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.

First day at Sankofa Children's Home

Ghana Elmina, Ghana  |  Sep 04, 2012
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I really love it here. I'm loving it more every single second. Today was another great day in Ghana.  It's only been 3 days since I arrived but I am already feeling more and more comfortable. The people here really are amazing and so helpful.  I woke up around 7 to shower and get ready for the day. I had my alarm set for 7 but was awake by 6. It is light by 6 and everyone is awake. I don't have glass in my windows so I can hear everything. There is always so much going on. We live right in the center of town like I already mentioned. It's called Chapel Square. I gathered all of my things and headed down to attempt my first "outdoor" shower. Mama Teko met me downstairs and asked if I was ready to take my shower. She told me that the shower hadn't come so I needed to take a bucket bath. She offered to warm the water for me but I chose to use the room temperature water. The shower is located outside but has a door. There is some open area at the top of the door. You can hear people all around you. It's definitely a different experience. I hurried with the shower and am probably still really dirty. One of the beauties of this experience for me is that I don't care what I look like and I have absolutely nobody to impress. It's awesome! I definitely look like a hot mess. The humidity hates my hair. I wish it was long enough to pull back, but its not so its just a huge frizz ball and flips in every direction. You will see how awesome it is when I finally post pics.  Mabel met me at my home to ride with me to Sankofa for my orientation. She showed me which taxis to take, what to tell them and how much to pay so that I don't get ripped off.  I wrote everything down, word for word, so I would be able to find it on my own. I'm sure after doing it for a few days it will be just fine but its a little scary at first. The ride to Sankofa was a very very bumpy one. I started feeling car sick instantly. I had a feeling that might happen so I brought extra medication for my stomach. Hopefully that will help tomorrow. After about 20 minutes we finally made it to the orphanage. We met David, my program director. He was so welcoming. I got to see a few of the children. David told me that there were 19 children, ranging from 2-16. We talked about my schedule. I will be starting at the school tomorrow. I have to be there around 7:30 and will be there until 3. We talked about some of my ideas. I talked with them briefly about doing a program for the families and for the children. I want to utilize some of my social work skills and do a workshop on keeping children safe. I wasn't sure how his was going to go over or if it was even culturally appropriate but they loved the idea. I am going to have to put together some basic information to provide to them. I'm really excited about it. (Thank you, Stacey Pendarvis, for the fantastic idea). I want to leave a little piece of me with the children and families that I will be working with for the next month.  I didn't end up working today so we came back to Elmina and walked around a bit. We accidentally left my lunch in one of the taxis. I felt so bad because Mama Teko put one of her special bowls in the bag to keep my food warm. I am going to go find her another one and buy it for her. I laid down for a few hours because my stomach was still upset from the car ride.  My sista Steph came and woke me up. We headed down to the internet cafe so I could upload my blogs. I was happy to learn that they had wifi. Its only about 2 minutes from my house so that will be nice. We came back and had dinner. I unpacked a bit. Steph left to go visit friends in Cape Coast. I just hung out with Mama Tiko and my sista Francisca while they sold items from their stand. Its so cool to watch. There was also a promotion going on at Chapel Square so they had all types of free style dancing and what not. It was very entertaining to watch.  I talked with a new friend that I met last night when I was with Steph. His name is Kwame and he is from Elmina. He walked to Chapel Square to hang out so I met up with him. One of his friends, Nana, is a tour guide and so we walked around town a bit and he pointed out a lot of different things. He also told me about a bunch of trips that we could do during our off weekends. He helped me with some of my Fante, answered a lot of cultural questions and was just a lot of fun. He even taught me a few free style dancing moves. Watch out, this white girl is going to learn some Ghanian moves :) It gets dark here around 6:30 so it feels so much later than it is. It's 9:30 and I'm already in bed. The electricity has been out since about 6 so we have been using our flashlights. I let my sista use my headlamp while she was cooking and selling her tilapia and she loved it. I might need to send her one when I get back to the states. The electricity goes out here often and it makes it very difficult for them to sell their goods with no light.  I ran into one more problem...my clothing. I talked to a prior participant who told me to bring a lot of tank tops and breathable clothing. So...I did. Come to find out, that is not what I am supposed to be wearing. I am working at the school so I need to look professional. I am going to have to go shopping because my clothes are too casual. I want to be a good role model for the children so I need o dress that part. I'm going to go pick up some from the market in the next few days. I thought about getting some fabric and having a few things made. maybe just some skirts or something. Its definitely a bit frustrating and I feel almost embarrassed of the clothing I brought.  Tomorrow will be the true test of how I will be getting around Ghana on my own. I feel confident that I will make it :) The people here are so nice and will help me. I will have orientation at the school for the next 3 days. Then I will begin working one on one with students who are having difficulties with reading and writing. I'm so excited :) After work I will be headed to Akwaaba to the ProWorld house to meet up with the other participants. Its going to be great to hear about their experiences. Alex is going to bring her computer so I can finally upload some pictures. We are having another Fante lesson tomorrow night. I'm excited.I learned a few new words tonight from Nana.  I love the way I'm feeling right now. I'm not sure that words can even do it justice. Being in a developing country has definitely opened my eyes. My descriptions are not even close to being accurate to how the conditions are here. I have always felt that I'm a thankful and appreciative person, but after being here and seeing the conditions, my thankfulness has shot out of this universe. It is the simple things that we do not think about in the states. Covered sewers, showers and toilets inside our homes, pretty dependable water and electricity...I could go on and on. I'm embracing this experience and letting my guard down. I am realizing the important things in life more every single second. I'm also loving not having the internet. I know that coming from me that is hard to believe, but its true. Life is so much easier. There are no fancy phones in Ghana. The phone I have is a 1st edition Nokia, the kind with snake on it. You can text and call and that is about it. It does have a cool flashlight tho. :) Being disconnected from everyone is a really good thing for me. It gives me time to reflect on the purpose of my life and this current journey that I'm on. I want to help others, to use my strengths to help others. I want to learn as much as possible about others as I can.  I'm also loving the opportunity to have me time. I have absolutely not concern for any other relationships in my life. (as far as dating) I am focusing on me, making me happy and loving every second of not caring what any thinks of me. I look like an absolute wreck but I am wearing it loud and proud :) I probably smell bad, my hair is stuck to my head but I have the hugest smile on my face. Maybe that makes up for the rest :) I am so looking forward to the next 2 months. I already know that Its going to be so difficult to leave. On that note, I should get some rest.  Da Yie (Goodnight) XOXO

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