This post begins a series of stories about people we have met during our time in Ankaase. Unfortunately, we can't cover all of the people here, but we wanted to share a few as we are leaving.
Roxin, or Asante.
Roxin is the security guard for the day shift. He arrives at the gate around 5:30 in the morning after the nightwatchman leaves. Roxin is generally a serious-minded guy - as it should be for a security guard, I suppose. He sits on the front bench listening to politics on the radio and watching the area around the house with a stern eye. As far as I can tell, there isn't much to be afraid of around our house, but if someone considered causing a little trouble, I'm fairly sure Roxin would make them think better of it.
The only people I have seen break his focus are his children, and Townes. They first made a connection when Townes learned Roxin's name. Townes would wake up, look out the window, and yell "Roxin, Roxin". Roxin would dutifully emerge, give a slight wave, then head back to his post. A friendship was born.
Now that Townes's vocabulary has expanded, you'll hear "Does Roxin fly? Nooo, Roxin doesn't fly" as well as "Bye Bye Roxin" as Townes heads off to school every morning and afternoon.
Thanks for watching out for us Roxin!
Esther, or "Me tamfo", trans. "My enemy"
When I first came to Ankaase 10 years ago, Esther was working at the house with the Doctor's family. We would hang out in the kitchen or in the backyard as I would do my laundry. She recently reminded me of one evening where I came to her house and helped to shuck corn.
Esther is warm with an infectious laugh and her wide network of friends never ceases to amaze me; as she was leading Kacey through Kejetia market, she would constantly greet all of her friends working in the stalls, each of whom she refers to as her "sistah". Considering that Kejetia is the largest open air market in West Africa, she has quite a few sisters!
She is also known as Me Tamfo, or My Enemy. When I was first learning Twi, I would confuse Me Damfo, My Friend, with Me Tamfo, My Enemy. After making the mistake several times, we eventually settled on calling each other "Me Tamfo".
Esther now works in Kumasi, so unfortunately we didn't get to see her much this trip. We'd occasionally catch her when she would come to tend her small cocoa farm in Ankaase. Tonight she came by to teach Kacey how to make groundnut soup - it was good and spicy!
Ralph is from the Volta Region, but now lives in Ankaase. I first met him 10 years ago when he worked construction at the hospital. He now has his own shop in Ejuretia (about a 10 minute walk from Ankaase) where he welds and fabricates. Whenever you ask him how business is going, his response is "as usual, small small". Ralph's a friendly guy and always good for a quick chat on the way to the pre-school. We had tried to weld a chin-up bar behind the house - but I think the governor's pipe wasn't quite galvanized enough (?) - regardless, I decided not to push him too hard and it was never built!