Nandom, Ghana

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.55.51 PMIt was a surreal experience, seated “VIP” at the community peace building soccer game. To my right, my mother and to my left a chief. Many chiefs. And who was I? As each new dignitary arrived, I would shake hands and flash a nervous grin as they analyzed my seemingly out of place seating. I was rocking a “Ghanian” dress, but one customary to the South. At that, most woman wore jeans and a tshirt. I was only slightly out of place. My time in Nandom, Ghana has been one that I will never forget. With a population of 7,000 – my mothers former peace corps home welcomed me with open arms. It has been almost 28 years since mom stepped foot in the town that defined her 20s and set the path for her future. As the only peace corps volunteer in the remote village, she was forced to quickly adapt – coming from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. I think “remote” is an understatement. We took an hour flight north from the capital Accra and then took another 6 hour drive to get to Nandom.  When we finally arrived we stayed at a local guest house, each with our own rooms. Boasting the basic amenities, it was a comfortable stay. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to adapt to changing environments, immersing myself wherever my plane landed next but Nandom, Ghana provided me with culture shock I had never previously experienced. I don’t know what I can say about the sights, sounds and culture that distinguish the town from any other city I’ve been to but it was a reality check. Even though I’ve lived in our nations capital for a mere 6 months,  I’ve grown sheltered and safe. Accustomed to routine and the bubble that is Washington DC. Our trip was short and sweet. But my mother had the opportunity to relive her peace corps days while I shockingly lived vicariously through her. It was only fitting I came to visit Nandom at the same age my mother was when she first moved here.

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