room, we whispered our contempt.

Dad tried his best to engage us in the excitement he and mom shared, but we dug in our heels. When he eagerly told us that it wasn’t customary to eat with or offer anything with our left hand in Africa, Beth quietly raised the middle finger of her left hand behind dad’s back. I smiled thinking of the secret giggles we shared, but the memory evaporated instantly with the moaning from the sick girl inside.

We had been in Bolgatanga for almost two months already and were having the time of our lives. While our parents were busy setting up the school, me and Beth spent our days weaving baskets with our group and sharing stories of America with our new friends.

That fateful day seemed hotter than normal and the biting flies seemed determined to leave our bodies peppered with welts. We slapped at them as we walked along the edge of the razor sharp elephant grass. I asked Neeway what had happened to Siatta’s fingers. Every day during basket time, I watched Siatta work. I couldn’t help staring at the knobby bumps where her fingers should have been and the pink skin stretched and shiny around her black hand.

Neeway paused as if remembering, “I dunno. I guess she be born dat way.”

Then the awful scream, reverberating through the heavy air and piercing my ears painfully. It took only seconds to react and I rushed to Neeway who was now laying in a crumpled ball, whimpering. I saw blood dripping from her leg a second before I saw the green snake coiled at the edge of the grass. My mind raced - Should I try to move Neeway or would any sudden movement cause the snake to lash out again? What kind of snake is it? Is it poisonous? How long do I have to get help. Run. Run and get help.

Now, days later, Neeway lay in a straw bed, feverish and unconscious save the occasional groaning. The Tindaana of the village had been engaged in prayer for the past three hours after the doctor told the family that this day would be critical. Members from the Gruhi tribe as well as surrounding tribes came in constant procession to make offerings and pray for the sick girl.

The calmness in my mother’s voice belied the fear in her eyes as she coaxed Neeway’s mother to eat some Waache, “You’ll need your strength Yamah. Your daughter will want you when she awakes. Eat.”

All day this went on. Yamah’s heartbreaking sobs, mom comforting, dad pacing and me praying that my friend would be okay. I dozed off to the hypnotic chanting of the Tindaana and was awakened to a flurry of movement and excited cries. “She’s awake Yamah, come quickly,” the doctor called.

It seemed hours before anyone emerged from the little hut again, but when Yamah and the doctor reappeared in the doorway, it was apparent they were very upset. Neeway had woke only to speak to her mother before closing her eyes permanently.

We stayed in Bolgatanga for another week to attend the Damba, the festival of thanksgiving, dedication and reunion. The entire tribe was there to celebrate the passing of Neeway from this life unto the next. I was sad. I didn’t understand the celebration while I was there, but over the years I grew to appreciate the value of life and to realize that death is just the beginning.

Temporary Hiatus

Due to severe computer problems, I've been very much unable to blog or even return emails appropriately. I've been making the rounds through my neighborhood begging for computer time, but I never feel like I should be on very long.

This temporary outage should last for another week or two and then I'll be back full force to regale you with wonderful stories of my summer. Hope everyone is well.