Adventures in Africa!
We have been here over a month now and time is going quickly. It is amazing how many new perceptions you can have once you remove the Western lens and allow yourself to grow and experience new things, such as attending a Ghanaian wedding, joining the church choir or even to trying new foods. We all have forced ourselves to make friends and invest into them, learning and growing together. We have learned so much about Ghanaian culture and so much about ourselves and we have a little over a month to go. I will summarize a few adventures that we have had that are noteworthy.
Let's start with the many blackouts and water shortages. You begin to appreciate cold showers when you do have a chance to take them, because you don't know when the water is going to be out. Not to mention the lights go out often and usually without warning so one learns how to shower and use the washroom in the dark and one learns how to keep entertained when you don't have the availability of internet or power to charge your laptops or other electronics. We have become creative with this free time. We have had fun making shadow figures using flashlights and a blank wall (going back to our childhood days either camping or just when we weren't ready for bed yet hiding under our blankets with a flashlight). We have also had mini fake campfires where we listen to music and eat chocolate. We appreciate power when we do have it and we try not to get frustrated when we don't. It has kept things interesting.
Next, let's discuss the trip to the Volta region. First of all, getting there was an adventure in itself. We had to figure out how to take a tro-tro (van/minibus packed with people that are cheap to get around in) to Tema then find our way to the main station (which was not where we were dropped off) where once again we had to wait, for a bus to fill up (buses don't leave till every seat or space is filled up which often takes more than a hour sometimes) so that we could head to the Volta region. The bus ride was bumpy, hot, long and worst of all bathroom breaks were few and far in between. I believe we had one in total over the 6+ hour drive. For one of the members of our group, this proved to be quite an inconvenience and she ended up going pee on the ground with absolutely no privacy. She said it was quite an experience. When we finally finished the break, we continued taking pictures, enjoying the view. It was pouring rain and some of the roads were beginning to flood. We saw older women and children walking in muddy water up to their knees it was an uncomfortable and surprising sight for me. However, these women and children seemed completely unperturbed by it. The next part of our journey was the toppling fridge that we literally thought was going to kill us by squishing us. It was loosely tied to the bus railing and two of our group members were sitting right beside it. When we started going over potholes and we noticed the fridge was not tied properly and was starting to lean in our direction it started to become a little scary. When the fridge started to move with every rattle caused by the speed bumps, we knew it had to be retied. The first attempt by a Ghanaian man proved to be unsuccessful which added to the drama. Sure enough the fridge had come untied and luckily one of our group members sitting next to it caught it before it could crush us. That was a truly anxious ride for some and entertaining for others. When we finally arrived it was dark and we had to find cabs and carry our stuff and go over more potholes until we finally made it to the Wli Water Heights Waterfall Resort. I will skip over a few parts since we don't want to spend too long reading this. We were able to experience being up close and personal with a waterfall and we were able to feed monkeys from our hands with them literally sitting on our shoulders. We ate great meals and had a wonderful thanksgiving feast and we were able to successfully get home without any peril or detours. It was a great trip overall.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is our Halloween celebration that happened just last night. Feeling a little homesick around this time of year, we decided to have our own Halloween celebration. Some of us went all out from decorating the door to the room, to actually making props for their costumes. We all enjoyed making our costumes and shopping for our finishing touches. And I would say that they looked awesome. We decided to be the Justice League. Pictures say it all and they will be posted soon. People were so impressed that they came out of their rooms and wanted to take pictures with us. We were able to share part of our culture with them, and they loved it! We (including our Ghanaian and Nigerian friend) went out to The Lexington (previously known as Champs) and had a great night of dancing, cheap but amazing Halloween cocktails and some amazing memories/stories. It was a great way to celebrate Halloween and show our new friends what its all about.
We have enjoyed ourselves thoroughly so far and we are excited to see what's to come.
Till next time,
The GT 2012 team.