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.

Impact Projects and Accra

Ghana Cape Coast, Ghana  |  Oct 23, 2012
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I've been really bad about writing the past few days. I've been staying pretty busy and just haven't had a chance to stop and catch up. I'm extremely tired so I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors :)Friday was a really fun day at school. Most Fridays the students spend the day watching movies, dancing to music or playing sports. This Friday happened to be a dancing Friday. It was SO much fun to watch the children get so excited about dancing. Geoff and I even got out and danced a bit. Azunto is probably the most popular song and dance here. You should YouTube it. It's pretty fun. I will also post some videos of the children doing it. I can't even describe how much I love spending time with the children. The dancing was also really cool because they let some of the students from the traditional school come over and join the children. In America, the students are integrated into the mainstream classrooms. Its not like that here. I think the main reason is because all of the students are on completely different eduational levels. Not just the students with special needs but even the ones in the mainstream school. Aboom is very focused on vocational skills and having them in a separate building works for them. I watched the students interact while they were dancing together. I didn't really observe any of the mainstream students treat the students with special needs any differently which was good :) It was just a very positive experience. Geoff and I also worked on our bead pattern project a bit on Friday. We made 11 bracelets with different patterns and then took pictures of them. Geoff created a document that detailed how to make each pattern. We are going to get it printed and hung up in the classroom. We are hoping that this will help the students learn a new skill and will also be better for selling the bracelets. I will take pictures of the final project. Friday after school I had a check in interview with Sarah at ProWorld. I absolutely love my organization. Its all the little things that they do for us. The staff truly cares about our experiences here. They are always great motivators and are always keeping up focused on the reason we came to Ghana. I am going to miss them so so much and would recommend ProWorld to anyone looking to travel to Ghana. A huge rainstorm blew in on Friday so I just hung out with my sister and baby nephew. We just laid around and watched TV. It was SO hard for a solid 3 hours. A bunch of the volunteers went out to Oasis and got stuck in the storm. I'm really glad I stayed in and got some rest :)Saturday was a really great day. We had to meet at ProWorld at 7AM for our monthly impact project. Once everyone arrived, we headed to a school about 5 minutes drive from ProWorld. I wish I could remember the name of the school. They needed help painting so that is what we did :) It was a lot of fun and I really love spending time with the other volunteers. They all have great stories and great reasons for being in Ghana. They are very inspiring. We painted for about 2 hours. I kind of wish we did more impact projects. I like to see that I'm actually doing something. Sometimes being at the school makes it difficult to see the impact, if there is any. There are so many days that I feel like I'm really not doing anything for anyone. Its really not a great feeing. I felt like that the majority of the days at Sankofa. After we finished up at the school, we hung out at ProWorld for a bit to use the computers. Then we headed into town and had lunch at Oasis. It was delicious as always. I went home and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Alex was in town this weekend and was out showing her friends around Cape Coast and Kakum National Park. We met up for dinner and I was SO happy to see her!!!! There is just something about her, we have such a great bond. I really really miss her but she is doing so many amazing things for the children at her orphanage. Im kind of jealous that she is doing so much. I wish I was doing more. Dan and Bridget from Sankofa were also in town with Alex. It was so great seeing them. I really have met some great friends here. I definitely hope to keep in touch with them!Geoff and I decided that we wanted to spend the day in Accra so we got up early and met at the station. We decided to take a Ford Van instead of a Tro Tro. It's only a few more cedi than the huge buses but its a lot more comfortable and has air conditioning. Definitely worth the money. Its also a lot faster which worked out well for us today. We made it to Accra in just over 2 hours. By tro-tro- it can take up to 4 hours depending on traffic. Patrick and one of Geoff's brothers joined us on our day trip. We first visited the museum of Ghana's first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was beautiful! I took a ton of pictures. There are very cool gardens, awesome statues and a small but very informative museum. We then went to Independence Square where they hold a lot of Presidential events and have a lot of celebrations. I'm still not 100% positive what the history is so I'll have to look it up. After that, we headed to have lunch. We went to an authentic Ghanaian restaurant. Patrick and I shared Joluf rice, chicken and fish. I was really craving something a little more american but it was still really good. We thought about heading back to Cape Coast after lunch but decided to check out the Accra Mall and the grocery store that is attached to it. OH MY GOSH. I seriously felt like I was back in America. I think the stores were more high end than the stores in the Boise Mall. There were actual clothing stores with racks and hangers, not clothing at the street market. Geoff and I were both is shock. The grocery store looked like Fred Meyer. The set up was the same; bakery, produce, canned foods, and home goods. I couldn't believe that I was still in Ghana. I had no idea that those things existed here. It definitely made me miss the simplicity of shopping. I still haven't 100% gotten the hang of shopping at all the little markets here. Most of them have all of the same things. Its still pretty different than going to the grocery store. One thing that I'm going to be happy to have again. We wondered around the mall for a bit more. We even went upstairs to the movie theatre and arcade. There weren't any movies playing at the time we were there but it wouldve been cool to have gone to  movie. I think Ted and Taken 2 were the movies they had. the boys played in the arcade for a bit. It was the first time Patrick had ever played the games. He loved the motorcycle racing game. Its really awesome to see him try new things. He is all smiles :) After the mall we headed back to the station to get our van home. We almost got into an accident on the way back to Cape Coast. It was pretty scary. Most of us were sleeping and the driver slammed on the breaks and went into the gravel. I guess a taxi was passing another car during a turn and didn't see our van. I have pretty much gotten used to the crazy driving here. I wonder if it will effect the way I drive when I get back :) Crazy to think I haven't driven my car in almost 2 months.  Definitely miss it. Its crazy how my emotions change every day. So much of me does not want to go home yet. Probably because I really love my students, my school, the work Im doing and all the great friends that I've made. I love the culture here. But now that its a reality that I will be leaving in just 2 weeks, I'm starting to get really home sick. I'm starting to miss food from home like crazy! I'm starting to get excited for the little things that I took for granted, like having a car to drive whenever I want. It will be so different not having to get a shared taxi with 3 other strangers whenever I want to go anywhere. I'm looking forward to finding my own place when I get back, kind of tired of living out of my suitcase. I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and family and especially my kitty. Things have just become so normal here. The smells, the bucket baths, the food, the open sewers, being called "Obruni" constantly, the shared cars, the crazy driving, all of it :) Oh how I'm going to miss the people here. I've grown so close with the other volunteers and my host family. Its hard to even think about not seeing them every day. I really need to come back for a visit :)I always think about things I want to talk about but then by the time I get a chance to write, I have forgotten. Its usually when I'm driving around town and it will remind me of something important I want to write about :)I really need to get to bed. It was a long but very very wonderful weekend spend with great people. Not to mention we were able to paint a school :) Hopefully the kids will be surprised to see it tomorrow when they arrive. Goodnight. Love you all :)OH and CONGRATS to one of my best friends, Amber on her new baby girl, Lauren! Can't wait to meet her in 2 weeks. Love you guys! 

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