Well, this weekend Nana Yaw played in his first tournament with All Iowa Attack! It was so exciting to watch him play. The neatest thing was that for his very first game, the gym they played in had this HUGE American flag hanging on the wall…..it was really low to the ground, and I got a glimpse of him waiting to come into the game, kneeled on the ground by the scorer’s table with the flag in the backdrop. It was such a neat moment! Before the tournament Jake gave Nana Yaw the choice as to whether he would rather play with the 17U A team or 17U B team….Nana Yaw chose the B team because Jake said ‘He’s very smart and he knew he would get more playing time!’ Nana Yaw’s basketball talent is still very raw, but he is so athletic that he makes up for not having been coached well before he came here. Jake is training him one-on-one everyday, and they keep bringing up that the goal is July (July is the ‘live period’ when the college coaches start coming to these tournaments). Nana Yaw is really having to adjust to a much different style of play than what he was used to in Ghana. He says the game here is much more complicated and detailed. Jake said that he is a really fast learner though, and he only has to show him something once, and he can do it. The main things they are working on with Nana Yaw right now are fixing his shot and footwork.
Enough about basketball, let’s talk food! This is what I have been the most crazed with since Nana Yaw has started staying with us. I am bound and determined to be able to make him some of his meals from back home, but also want him to love American food too. Every night after dinner either Jake or I ask him if he liked what I made. Almost every time he says ‘It was good.’ I think he would say this if he liked it or not. Well, the other night I made my first ever batch of fried chicken. I waited and waited until he was done eating, and then finally I asked ‘How did I do with my first fried chicken attempt?’ He said, ‘It was perfect.’ Not good, but perfect!!!! So, I am starting to get the hang of it. (I won’t mention that I tried to make his mom’s tomato beef sauce and jollof rice last week and had the whole house smokin’ because I accidently charcoaled the onions! We even had to open up the windows because our eyes were burning! And, it certainly did not turn out as good as when Esi made it….I’ll have to keep trying at the expense of everyone’s appetite.)
Nana Yaw is also starting to really get Jake’s humor! Jake is always joking around with everyone, and Nana Yaw is no different. When Nana Yaw came here a few weeks ago he was very serious, quiet, and reserved. But each week that goes by he is starting to relax more and more and laughs at our jokes! He doesn’t talk much, but listens to everyone else’s conversations, and every once in awhile when someone asks him a question he will talk for awhile. The other day I asked him if he was homesick at all and he said ‘no, everything here is really good.’ He also told me that he has been away from home before because in Ghana their highschool is boarding school. So, you move out of home and into the dorms and live with other students. He said that you have to do everything for yourself there, like laundry, cleaning, a little cooking, etc. Another interesting fact Nana Yaw told me about Ghana is that they don’t really eat dessert there (man are they missing out!). Monday night I made this german chocolate cake with whipped topping, caramel and health bits o brickle….we made Nana Yaw try a piece and he ate the whole thing. About 15 minutes later he went after another piece. Then, the next morning he ate 2 more pieces for BREAKFAST! The Sullivan’s are starting to rub off on him!
Here are some pictures from this weekend. The lighting in the gym was not the best for picture taking, but hopefully I can get some better ones for him in the future! Nana Yaw is #4.