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Della Stachi-O’s

27 Feb

Della Stachi-O's

Howdy.

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Woezo!

6 Feb

Woezo!

After 168 straight days under the African sun, I welcomed the cold drizzle in Paris and the biting winds in Dublin as I made my way home to Chicago for the holidays. I was bombarded with hugs at the front door from people whose voices had soothed me from afar and kept catching my father staring at me with a look of disbelief — I was really home. The kitchen was overflowing with delicacies I hadn’t tasted in 24 weeks and I allowed the comforts of home to consume me, as they often do when I return from a trip.

No sooner had I settled into life at home than thoughts of Hohoe began to surface. I tried to keep my mind from racing as I lay in bed each night, but I couldn’t silence the women’s morning songs, Mama Christie’s shy giggle, or Aggie’s raspy 2-year-old voice calling my name. The sounds, sights, and smells flooded my brain as I wondered how life could go on in Hohoe in my absence.

Now I’m back and nothing has changed. The Della seamstresses are still the most beautiful human beings on earth (just glance at the photo, and you’ll see), the neighbor kids are still little rascals, and lunch at my favorite place in town is still mouthwateringly delicious. I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring for Della.

Rachael

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A Wet Welcome

3 Oct

A Wet Welcome

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.”

Rachael

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What will you find, when you look inside?

31 Jan

 

of a bag? of yourself? of others?