ErinCraig's Travel Journals

ErinCraig

  • 33 years old
  • From Idaho, United States
  • Currently in Idaho, United States

Erin's adventures in Ghana

Many people have asked how they call follow my experience in Ghana. I'm hoping this blog will be a good way for everyone to read about my journey.

Ambien and public restrooms

Ghana Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Oct 16, 2012
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I can't believe how fast my time is going now. I swear it felt like the first 2 weeks went so slow and it seemed like I was going to be here forever. Now I have less than 3 weeks and I'm praying for time to slow down. I'm not ready to leave Ghana. Yesterday was a very very lazy day. I had a pretty late night on Saturday. It was probably one of my most fun nights yet. I met up with Kieran at Oasis. He was with some of the Study Abroad students. It started out as a very mellow night...until we met the owner. We are there almost every weekend so we have gotten to know the wait staff quite well. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not :) Actually it is a good thing. I really like my friends at Oasis and I always feel very safe there. Maybe because there are a lot of Obruni's....or white people. It's definitely a touristy spot. Its a lot of fun tho. We danced all night and had a really great time. So fun! I paid for it yesterday tho. Last night I just hung out at home. I had a really great chat with my sister and was able to show her pictures from home and tell her stories about my family. She wants me to make sure I "give my greetings" from my Ghanaian sister when I get home. When I first heard someone say "give them my greetings" I was really confused but now I have started saying it. It basically means, "tell them I said hi". I'm picking up on a lot of the local sayings. Also, everything is "fine" and "nice" here. When you ask people how they are and vise versa, 99% of the time, the response is "fine". Also, when you are describing something that is good or something that you like, you reply "it's nice". For example, when my sister asks how my dinner tastes and I like it, I reply "it's really really nice". Just a few little Ghanaian things that I've picked. After we looked at pictures and chatted for a bit, we went inside and watched "Ghana's most beautiful". It's basically like Ms. America. They have one person for each of the 10 Ghanaian regions and they compete in different categories. The only one I was able to watch was the Storytelling. I need to learn more about it but basically what I understood from my sister is that the family gathers one day during the week, I believe either Friday or Sunday, and they sit around the first. Someone (usually the woman I think) tells stories to those that are sitting around the first. My sister said that a lot of the stories involve Spiderman. I didn't really understand fully what she was describing but it was interesting to watch it on Ghana's most beautiful. I will ask her more about it and update :) I had school today. I am starting to get to know the students pretty well. I definitely have a few favorites....teachers pets I guess you could say :) There are just a few students that really touch my heart. Today we started sewing some of the bags. It was really exciting to see the students doing it. I took some pictures so I will post them soon. Production is pretty slow so I'm not sure I will be able to get the bags for my friends and family. I'm thinking about going to some of the gift shops that they have bags at and buying there. It will be pretty special to have a handmade bag from the kids that have touched my heart :) Patrick met me after school and we walked to Baobab, another place where a lot of Obruni's hang out. Its a vegaterian restaurant and there is free wifi. We met up with Kieran and I had an iced coffee. I even got to skype with my mom for a few minutes and meet her new kitty. It's pretty cute. We hung out there for a bit and then I went to watch Patrick's dance rehearsal. My favorite friend, Sunshine, came to meet me. It was nice to chat with him. He was my first friend in Ghana and he ALWAYS makes me smile :) After the rehearsal we went and grabbed dinner. We went to Sister Efwa's place and I got my fried egg sandwich. It is my FAVORITE :) It's pretty simple to make so I'm going to have to make it when I get home. Patrick always gets egg, noodles and vegis. He adds a lot of pepe (I think that's how you spell it) It makes it way way too hot for me to eat. I should be used to spice by now, everything is spicy. Luckily for me, my sister doesn't like it spicy so she never makes my food spicy :) we have a lot in common. She tells me that every day. After dinner we stopped by to see Patrick's family. Patricia has been sick so she cuddled up on my lap and wrapped her arms around me. I just rocked her and rubbed her back. She's a very sweet girl, but she loves her daddy. Patrick got up to go talk to his uncle and she jumped right off of my lap and ran over to him. Its pretty cute. I love watching him with her. I saw his mom, Mary, and talked to her a bit about Patrick's sisters baby. He was born a week and a day ago. She invited me to go see him this week. I'm excited, I love little babies. I also met another one of Patrick's uncles, George. We had a very brief conversation but he basically welcomed me to Ghana and told me that he hoped I was enjoying my stay so far. He also