Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Morris in Boise

Morris, who was the physical education teacher at the deaf school in Buduburam, who was in the hospital in Accra for 3 months, who was then literally on his back in bed for about 6 months (except for the one month when it was difficult to breathe while laying down and he was sitting in a chair at the table in his room), who I’ve blogged about several times and who finally had lung surgery at the end of February, has been resettled to the states. He's now living in Boise, ID. He's been there for three months, living with George and Renee - his host parents. I finally had a chance to visit him a week ago.

I’ve been really lucky – a few months ago I was able to visit Patrick and his family in Norway, the first friends from Africa I’ve been able to visit in their new, resettled life. And now I’ve also had a chance to visit Morris, also a good friend with whom I’ve journeyed through some good times and also some difficult times, as he’s settling into a new life.

Before going to Boise, I was able to find a great car-rental deal resulting in me being able to rent a car for a week, making it possible for us to do a road trip to Fort Collins, CO. We had a chance to see a part of the country new to both of us (as it whizzed by at 83 miles per hour - there's no documentation that it ever exceeded that) and also to visit Rick and Marianne – some friends (and my new brother-in-law’s parents) who visited me, and met Morris, in Ghana back in January.

Morris is doing well in his process of adjusting to life in the US. He can work the remote control. He can get subtitles to show up. He finds his way around Boise with a combination of rides from friends, public transport, and bicycle. He just (maybe 3 or so weeks now) received cochlear implant surgery – and this will be activated in another 3 weeks or so, and that’s when a lot of work on Morris’ part will begin to be sure the implant is as successful in aiding his hearing and speech as possible. He also just found out that the surgery done back in February resulted in him now only having one lung (yes, they removed the other one – who knew?). Basically, he’s healthy and happy. His case manager is helping him to find a place of his own, and soon he also hopes to start working.

On our first full day in Colorado, one option was to go to Rocky Mountain National Park - to see the mountains, of course. But Morris expressed a strong interest in visiting Denver, so plans were made to go there. First stop - museum of modern art (but just the outside, the gift shop, and the restrooms), then the capitol building (where we met a peace rally), then a stroll around tall buildings and down 16th Street Mall (the kind of shopping, tourist area). The excitement of the Denver Rockies in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox (the first game in Denver to be played that night) filled the atmosphere that day.

We took Morris to a corn maze (a maize maze - I think this how it was interpreted at first and therefore a little confusing - or maybe I just like to think of it as a "corn corn" - or maybe it's just that a "maze" is a foreign concept to a Liberian refugee - imagine that).
They even had a pumpkin toss - the huge contraption pictured here that, uh, yes, tosses a pumpkin (more than tosses - it CHUNKS the thing way out there) where it smashes, hopefully hitting the target and not the maze goers (it does add a little excitement to finding your way through the maze, though - you not only have to pay attention to the path you're taking, but also to anything incoming from above). Another thing to imagine, chunking a pumpkin, something edible and which makes some delicious soups and stews - not to mention the cider - which after being chunked will probable not be the most desirable thing to eat.

Following the Denver Zoo, with all the kids in costume, we went to the Swetsville Zoo

Rocky Mountain National Park

Morris let out a little "wow" as we rounded a corner and the Rockies were there in all their majesty. He later posed by the Hummer (not the rental),

found ice forming on the edges of Bear Lake, met with his first snowball (thanks to Marianne - somehow she beat me to it), and took a little hike.

Morris in one of his favorite activity at his host family's home:


At 9:48 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Great pictures and a great update - weird that he's down to one lung now, but clearly it's working well!

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Rick said...

It was fun to see all the photos - it was great to have you and Morris visit. We're anxious to hear from Morris after his implant gets turned on, we hope for the best.


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