Della has taken on a new intern now that Heidi has gone to Rwanda and Alexa is back in sunny California. His name is Zyad, and yesterday was his birthday.
As with any culture, Ghana has some particular birthday traditions. My personal favorite is the tradition of pouring water all over the person as a way to wish them well. Seeing as it was Zyad’s birthday and all, we decided a good old fashioned water dousing would serve as the perfect initiation to working for Della.
Now that I manage to speak a little Ewe, I was able to communicate secretly with the women during a large group meeting to introduce Zyad, telling them, “Water. Plenty of water. Outside. Not now, later. At 4:00.” Zyad looked at me with confused yet trusting eyes while I explained that the women had just informed me that they wanted to take a group photo with him outside after the meeting. “Oh, ok.”
They armed themselves with water bottles, water sachets, and filled up from the water bucket outside the workroom while unsuspecting Zyad chatted with Grave, the sewing machine repairman, on the porch.
I readied the camera and called him over. He warily approached the chair they had set out for him, seeing right through their suspiciously wide grins.
Lydia and Esenam began the attack, and Vic followed with an impressively strong and steady stream from her water sachet. I was very impressed by their dedication, and told them afterwards that I was proud beyond words.
Speaking of words, Zyad learned his first in Ewe that day: akpe nami, meaning “Thank you all very much.”