told me that Patrick better be extra nice to me or he would "get him". :) I know I've said it a lot, but the people here are really amazing. I've been thinking a lot about the things I will miss when I leave here. The list is growing. I'm finally starting to pick up some Fante...feeling more comfortable speaking it and I can understand a lot more when people are speaking it around me. I'm starting to find my favorite places to eat. I'm starting routines. I'm making so many great friends. I'm learning so much every single second. I feel like I'm always asking questions about why Ghanaians do the things they do, asking about the culture and asking a lot of pointless questions. I'm just very curious here and love learning new things. When I first got here, I was a little uncomfortable walking around alone. Not because of my safety, but just because I felt like everyone was looking at me. I couldn't (and still can't for the most part) understand what they say when I walk by. I didn't always make eye contact with them and didn't go out of my way to talk to them. That lasted about a week :) Now I know a lot of people on my walk from my house to the main road. I look forward to saying good morning to them and am excited to ask about their days on my walk home. I know some of the children and a lot of them run out to the road to greet me. At first I didn't know how I felt about being contstantly referred to as "Obruni" but now I love it. I love smiling at the children, saying hello and asking them how they are. They ALWAYS smile back. I'm even asking them how they are in Fante now and they just giggle. :) I'm totally going to butcher the spelling but it sounds like "Wo fro aden". If you are good...you reply "Boco" but it's not spelled like that. They have a backwards c in the fante alphabet. It's a difficult language to learn but I'm starting to pick up a few things every day. Today at school, sister Louisa (one of the teachers) was trying to give Geoff and I a mini fante lesson. Basically she was showing us that there are many words that look and sound very very similar but mean very different things. For example, chicken and mountain are very similar. Also, ax and sister-in-law. We were having a pretty good time trying to pronounce the different things. So, a little funny story before I end for the night.I haven't been sleeping very well at night. I wake up multiple times and I was questioning if that was why I'm always so tired (besides having malaria). So, I decided to take one of my ambien. I took it and figured it would take a while for it to kick in. I was sitting outside talking to Kwame and started to feeling a little sleepy so I went inside to get ready for bed. I was suppposed to call my mom but knew I was too tired. I tried to write her a text to tell her that I took the ambien and I wanted to say goodnight before it kicked in and didn't make sense. I sent her the text. Dr. Andrew called to say hello and apparently I fell asleep in the middle of our conversation. I don't remember falling asleep. I woke up to a text from my mom saying "too late, read your message". Haha. It definitely didn't make any sense. This is funny because I always tease my mom about talking to me after she takes her ambien. Her texts never make sense and she never remembers what we talk about. I guess the joke is on me now :)I'm getting really sleepy and am ready to take my bath (washdown as they say it) and get into bed. I must say, I am really spoiled at my house that I live in now. We have a flush toilet and a shower with a shower head. I haven't had to take a bucket bath since I got here. The water is cold, but because it is SO hot here, it always feels amazing!                                                                                                                                  One more quick story and then I'm going to bed. Speaking of toilets..So, I was over at Patrick's yesterday morning. His family has a big compound where they all live. I had to use the bathroom really bad but didn't want to ask him where I could go. (Sidenote: men just pee wherever. Since the sewers are open, they can just pull it out and start urinating). Anyway, I finally couldn't hold it anymore and told him I needed to use the restroom. He took me outside to a little outhouse. Basically it was just a small little room with wooden walls, a cement floor and no ceiling. There was a small hole in the ground. This is a very typical "toilet" here in Ghana. So, I went inside to do my business. He was standing outside guarding the door, or so I thought. As I'm squatting down, trying not to have stage fright, I hear him say "don't go in there". Right after that, a girl opens the door wide open. There I am, squatting and just staring up at her. Most of Patrick's family was sitting around outside so who knows how many people saw me :) Then Patrick slammed the door shut and I heard him say something to the girl in fante. I'm guessing it probably wasn't very nice. I finished my business and opened up the door to see half of his family smiling at me. Haha. I made small talk with the girl that opened up the door. She was really funny and I was really embarrassed :) It didn't even phase Patrick, he just got a bucket of water, washed away my business and off we went. :) Goodnight. XOXO 

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    BarbaraGriffin wrote: Wed Dec 19, 2012
    loved your blog erin, so glad you enjoyed ghana!!