Not one hour after I posted “Going Native,” my wallet was stolen.  I walked from the internet cafe to the crowded tro-tro station, my bag over my shoulder and the zipper planted under my elbow.  I had a hard time finding my tro-tro, and was speaking to a driver.  Two young men walked by and it seemed like one reached for my arm, so fast I wasn’t even sure.  (Men, and children, touching the obruni randomly as they walk by has proven not to be very unusual.)  I made the connection, looked at my bag, saw the zipper was open, and realized my wallet was gone: in the thirty seconds that took, the young men had disappeared among the tro-tros into the darkness.


Thanks to a very kind gentleman who paid my fare, I still got a tro-tro home, calling Amadou en route in a panic.  When I got back, I bought more cellphone minutes, called the U.S.–first my sister, who had my credit card numbers, then my mother and father (neither was home), then the credit card companies and the bank.  The passport was at home.  I was very shaken up and upset that night, but really it could surely have been worse.  I should not have had my wallet on the top of my bag–I was being careless as I left the internet cafe, especially in an area I didn’t know–but if they were to just grab the first thing they saw, I really *would* prefer that they grabbed my wallet over my camera, or, honestly, my journal.  Not that they’re likely to grab a journal, but one never knows.

I suppose it’s a rite of passage.  But I wanted to let everyone know, including the strangers, if there are any who read this.  I was being foolish and incautious, and there were shitty consequences.

Two days later, Amadou took me to the beach, to one of the beaches where you can actually swim, known as La Beach (“La” is short for something, but I cannot call what to mind right now).  And it was amazing, and freeing, and beautiful.  Sometimes I really do not think I want to do more with my life than sit by the ocean, go in once in a while, and read all day.  Possibly chat with others, and possibly write, but that’s it.  It was the first truly beautiful place I have been, though Amadou says he’ll take me to many more.  It was overcast, and a slight fog coated the ocean.  The tide was out, though coming in a little, and there was only one spot where people were swimming.  When I joined them, several Ghanaian men, including one with a yellow inner tube, hit on me, asking for a swimming partner instead of the usual line, “I would like to know you better can I be your friend will you give me your number,” while staring at my nipples, but even that couldn’t permeate the protective bubble of salt spray that seemed to have formed around me.

And at the end of that day, I realized, at long last, that I have not been here that long.  Just that.  I really do live here, and I have no idea how to live here yet, and that’s all I got.  I can’t expect myself to know how to get through strange neighborhoods at sunset, nor to be acclimated to giant cockroaches.  I meant “Going Native” to be sarcastic, but it really was what I was trying to do.  And it’s stupid.  I’ll figure out how I live here.  I will not stop being myself while I do.

I am here to accomplish something: to teach a theater class in one village in the Greater Accra Area.  So far, I am taking a lot of steps towards that goal–pretty bloody quickly and well, I should add, thankyouverymuch.  This is also where I live, and I will learn how I live here, and I need to be open to learning it.

Which makes for rather a moralistic ending, but I have to put my thoughts into *something* that resembles blog-post form.