Disclaimer: this post may or may not be rated R due to explicit language. children under 17 should stop reading now. (sorry, dad. i know you raised me with a better mouth than this but some things just call for it.)

I am a yevu. In Ghana, being a yevu is being different. It’s being shouted at on the street, or followed by lines of children while walking home, or even being treated more kindly by folk at the market. Being yevu has its vantage points, but sometimes it can get to be a lot. Can you guess what a yevu is?

Well first, let me tell you about this little yevu’s past adventures. So as i mentioned in my last post, Kate and i were traveling to the monkeys and the mountains. First stop was to be the monkeys.

This was our first excursion without John being here (only second excursion overall) and i think we were both a little apprehensive about how the traveling might go. It went fairly smoothly except for the beginning. To the monkeys we went, and the monkeys were in a village called Tafi. To get to Tafi we had to take a tro tro from Ho to a junction on the outskirts of the village. From the junction, we were to take a motorbike (which i seriously cannot get enough of) to the town of Tafi. When i say we take a motorbike somewhere, it usually because the roads are not good enough for a car to travel down. They’re either not paved, not paved well, or full of potholes and obstacles that cars can make it through, but prefer not to. The problem with getting to the junction, however, was that we had to tell the driver where to stop. John assured us that so many yevues go to the monkey sanctuary that chances are, the driver would automatically stop for us. Well, he didn’t. He didn’t even stop for us when we told him that we wanted to go to the junction for the monkey sanctuary. About an hour and a half into our ride a couple women in the tro tro finally stopped the driver and told him to pull over for us. The problem was, we were not stopped at the junction and really had no idea where the junction was. I had a moment of internal panic, but thankfully we flagged down a motorbike driver who was so so nice and drove us to Tafi. He was really sweet, and was really going in the opposite direction of where we needed to go, and Kate and i seriously questioned whether or not he was a driver who took passengers or just felt sorry for us, but we made it.

The sanctuary was pretty awesome. It wasn’t like in the states, where a “sanctuary” is a caged in area where they keep some lonely monkeys. Tafi is where the monkeys actually live, they’re not in captivity and no one watches over them. You walk down the road of the village and look over to a little seating area and there are just monkeys hanging out. For 6 GHc (less than $5) we were able to feed the monkeys some bananas. They jumped all over us and ate those bananas just like little people would. They were simply adorable and their little hands made me so happy. After the bananas were eaten, our guide took us for a nice nature walk through Tafi. It was all-around quite the enjoyable experience.

Now let me tell you about these fuckin’ waterfalls. The Wli waterfalls are the tallest waterfalls in all of West Africa. No, not just Ghana – all.of.west.africa. They are twofold: the lower and the upper falls. You can’t go somewhere like the Wli waterfalls and only go to the lower falls, that’s just plain wimpy. So we did the upper falls. We got a guide, and his name was Michael. He was an adorable little man who was wearing flip flops thinner than my worn-in old navies and climbs this mountain several times a week. How he does it, i have no idea. When you get there, they warn you about how the hike takes about 4-4.5 hours round trip and it’s a douzy so you should load up on water. We did, and we were well on our way. When we first started we were on a delightful little nature walk through the woods and i’m thinking to myself, ‘Well, this really isn’t so bad, i could do this all day.’ We were going over cute bridges, and observing the pretty butterflies (which were everywhere.) Then Michael comes to a stop and turns right up this cascade of tumbling rocks and looks down at a pile of sticks.

“Choose your walking stick,” he says.

And so it begins. The most arduous hike of my entire life. I’m no experienced hiker at all, but i’ve been on my fair share of hikes and this one fucking killed me. I’m not kidding you, i wanted to cry and die all at the same time. Kate was hiking up ahead of me like a fuckin’ pro and i’m huffing along trying not to collapse, with Michael behind me most likely cursing my existence because i kept making him stop. He acted like it was no sweat off his back, smokin cigs and walkin in his flips flops while sweat was pouring off of me and my lungs are about to give in.

But then we made it. And the waterfall was spectacular. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. and while climbing the mountain you can see everything around you for miles and miles. It truly was one of the coolest things i’ve ever done. Despite how considerably miserable i was during the actual hike, it was completely worth it. And we concurred that fucking mountain. One of the greatest feelings in the world.

From there, we trekked back to Ho for the night and then made it back to Seviefe on Monday. When we got to Seviefe we went for a walk with Charles to the next village and wandered around their high school. I don’t believe the school is being used right now due to lack of attendance but it was interesting to see. To me, it looked forgotten. It was made of crumbling cement blocks surrounded by overgrown shrubs. If it were something i stumbled upon by myself, i certainly would have taken the time to explore it.

On Tuesday, Kate and i did our laundry by hand for the first time ever. Everyone was laughing at us and showing us how to do it because we’re silly americans who use washing machines. Ernestine told Kate that next time, we should just leave the washing to her because she had to wash everything over for us anyways. You can’t blame us for trying.

Tuesday and Wednesday we went to the school to teach. The feeling of not really wanting to teach is unfortunately coming back because i feel as though i’m not making as much of a difference as i want to. It really is hard for the students to understand me, and even when i try i think Erickson can do a far better job. Either way, it i suppose it’s a nice experience.

On Wednesday George got us out of school early because the carpenters finished the roof on the nursery school and he wanted us to be present for the finished ceremony. The Togbe (chief) of the village was there, as well as Ben (who is Charles uncle, and the owner of the house we’re staying in, also a prominent member of the community), George, Sammy, Divine, and all the workers of the nursery school. Togbe said a few words (all of which we could not understand, but George translated for us) and then there was a round a rum shots and then palm wine. Everyone though Kate and i were drunk off the palm wine (ok, we might have been a little tipsy) but the stuff is actually pretty delicious. It’s sort of a light milky color, that tastes sweet and smokey at the same time.

Yesterday Kate and i didn’t go to school but wandered through the farms and explored the nearby rivers a bit. There are two notable ones around us and we had been to the first and still wanted to see the second so we did that. Today (Friday) George took us on a hike/walk up to this village on the top of a nearby mountain. I wish i could remember the name of it but it escapes me right now. This was another hike that kicked my ass (apparently i need to do more hiking) but it was awesome. We followed an extremely steep, extremely windy road for a little over an hour, me huffing all the way to the top. It was incredible how steep this thing was, and yet cars and motorbikes were still passing us without a care. At the top was a quaint little village that was very different than Deme. It was very rocky and tight-knit, George seemed to know everyone. He introduced us to many of his friends, and took us to the top of the mountain that had a view that i wish all of you could see. I felt like i was on top of the world, we could see everything and it was amazing. After poking our heads in here and there, he took us to meet the Togbe of the village and we took some akpateshi ( i swear – George loves feeding us this stuff.) Then we hitched a ride home with one of his friends so we didn’t have to walk. This was especially nice because about ten minutes after we left the skies opened up and it started to downpour.

Well, folks that’s all that i got for this week i think. This little yevu (which, if you were wondering – means ‘white person’ and they shout it at us everywhere – mostly children) is gonna go hang out with this artist we met, whose name is Yao, and apparently has a sweet roof deck and some drums. So i’m gonna go learn a little drumming tune to bring back to you all.

I’m going to leave you with this absolute HIT of a song that is on the radio everywhere – ENJOY!

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