Sunday, April 24, 2011

The return.

            April 18th, 2011 was the date that I left Ghana. The day that I left Bawjiase. I woke up twenty-five minutes before my alarm went off. It was 2:50 AM and I found myself in bed with my mind racing tossing around the pros and cons of both Ghana and the United States. Five minutes later, I put water on what we used as a stove and cleaned out our mugs for tea. The taxi was scheduled to arrive at 3:30 AM. No taxi by 4:00. TIA. Time In Africa always seemed to be vague. By now, everyone was awake and attempting to figure out where the taxi was. Eventually Fifi saved the day by riding his bicycle into town and found the taxi. Only an hour after our scheduled departure, we were off.
Chelsea, Agogo, & Sophie
            After being dropped off at the airport, thanks Chelbel and Oh Sophie for riding with me, I checked in and waited for the terminal to open. The airport in Accra, Ghana is very small and I was flying out of the first gate of three. I had to wait for it to open. Once it did, I had to wait some more before boarding commenced. I spent this time watching everyone around me. Examining. Thinking.
Chelsea, Agogo, & Sophie
            Things were different here than Bawjiase. There were many obrofo (the plural of obruni, which means “white person”). Many of them. In Bawjiase, it was rare for us to run across another obruni that wasn’t with our group though it did happen occasionally. Also, in the airport, the Ghanaian population dressed and presented themselves differently. Some men sat waiting with numerous gold or silver bracelets and/or big fancy watches. A few women waited with large rings and dangling, sparkling earrings. There were very few wearing traditional looking fabrics that were common in Bawjiase. Shoes were shiny black, spotless white, mostly new in appearance without any noticeably signs of wear and tear. The majority spoke their native languages, though many spoke English fairly well.
            It had never crossed my mind, the fact that I had not seen a stroller in the past month until sitting at the gate waiting for my plane to board. Sitting in the airport watching a women struggle to get through the narrow rows of seats, it seems oversized, bulky and impractical. I saw another baby being carried in a strange device with straps and plastic buckles resembling a backpack worn on the parent’s chest. I have seen these in the US many times but the sight of it in the airport seemed strange. Using fabric to wrap up a child on the mothers back seemed just as effective and undoubtedly cheaper. The child usually appeared indifferent anyway. Every women and girl had hair, long, well-maintained hair. Many even wore nail polish and make-up. We boarded.
United Hearts Staff
            Numerous TVs lined the ceilings above the isles. Lights were on and had no chance of going out due to random power outages. I sat. I observed everything. This was strange. I took more pictures. I was always taking pictures. The previous day I had handed over my beloved camera to another trusted volunteer, Sophie, who had captured my goodbyes to all the children, staff and even on stranger at the orphanage. I decided it would be something to look forward to if I waited to look at any pictures taken the previous day until I was airborne.
            As I clicked through the photos, my eyes began to water. I paused, collected myself and continued. Again, they filled. I never thought it would be so hard to leave somewhere that only five weeks ago had been completely foreign. I had known no one. Now I sit trying to calculate the possibility of return. My excitement for returning to the US was foggy, mixed and all I could do is think of the past five weeks and the people that made my trip so unforgettable. Strangers had become close friends. Orphans had become children with names, personalities and hearts larger than life. For the last five weeks, Ghana was my home.



I will return…

United Hearts Children's Center

Monday, April 11, 2011

A post will follow!

So last week I made the journey to the internet cafe and typed out an extensive blog post. Minutes before I was able to actually post it, the power went out like it so often does here (eight times last night). I lost the entire post and didn't have enough time left at the internet to retype it...

When I get home, I am going to try to do an extensive blog posting of my entire trip going into more details. I will be returning in next monday, one week from today, which seems to be approaching far too fast. I have met so many amazing people here, both locals and volunteers, creating an amazing atmosphere and wonderful experience. Thank you Vlad, Lauren, Gus, Chelsea, and Sophie for being such great house mates during my stay as well as Pastor Barbara, Dr. Doug, and Wesley the Great.

As volunteers, we have some free time to enjoy each others company. In this time, we usually read books, chat about current events, name all the African countries, memorize each of their capitals, read the dictionary and find the best words that no one has ever heard of, and try to obtain more fun facts from Vlads phone. Of course, we have spent our time in many other ways but those are just a few of our favorite ways of passing time at the end of the day. It is amazing how satisfying such a simple life can be. To me, the way of life here is amazingly simple and I am going to miss it!

