Friday, January 8, 2010

The Market

My foot is doing well. Very sore but it is good.

Today I slept in and just relaxed before our big bus ride. Friday movie night and pizza at the Jacksons. Anna, Mary Kay and I make pizza from scratch, even the flower.

Went to the market to exchange American money to Ghana Cedis. Then I got a cell phone and a wallet.

Ok a little about Accra. There are very few traffic lights and the ones that are here often do not work; during rush hour the police manage the traffic. Really you just have to be aggressive to get where you need to go. Jasper often honks the horn to tell people he is coming. He honks to keep them safe because every one is just walking all over the place.

People selling things will come up right to your window and ask you to buy what they are selling. If you do not want to buy it you continue doing what you are doing, even if that means staring off into space. That is hard for me, I at least want to say 'no thank you' or something but everyone here just continues to go about their business. These vendors are very persistent. Often they are women and young girls with big bowls filled with things on their heads. They young girls look very sad so you will buy from them. When we were on the trotro one girl even started to bang on the side of the bus to get myattention so I would look at her to say I was interested in buying a bag of water.

Oh here one thing that is most commonly sold is little waters in a bag. You buy it for about $.5, bite off a corner and drink the water.

So there are people carring things on their heads trying to sell it to you every where. Down town Accra has a big open sewer right next to the road and you have to literally jump it to get to the sidewalk. Once on the sidewalk there are just vendors lined up, one on top of another; selling anything you can imagine, things like tire, shoes, computers, chickens, rear view mirrors, food, clothing, children toys, chairs, phone chargers, anything. There are even little stands where you can buy more minutes for your phone.

They also make good use of wheelbarrows here. That is where I found my wallet. There was a man pushing a wheelbarrow with a mound of all sorts of things bungee corded together. I asked if he had a wallet and he pulled out two different types. He really encouraged me to get the cameo, US wallet. He said it was 3 Ghana Cedis and Anna (another intern) said no 2 Ghana Cedis. After a little going back and forth I payed 2 Ghana Cedis for the wallet.

Then I realized I had just exchanged my money so only had big bills and not have exact change and here in Ghana they want exact change. I did have 1 Ghana Cedi and Jasper had 1 Cedi as well so I was able to get the wallet.

I sure hope I will get good at bargaining soon. I also need to pick up this accent so people can understand me and I can start to understand them better. I am sure it will be a little different accent in Wa so I hope I learn that one.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Camping Trip

There are two other interns here in Ghana right now, Anna and Lee. They both are taking a gap year, the year between high school and college, and touring Ghana. They picked me up from the airport and asked me if I wanted to go camping with them and two of their friends.

Now I had not slept in two days and just walked off a plan but I was in Africa and was not going to miss an opportunity like going camping in Ghana. So I said yes.

We went with Connor who's family has been missionaries here for the past few years and his friend Evans, who is from Ghana. They go on this trip every year and were very excited.

We packed our bags (well I unpacked and repacked my backpack) and left early in the morning. We took a taxi and a trotro (bus) to get to where we wanted to go. We hiked straight up this steep mountain. It was hard work after sitting on a plane for two days but whenever we needed a break we just turned and looked out over Ghana. It is beautiful. There was a recent forest fire on this mountain so a lot of the tall grass and trees were ash but the mountain was still very pretty.

Once we got to the top we found a great place to set up our camp ground. It was right next to a cliff (Grandma you would have loved it :)) that looked over the other side of Ghana. Wow what a sight!

I wish I could show you but I am not able to get internet on my computer where I am staying right now. I will upload the pictures as soon as I can (probably when we get to Wa next week).

Since we were backpacking we did not bring much. Last night I slept on a sheet, on top of the bottom of the tent, on the soul and sticks of Ghana. It was great but the sleeping was not so good. Got about two hours of sleep and back hiking down the mountain.

Because of all the ash the forest fire left, we were very, very dirty by the time we got down the mountain. I was dirty to the point where my legs were not long white but black, my arms where grey and my tan pants were back as well. After we got down the mountain we hiked to the road and hopped on a taxi to a trotro and then walked to Connors and Evan's house and Jasper (the family's driver who we are staying with) picked us up. When we came out of the house Jasper's jaw dropped and eye got wide and he asked what we got into. 'Oh you know, just hiking a mountain.'

It was so much fun. Even though my legs hurt right now and I am very tired it was worth it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm in Africa!

After a long journey and very little sleep I finally made it to Accra. I'm in Africa!

Plane from Chicago was delayed so had 1hr in Germany to figure out where I was going. Had just enough time to go to the bathroom after that 8hr flight and get my boarding pass for the next 6hr flight.

When we landed in Accra we walked off the plane down the stiars and took a train to the airport. Customs went very well and my bags came out right away.

I found the family that I will be staying with until I take the bus to Wa. Driving to their house was an adventure. Roads were not smooth, traffic was crazy and people came right up to the window selling you things... Hey kind of reminds me of Chicago... but of course a little different

Ok made it safe. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for safe travels. I will keep you updated on the trip!

Monday, January 4, 2010

On My Way

After I have packed and repacked and now repacked once again, my bags meet the weight limit. I am on my way to the airport. It is a 8 hour plane ride to Germany and then I have a five hour lay over, then it is a 6 hour plane ride to Accra. I will be there Tuesday at 4pm, Ghana time. I will be 6 hours ahead of Chicago time. On Saturday I will take a 8 hour bus ride to Wa and Monday morning I will start teaching.

I will let you all know when I arrive there. Thanks for all your prayers thus far and please pray for traveling mercies. Thanks you everyone.