Coming Home from Ghana

 

I can’t really put all of the experiences I’ve had in the past 2 and a half weeks into words. I’ve seen and been through so much. Even though it’s impossible to sum it up I thought that the best way would be through pictures because a picture is worth 1000 words. RIght?

Being back has been so surreal. I’ll be sitting on the couch watching T.V. and it will suddenly occur to me “Wait… about 48 hours ago I was in Ghana.” The first meal I had being back was a cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake and I can tell you that a burger and shake has never tasted so good. Although I do miss a lot of the friends I made I’m really glad to be home and share all of my experiences from the past 2 and a half weeks. With these pictures I hope to do the same with you.

Everyday we would have classes and then when we weren’t teaching we would help with the reading program where we would basically sit and read with the kids for about 50 minutes asking comprehension questions in between. 

This girl was one of my best friends from Heritage Academy. Her name is Felicity and she was in my 7th grade class. She is extremely smart and talented. Reading with her was always a breeze. She was one of the most kind selfless people I met on this trip. Everyday when we would come to reading period we would write each other notes. By the end of the trip these notes started turning into gifts and now we both have friendship bracelets we made each other to remember one another. Felicity unlike most people never asked for a gift or a letter. She always gave but never expected something in return which for someone her age in her environment is pretty remarkable.

ImageThese little cutie’s names are both Esther. I met both of them pretty late into the trip since I didn’t have any classes or reading periods with them but they became two of my favorite kids by the end. Every time they saw me they would run over and give me a huge hug. It made me feel really appreciative that someone was so happy to see me because I was just as happy to see them.
ImageThis was one of my other reading groups and they were always super fun to read with. Their names from left to right are Hannah, Dorcas, Samuel, Abigail and Abigail. They would always come up with creative ways to make reading more fun. For example, their favorite book was called Biscuit which was about a dog named Biscuit. Every time the book said “Woof Woof” they would have to say it as if they were actually a dog. By the end we would all get excited when we turned the page and saw that we got to say “Woof woof!” Hannah since she didn’t speak english very well always enjoyed the “Woof Woof” more than the others because it was easy for her to read. ImageThis is Hannah in the bus that took 600 kids to school everyday. Although this bus can seat probably about 25 kids about 60 kids would be shoved in at a time in order for everyone to make it to school on time. Traffic laws never really applied in Ghana…
ImageWhen we weren’t teaching we got to do some sightseeing! The bridge I’m on in this picture is at Kakum National Park. These bridges were about 300 meters about the ground. ImageThis was the Coconut Grove Beach Resort we got to relax on during the weekends when we weren’t teaching or doing community service.

Well that’s about it from me. There’s a lot more to say about this trip so I hope you read some of the other’s posts because we each had our own unique experiences. Although, at times, this trip was really difficult I know it was definitely worth it because it really did change my life. I want to thank all of the seniors and faculty who were also on this trip for being such a great group and really adding to this amazing experience. 

Until next time!

~Arielle

10 Things I Will Never Take for Granted Again

My time in Ghana has just about come to an end. Tomorrow at 10 p.m. we get on the plane and head back to the U.S. I’m feeling a lot of different emotions right now. I’m super excited to head home and see my family but I also think that the culture shock coming back will be even bigger than the culture shock was coming here. I’m going to appreciate everything a lot more. From my teachers (I now fully understand how hard they work) to cold refrigerators, this trip has really made me realize how much we take for granted. I tried to make a list that was different than things you usually think of.

Some things that I know I take for granted that you shouldn’t are:

1) Clean Bathrooms- We really do have nice bathrooms in America. I won’t go into detail on this one but just trust me. They’re nice. If there’s toilet paper and it flushes, then give thanks. Continue reading “10 Things I Will Never Take for Granted Again”

Attending Church in Ghana

I’ve been waiting a while to post this since we attended church on Sunday. The line to use the internet is always long, but I finally found a time when the computer was free!

On Sunday we went to a Ghanian church which was an interesting and cultural experience. Let’s just say church here is nothing like the church I attend in the U.S. There’s a lot more movement and singing and dancing. The church began with a lecture from the Bible. They were speaking in Fanti, which is the language mostly spoken in this area, but we had a translator who was translating everything said to us. Continue reading “Attending Church in Ghana”

Teach, Eat, Sleep

Hi guys!

Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. We just got internet recently and we only have a limited amount of time we can use it for. So much has happened since I arrived in Ghana. I don’t think I can fully summarize everything I have experienced but I’m going to at least try. Teaching has been fun. It started off as a struggle because we have about 30 kids in each of our classes, which is a large amount to keep fully engaged and under control for 50 minutes. I was upset at first because I felt like I wasn’t engaging all of the kids enough but then we had a discussion with our group leader about the purpose of this trip and I realized that the purpose is not to have an effective lesson every time or to have every kid engaged at all times. The purpose of us teaching Kwesi said is for the students to understand that even if we look different or act differently than them we are all human which makes us all the same. These kids are not used to seeing foreigners and they look at us like we’re aliens a lot of the time. So the purpose of us teaching is to help the kids be comfortable with us and realize that we are all the same. So there’s no reason to look at us differently.

That said, teaching my classes has still been a lot harder than I anticipated. I manage to somehow use all 50 minutes each time. (Colored pencils always help time fly faster.) I realized that they love learning new games so I have been trying to teach them American hand-clapping games because even though I’m teaching choir these games help teach them about rhythm. I try to connect the class. I tried playing some American pop music for them too but  they said they needed “faster music” to dance to. I guess our music doesn’t have a good enough beat to shake to.

The food here has been great. I’ve tried everything that we have been served and I’ve loved it all. My love for rice has been reestablished because we have rice with every meal and it is delicious. The fruit here is also incredible. The mango is indescribably good and so is the pineapple. When I return to the U.S. I won’t be able to look at fruit or rice the same way.

The last thing I want to talk about is being not just a minority but a spectacle. You may have read from some of the previous posts that people refer to us as “obroni” which means foreigner (or,a lot of times, “white person”). The people here are very blunt and will call you what you are. It’s not meant to be offensive. It’s just the name they use to call us. It gets frustrating a lot of times being an obroni here though because you might be walking through the market and a little child or maybe even an older person will stop in their tracks to literally just stare at you. It makes you feel very self-conscious and almost like there is something wrong with you. My entire life I’ve lived places where I was the majority and for once I understand what it’s like to be the minority. I know it’s not meant to be hurtful but I hate being treated differently or looked at differently because of the color of my skin. I hate when kids stop and point and yell “Obroni!” I’m beginning to just deal with it but it’s a constant reminder that I will never fit in here. I love the culture here, though, and the people are all very nice and friendly.

I think I’ve written enough for now. I will share more later when I get the time. I’m not really sure when that is going to be, but stick with me!

Until next time!

~Arielle

You’re Ghana Wanna Read This

Hi everyone!

My name is Arielle and I’m a senior at Westtown School. I’m super excited to be one of the lucky 14 people this year who get to travel to Essiam, Ghana at the Heritage Academy and teach! I’ve travelled all around the world and visited about 30 countries during my lifetime but I’ve never been to Ghana or even Africa before.

From 2006-2010, I lived in England with my family and attended an international school there. This allowed me to travel the world and have Europe at my doorstep. Of all of the places I’ve visited though, which range from Mexico to Dubai, I know that Ghana is going to be a completely different experience. I really don’t think anything could compare and that’s why I chose to sign up for Ghana. I know for someone like me who has seen many parts of the world this would be the only trip that would be truly life-changing because Ghana is so different from any place I’ve ever been. Continue reading “You’re Ghana Wanna Read This”