We’re back! We have arrived home safely with everyone intact.
On Monday, the day after I posted my previous entry, we drove to Heritage for the last time. Most of us were decked out in our new Ghanaian fabric. I wore my shorts and a t-shirt I had gotten at Kakum National Park. We arrived and began the painful process of saying goodbye. There were many exchanges of letters and gifts. I doled out some candy. We all took “snaps” of the kids we taught and had gotten to know. Before we knew it, we had a formal assembly to say goodbye, and then we took our group picture and said goodbye for the last time.
We drove back to JIMMYCOM, took pictures with Alaska, Heritage’s pro driver. He was very gracious, and worked for a lot of extra time on the weekends to shuttle us to all of the places we visited. On the weekdays, he works longer hours than just about anyone at Heritage, since he had to pick up and drop off all of the students before and after school.
We packed the last residual clothing into our suitcases, packed them into the bus, and set out for Accra. We were staying in a hotel, which according to Kwesi was “within spitting distance” from the airport. The place was amazing: it had air-conditioning, running water, and even mirrors and soap. We all felt very out-of-place.
We ate a massive chinese food dinner that night as a celebration of the work we had done and as an appreciation for our group and the time we spent together. We all tried to avoid seafood dishes, because Ghanaians have odd ways of preparing seafood.
This morning, we had a 6:00AM wake-up call, a twelve-hour flight, and a four hour drive from JFK to Westtown. It felt great to be home, but we were all freezing when we got back. Most of us had acclimatized to the 95-degree and humid weather of Ghana, and now we were thrust back into the frozen tundra of North America. Teachers Melissa and Linda were there to greet us, as well as Emmanuel and Isaac. We exchanged news and stories of our journey, and tried out some of the Fante we had picked up.
Fortunately, I left Ghana with few regrets. I wish that I had bought more when we had the opportunity, because it is uncertain whether I will ever be able to go back. I want about three more shirts and three more pairs of pants and shorts, as well as wooden statues and other crafts.
We did not get any grass cutter. We heard from a bunch of Heritage students that it is amazing, but we only ever saw them for sale when we were driving to Ajumako when we arrived and as we were driving to Accra on the last day. People sell them on the sides of large roads, but we couldn’t ever stop. We will all be dreaming wonderful Malarone-induced dreams of grass cutter steaks.
Also, as Bella and Kevin would agree, I wish that we had managed to bring back some Passion Fruit Alvaro. Mere words can describe neither the taste nor the essence of this drink. One of the first things I did when I got here was to look it up on the Internet, but I can’t seem to find a way to get it shipped here.
If anyone has any questions about where we went and what we did, anyone on the trip would be more than happy to recount our adventures. We would all recommend this trip to future seniors without hesitation. Teaching at Heritage was a powerful experience, one I hope never to forget.
Good luck to Seniors next year,