Monday, June 28, 2010


Hello everyone! Everything's going great here in Ghana. Right now we are still in Accra, but we leave for Damongo Wednesday morning (6am, bright and early!) We all dislike the city, especially since we got a taste of "the real Ghana" Wednesday when we went to Winneba for Annie's and Fred's mega birthday party. After a stressful tro-tro ride (we accidentally paid the wrong person our fare, then had to pay again), we got into Winneba and immediately loved it. The air is cleaner, and it's just so much calmer and quieter. Fred let us stay at his house for the night, so we met up with Annie and got some lunch at a place by the market. We took a taxi back to the house, got ready, and left for the party. We got to the bar/restaurant just in time for the soccer game (USA vs. Ghana) to start. When Ghana scored in the first 10 minutes...I've NEVER seen anybody celebrate as wildly as the Ghanaians did (except for maybe when they won the game!) It was so much fun, especially when they won; the DJ started the music right away (really loud music, I must say) and everybody was cheering and dancing. Very exciting!

Because we're not huge party people, Janaan, Ross and I left shortly after that to have some quiet time and get to bed early. I was feeling stressed at that point (just overwhelemed with everything, moving around all the time, maybe a bit of culture-shock), so I talked with both of them and they made me feel a ton better. Even if the past two days, I think our group is getting closer and more comfortable with each other. That's very important, as Annie told us, because we're going to need to lean on each other and support each other, especially when one of us is having a hard time.

We got back into Accra last night, and have taken it easy since then. We're meeting with Mrs. Awartie, the director of science education for Ghana, this afternoon, and then we're heading to the market to do some shopping! I hope to get a bag, maybe some gifts...and maybe I'll learn to haggle! I've heard a lot of advice when it comes to haggling, but I've never tried it myself. I think that's one of the many ways I'll learn to stand up more for myself on this trip. One of the things I want to get out of being in Ghana is to learn more about myself and grow comfortable in my own skin. I'm a softie, but I don't want everybody to walk over me all the time - I need to get some tougher skin. It's so hard though, because I'm a people pleaser. Even last night I think I was a little too nice to someone I was talking to in the hotel lobby. I needed help with my toilet - I thought it was broken, but it turns out I just wasn't pushing the lever hard enough - and a Ghanaian sitting there watching TV volunteered to help me. He was teaching me some Twi and making me practice, and he told me (out of the blue!) that his friend loved me and was worried about me. The way I dealt with it was to try and joke my way out of it - "How can he love me? I don't even know his name!" - but he just smiled and repeated that he loved me. So I said I was married, and that my husband was also staying at the hotel. (Ross is serving as my husband, since Kaleigh has already used Eric as her husband; it's also not sufficient to say you have a husband back home, because the Ghanaians will just say "well, he's not here right now..." and so on). By the end of our conversation he was telling me that HE loved me, to which I could only say thank you. Not quite a marriage proposal, but very similar. I hope I handled it well. But I need to get a bit more aggressive (without being mean) and not put up with things that really bother me.

I feel like I've talked your guys' ears off in this post, so I'm going to wrap it up here and try to tell you more later! I wish I could talk more about the culture, but I don't feel like Accra is really "Ghana" - Annie even said that Accra isn't the real Ghana. Of course it's different from back home, but I'm looking forward to being in the smaller communities and really getting to know a few Ghanaians. Okay that's good for now - talk to you all soon! Love you! :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


We have finally made it safely to Accra, after a mad rush to our flight to JFK in Detroit (our flight from GR was delayed due to the storms, so by the time we made it to Detroit we were cutting it really close!) The same thing happened in New York - pretty much from one plane to the other. So needless to say I'm happy just to be here!

I'm not sure where to even start in describing the city. (And forgive me, I'm quite sleep-deprived, so whatever I write today is probably going to be very disjointed and maybe confusing! I apologize!) I learned my lesson quickly when leaving the airport not to let anybody help you load your bags into the van; someone almost stole 50 cedis (approx. $35?) from me when I attempted to give them a tip! I was warned about that, but I guess so many things slip your mind when you actually get here. We've taken it easy for the most part today. Janaan's friend of a friend Kennedy picked us up at the airport, and we went to Frankie's Restaurant for breakfast. I didn't really feel like eating - the airline gave us a free breakfast due to the fact that we sat on our plane to Accra for an hour before even leaving! - and although it was 9:30 here (and normally I would have been SO ready for breakfast - you know I like to eat!), I had no appetite. I'm hungry now, but what I want most is just to sleep. Luckily our hostel has air-conditioned rooms, so that shouldn't be a problem!

Accra's quite a bustling place, as is any big city. All along the road there are shops, selling almost anything you might need (oddly there are a lot of computer and printer places). There are a few scattered internet cafes also, which is where the four of us are right now, typing away. We met some kids who had just gotten out of school about an hour ago. We found where their school was and they swarmed us when we got there! They were so happy to see us, and they all wanted to touch us and hold our hands. We met some of their teachers, and will probably go back tomorrow if time allows. I'm not sure what we'll do tonight - most likely get dinner and collapse on our beds, since we're all exhausted (it was very difficult to sleep on the plane over here due in part to the uncomfortable position of the plane seat and in part to an occasionally screaming baby that kept EVERYBODY awake!) I'm still a little in shock right now about everything; I suppose I'd be more excited if I was more well-rested.

Ohh one thing. Kennedy (who picked us up from the airport) is a sports broadcaster, and he invited us to join him on Saturday for the Ghana vs. USA soccer match - on live TV! I think that would be so cool if we could do that! Then that night we're heading to Winneba to go to Annie's and Freddie's birthday party (Annie traveled to Ghana last year and is here right now working on a clean water initiative; Freddie is with Challenging Heights). So we've got some good things lined up! But first, sleep! :)

I miss everyone back home, and I'll call you all before I go to bed tonight! I love everyone!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The road is calling, today is the day...

Well, tomorrow to be exact. This will probably sound a little cliche, but it's hard to believe I'm actually leaving for Ghana tomorrow. So many months of preparation, getting all my ducks in a row...and we're taking off at 10:30 tomorrow morning! Maybe it will hit me when the plane leaves the runway, or when we arrive at the Accra airport. Either way, we're going to Ghana! This is so exciting for me, because it's my first international trip - and the destination is Africa! It's just surreal. I'm ready, literally (my packing is pretty much done!) and figuratively. I'm ready to be challenged in so many ways, to see how other people live and love in a completely different part of the world. It's going to be a life-changing trip, and I cannot wait to depart on this journey.

I'm not sure what else to say for now, so I guess I'll see you all in 5 weeks! Love you all!