After eight months being isolated in my son, Joshua’s, apartment, two Covid-19 tests in the USA and one when I arrived at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, as well as 12 days in quarantine at my bungalow, I was finally back to my Ghanaian life. It will be a bit different here now that my fellow missionary, Diane, will not be returning. Diane is well missed not only by myself but by the entire Diocese of Damongo community.
I have been back nearly two months. While in the USA I had time to fully comprehend the 14 months in which I lived here. I thought, WOW, did I really do that? Was I really chased by an elephant yet not able to wait until I could go on another safari? Did I really find a scorpion in my washroom yet not worry about how many more were living in my bungalow? Did I really eat dumplings and sauce with my hand and decide I would never go back to eating certain meals with a fork or spoon again? What seemed like unusual behavior when sitting in my son’s apartment in the USA reminiscing about my way of life in Ghana is not unusual at all now that I am back.
Since returning I celebrated Thanksgiving with my adopted Ghanaian family Francis, Paulina and children Anne and Nathan. As I did last year I made a Christmas tree to give my bungalow some Christmas spirit. Ghanaians do not typically put up Christmas trees; evergreens do not exist. This year I made a tree out of plastic bottles.
I enjoyed a quiet Christmas Eve watching a live stream of my home Parish’s (St. Florian in United, PA) Vigil Mass, attended Christmas day Mass at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus church in Canteen, Ghana, the parish of my dear friend Sr. Rubina, and watched a live stream of Christmas day Mass from the Greensburg Diocese Cathedral in Greensburg, PA.For the New Year’s celebration I traveled with Madame Pauline, the Headmistress of St. Anne’s Girls Catholic Secondary School (SAGISS) to her hometown of Nandum. Many of Madame’s nieces and nephews were there for the Holidays as well as her brother, Fr. Remigius Siesegh who works at the Vatican in Rome. The children and I kept busy doing what I am now famous for, making Christmas trees.I attended a vigil Mass on New Year’s Eve and a Mass on New Year’s Day. Both Masses were held outdoors.
An ensemble of xylophones and drums played as anyone who could stand danced. The congregation enjoyed seeing me join in. Many young men gathered around showing me steps and helping me dance to the rhythm of the drums. During one Mass it was announced that a clan had adopted me. What an honor. In the village everyone has two names; one English and one tribal. I was given the name Noriree (I’m sure I spelled it wrong), which means JOYFUL, and joyful it is to be back.
GOD IS GOOD