We have internet!
My first week in Ghana has been amazing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but Ghana has welcomed me, suprised me, and taught me about myself and the world I am in. I was nervous to start teaching but have found it to be amazing (I will upload more about that later!). I have kept my blog in my journal so I can just pop it up on here as I get the time (I have to type it up and there is always a line for the computer so I can’t do it all at once).
The plain ride was long and cramped but we all forgot about it as we stepped off the plane onto the hot asphalt of the runway (no more snow!!). The excitment was gone quick. A hot cramped shed awaited us as we took the long walk through customs, each lugging two suitcases (one of donations). Following customs we had our joyous reunion with Kwesi and met Alaska, Heritages driver. Ghahna is hot and the cars are like ovens. Are spirits however could not be stiffeled as we experienced Ghana for the first time through the few hour drive to Heritage.
I just want to say a little about the roads before I get into what I saw out the window. In Ghana the unsaid rule of the road is that you can only drive once you have five more people than you can comfortably fit in the car. Seat belts dont exist and I have seen few cars without cracked windows and mix-matched parts (just to say they would not be allowed on the road in the states). And not to say we don’t have bad potholes but they are nothing compared to the roads here. Cars weeve in and out as they floor it around other cars and bad pavement. It is kinda fun, like a rollercoaster.
I was surprised at how underdeveloped everything was. I had expected the city to look a bit more like a city, the main airport a bit more like an airport. Only a few unfinished highrises graced the air, the ground around them was littered with disorganized shacks. As we drove through the hectic streets I experienced the culture I would soon be immersed in through a window. I saw women with baskets on their heads, clothed in colorful patterned fabric. Men carrying pounds of fish through the market. What astounded me about Ghana was that there were so many children, they are everywhere. Six year olds with one year olds strapped to their backs, young boys playing pickup soccer in the street, girls selling to the cars carrying water pouches and plantain chips on their heads. Everything seemed so chaotic and young compared to my home. Children had a level of freedom and responsibility at age that I had never experienced in the United States.
As we got closer we drove through the villages that many of my students would be from. The villages had a main rode with small shacks that had stores in them facing outwards. Behind these spread out rows of makeshift shelters, roofs of old tin and sides of plywood or handmade brick, all leaning against eachother. Between them was a jumble of clothes lines, children playing or working about, and groups of adults vending, cooking, doing laundry, or simply sitting around.
The glimpses I have seen of this culture through the drive to the house have made me excited and nervous to experience a new way of life and to learn and teach. The poverty and filfth in Ghana is at a level I have never seen and experiencing it for the first time shocked me and humbled me. I hope I can build great relationships with these kids, learn about their culture, and help them throughout the next eighteen days and after.
Fanti word that I will be using: Obroni, it means traveler and is what the local call us white people.