Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Monday in West Africa

Kids' First Day of School, Dad Gets Arrested, the Dog Dies

It didn't take long. In fact, I got "arrested" here much quicker than when we were in Liberia. And one of our dogs died sooner too. Plus our lovely children are grousing about their new school. The other sandal has dropped.

Today started off with Hannah and Noah heading for school trying to keep their chins up even while mumbling under their breath. But we knew this day was coming. The kids were starting another school year, and first day jitters are unprdictable. It could have been worse. With the house quiet, it was time for errands, so Yers Trooly thumped his chest and declared to his wife that he would venture deep into Accra to complete the various quests. He would do this with only his trusty map, his twitchy cell phone, and his desire to master the rules and road
s of the Ghanaian capital.

He set off, map at shotgun, looking for a certain "Ring Road." When he passed it, he wondered if that might have been his exit, and by the time he got to Castle Road, he knew he needed to venture back. He had been going Southwest, now on a parallel avenue, he traveled Northeast. Wishing to find his previous thoroughfare, he turned right at what appeared to be a perfectly good exit right. This was his mistake.

By the time he had reached the next light, two police rushed to his vehicle and waved him over. He had "driven carelessly," so now he must accept the consequences. To Yers, this sounded all too familiar, and the
next steps only required remembering his first few weeks in Liberia. Step one: "You are being arrested." Step Two: "You must carry us to the Police Station where you can apply for bail." Step Three: Upon getting to the station, a deal will be proffered: "Perhaps if we think of something else, you will not need to go in." "Oh yeh?"said Mr. Truly, "Tell me more." The "more" was as expected: if I could "find something" for the arresting officers, I could go. They have that discretion, you see. I told them to continue with the arrest, I wanted to chat with their commander regarding my deed, and of course, their alternative offer.

To make a longer saga shorter, after sitting in a station house providing entertainment for drunk fellows and officers alike, and after listening to my captors debating amongst themselves for an hour, the Station Commander (Agnes) came in from nowhere, called me and the arresting officers into her office, chatted with me a while, warned me to be careful, and let me go. And that was that. I was off to finish my quests, the crime-stoppers off to nab school kids for chewing gum in class.

By the time I got home, our water was not running, the Internet was out, and I was feeling grumpy. But at least our dogs were welcoming me. Or two of them were, Jack and Dusty. The third, Downer, was missing. We all knew she was very sick. When I found her, she was already gone.

The kids got home around three, happy to be home, but still forcing chins up against their natural urges. We all told our stories of the day's events and grieved Downer's passing over a bowl of cookie dough, and by now, as I finish at 4:27pm (GMT), Hannah is singing, Downer is in dog heaven, mom is multitasking, Noah's waiting for me to get off the computer, and I'm heading off for a nap.
After all, tomorrow is another day.

The day began with groggy, unhappy young ones at breakfast. Mom pitches positivism. Dad provides balance, by irritating with camera.

Leaving the gate for the twelve minute walk to school.

There they go! Sniff!

Meanwhile, Accra's finest waits for Yers Trooly to turn right.

But I already told that story. After a long day, home looks swell.

...and soon the kids join us for a well deserved hunk of a sugar, shortening, flour, egg, and chocolate chip concoction. The day comes full circle, at the dinner table.

Bonus Featurette: Our Dogs, Dusty, Jack, and the Late Downer

Daughter delights in gray Jack and African dust-colored Dusty.

Again, Jack hides.
Here they are!
Downer, the one that didn't make it.