Thursday, March 19, 2009

“Don’t Sweat the Petty Stuff” by Tammi; 12 March 2009

It’s almost 9 months to the day that Chris and I arrived in Ghana. I’m sitting on the couch reading by “torch light” (flashlight) and Chris is in the shower room taking a bucket bath. This morning we had both running water and electricity. Tonight we do not and it’s funny how little thought we give to this set of frequent facts. We don’t even break stride. The boxed wine from the fridge is still cool and between pages of Truck A Love Story, I take a moment to squeeze some CheezWhiz (courtesy of dear friend’s care package) on a piece of bread.

Today, life is good. It’s the first time in weeks that the temperature has dropped below 80 degrees. A cool breeze is coming in from the open door and I’m loving it.

For the past several weeks the weather has been miserable. March came in like a lion, but not in the sense that a Midwesterner would conjure. It was in like a panting, sweaty, passed out under the nearest Baobab tree kind of lion. A can’t muster up enough gumption to even look at a wounded antelope, much less chase it kind of lion.

Quote of the quarter-

With the look of epiphany drawn on his face, Chris stares at me and conjectures, “I’ve never seen you sweat as much as you do here”.

“Thanks Einstein. Why the *$#^ do you suppose that is?!” I reply. My husband has moments of brilliance. This was not one of those moments.

I try to keep it as cool as possible in the house. I strategically open and close louvers and curtains, and turn ceiling fans off or on (when the electricity is working). But the last few weeks my attempts have been futile. The other night a few hours after the sun went down and the temperature started to “cool”, I checked the thermometer beside the bed as I attempted to go to sleep. It read 90.4 degrees.

Apparently when we first came here it was the “cool” time of the year. I’d go to bed wearing a t-shirt and cover up with a sheet. Now we strip off our clothes and flop on an open mattress. But trust me, there’s nothing sexy about this. It reminds me of the song lyrics “I’d like to sleep with my baby tonight, but it’s too darn hot”!

Back to Chris’ scientific observation- Maybe you have heard the adage, Women don’t sweat. They glisten. In Africa we glisten our asses off! The slightest effort and I’m dripping…no, make that streaming with sweat. Walk to the store to buy t-roll and sweat pours down my front and back. Write on the blackboard during class lecture and the sweat drips down my leg. Simply sit in a chair and watch the world go by…dare to stand up and the puddle of sweat makes it seem as though I’ve wet myself. And I’m not even what you would call a sweater! Back home I don’t perspire readily. But here the difference between breaking and sweat or not is the difference between survival and ceasing to exist! To put existentially, I exist simply. Which is to say, I simply sweat (my balls off)!

Chris celebrates one of the first cooling rains of the season

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