Once I get home, I will create the post of a lifetime. Well, at least a months worth!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Morning World!

The country of Ghana says hi!

So last week I wrote a new post and thought that I added it to my blog but it appears that it didnt upload...

It has been quite an wonderful time here. At least for me. Right now many of the children at the orphanage have an eye infection of some sort and it is spreading quite fast to the children who dont have it currently. Also, two of the current volunteers have Malaria and have sought out treatment from the local clinic. Chelsea is doing much better and Gus just went to the clinic this morning. He should be up and running shortly! My goal is to make it through my entire stay without getting sick. Three weeks to go!

Last sunday I even went to church. To get there, we hiked for 45 minutes through the country side. It was such a beautiful walk, though very very very hot. It is around 90 degrees every day and you can work up quite a sweat without doing much at all. Yummy!! Dont worry though, I do my best to take a bucket bath at least every other day. I cant say I smell the best but I get by just fine! The church we went two was very small and very friendly. Most of the time they only spoke in Twi so I was unable to understand it. Lucky, one of the pastors translated some of it. I dont think I have ever enjoyed church as much as I did on sunday!

Well I am almost out of time... sorry this has been so brief.
Miss you all!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Greeting from Ghana!

Happy St. Patricks day! Drink responsibly!

So I just want to say... Ghana is amazing!!
I spent most of Tuesday sleeping but I think I am back on a normal sleep schedule. I have met all the wonderful children at the orphanage and they are beautiful, wonderful amazing kids. My first time to the orphanage, they all came running at me and gave me giant hugs. I am still working on learning all of their names, and will most likely be working on it for a while. Those of you who know me know that remembering anything is a great accomplishment! It is my goal to learn them all by the time I leave!

There is so much that I would like to include in this brief blog but I dont even know where to start. I guess I will just rattle off some fun facts...

-I do not have sunburn... yet.
-I have loved every meal I have had... so far.
-Carrying buckets of water on your head is much harder than it looks... I am practicing!
-I broke a pair of flipflops literally on my first step in them... lucky I have another pair.
-The airport in Accra is much smaller than I expected.
-A Ghanaian boy spilled an entire cup of water on my lap on the plane.
-The children at the orphanage remind me so much of the wonderful children at  Helen Devos Childrens Hospital!

Well I suppose that is what I will leave you with for now. I miss everyone back home and I hope you are looking forward to hearing about everything again and again. For my next post, I will try to get some pictures to post. No promises though! I should be visiting the site where they are roofing the new orphanage building soon! Also, I am excited to water at the farm and experience the markets which I hope to write about in a later post if I get the chance. For now, that is all!

I love and miss you all!!!
Visit Laurens Blog -->

Friday, March 11, 2011

My head is cold.


So I will go ahead and start off with some fun facts about me!

I am 22 years old and my favorite animal is a Polar Bear. I work at Olive Garden and I greatly dislike salad. My favorite ice cream is chocolate and my favorite month is May. I have two wonderful parents and two siblings that are pretty great too. I don't have my tonsils but I do have my undergraduate degree. I like to smile.

Another fun fact that I am extremely excited about is that I am going to Ghana, Africa in a few short days. I will be volunteering with an organization by the name of United Hearts Children's Center. I have yet to pack and have no idea what to expect. This journey is why I decided to create this blog and was originally planning to blog while I was there. After some thinking, I will attempt to blog while I am gone but I don't believe internet will be as assessable as here. I'll do my best. If all else fails, I will tell of my journeys when I return!

               Also, thank you!
When I decided to do this trip, the greatest factor was the financial aspects of traveling. The dollar signs add up quickly and without everyone's endless love, support and generosity, I really don't think this trip would be possible for me. So many of you parted with your hard earned dollar simply out of the kindness of your heart to assist in funding this adventure for me. For others, it was just to see me with much less hair. Either way, I am so so so so very thankful and I can't wait to tell tales of the adventure you helped create and make possible.
This is the most amazing cake I have ever received.

I look forward to keeping everyone updated! I am already excited to show you pictures of the people I will soon meet and the places I will soon go.

Thank you to EVERYONE for helping make this all possible!!!