Here I sit in Renton, Washington smothering in the heat and it makes me think of my last trip back to Ghana. March 17, 2007, I stepped onto the tarmac at the Kotoka International Airport into suffocating…stifling…smothering heat- I had almost forgotten the perpetual sauna like atmosphere in Ghana.
Once inside the airport, there was the normal hustle and bustle --- semi lines that people never stay in. A lot of shoving in an attempt to be the first to reach the immigration counters. There was never a reason for the rush because the bags took forever to appear. After being shoved for the hundredth time, I know, “I’m back”
I exited the departure hall and was immersed in a sea of people. How does one explain the masses of people that always seemed to be around? It was like a perpetual rally taking place.
Of course it was “Light off” when I arrived at the house. Light off simply meant there was no power. Daniel kindly fired up the generator and promised me he wouldn’t turn it off til 11 pm.
I remember waking up at 2.45 am feeling that groggy “where am I?” feeling. My mind kept trying to grasp why everything was so still. I lay there in utter darkness listening to the gentle hum of someone’s generator and that reminded me that it was “light off.” I just lay there staring into the pitch black nothingness. I couldn’t sleep, so I just lay there and prayed for everyone I could think of. At about 4 something, I listened and waited…. I was sure to hear the ever familiar sweeping; the ritual early morning sweeping. It doesn’t matter how big the house is, or how small the hut is, the Ghanaians will wake up in the wee hours of the morning to sweep. They use a broom that almost looks like the bottom half of a witch’s broom. (minus the stick part)The sound of the sweeping is a rhythmic sound—it is a comforting routine….a way of saying, “this is a new day and we are going to sweep away all the dust and sand and grime from yesterday and we are going to start a new and a fresh” At 4.30 am the sound of the sweeping joined the hum of the distant generator. I listened as they told me, “You are back!”