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.

Playing catch up

Ghana Elmina, Ghana  |  Sep 03, 2012
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Where do I even begin? I wrote my blog last night but the internet connection was bad and when I woke up this morning I realized that it didn't save. Kind of bummed about that. I guess I will just have to try to summarize the past 2 days. It feels like I've been here for a while already. I'm taking in every single second of it. Yesterday was such a crazy day. We woke up early and got ready. We had a nice little breakfast as a group before leaving the hotel. Everyone has been asking about what type of food I'm eating. For breakfast we had an egg (similar to an omlette), sausage (hot dog) and tomato slices. I've been told that you eat a lot of eggs in Ghana. After we finished up breakfast, we packed up and headed into Accra to find some medication for one of the other participants. One of her bags was lost during her trip to Ghana and it had all of her important medications in it. You don't need prescriptions in Ghana so we were able to stop at a few pharmacies to find her medication.  One cool thing that I noticed right away was the way people come right up to your window while you are stopped in traffic to sell you things. It's pretty cool to see. We bought a few waters but that was all. I took some pictures. The other cool thing about it is, everything that they sell, they carry on their heads. I'll definitely post pictures of that. Once we found her medication, we headed to Cape Coast. We traveled in a Tro-Tro which is a large van. Most of the time the tro-tros are completely packed full with people. We had a private driver so there were only 7 of us. We were warned that it would never be like that again :) Speaking of driving...holy moly!!!! I can't even count how many times I thought I was going to get in an accident during the drive. There is no speed limit, no laws/rules about when you can pass and everyone uses their horns...CONSTANTLY :) Its pretty crazy how close we got to getting into head on collisions. They are obviously experienced drivers so luckily we had no accidents. After about two and a half hours, we arrived in Cape Coast we went directly to the ProWorld house. It was beautiful!! The girls shared a room and the one male participant had his own room. We got settled in, had lunch and started our orientation. We learned some basic things about health and safety. We then took left for "town" to do a town tour. We were warned that there was a festival going on and that it might be hectic but we decided to go any way. Hectic is an understatement! It was definitely overwhelming. It was the first time I have ever been a minority. It was definitely obvious that we stood out. It was a very humbling experience for me. I work with a lot of refugees in the social work field but have never been able to experience the feelings that they do. It's scary. Not that I am scared for my safety but because there is just so many unknowns. I do not speak their language, I do not know my way around town, I do not know the currency and I do not much about their culture. I know that I will learn all of this but it was definitely overwhelming and a very different feeling than I've ever felt before. The festival was so crazy! The Ghanians definitely know how to celebrate. The roads are very narrow here. Like I said before, the taxis drive all over the place. They don't care if there are people in the road or not. They just constantly honk so you know when to jump out of the way. There were a few times that I felt a bit overwhelmed at the festival. We were trying to take a tour around the town. The "floats" were all over. Basically there is a car/truck that is playing loud music, driving up and down the streets and there are TONS of people following them, dancing all over the place. It's like a moving mosh pit basically. I was grabbed a few times while we were trying to get through the "float". I just pushed them off and continued walking. I didn't feel unsafe or anything, it was just a little uncomfortable. The other thing about the streets here is the open/uncovered sewer system that runs on both sides of the street. You have to be extremely careful not to step in the hole. As you can imagine it would be a very bad experience. Sometimes they put boards over it so you can walk but you still have to be very careful because they are not always reliable. After we left the festival, we headed back to the ProWorld house for dinner. We had noodles, a delicious sauce (which I've had 3 times so far), a salad like dish and fresh mango and pianapple. I am loving the fresh fruit! So good. We were invited to go out by some of the other participants that have been in the country for a month or so. I, along with two of the other volunteers, decided that we should enjoy our first night in town. One of the volunteers came to meet us at the ProWorld house and we headed back into town. We went to a bar called the "Oasis". It's right on the ocean, has beautiful palm trees and awesome little huts and tiki torches. I really felt like I was on a tropical island. It was so much fun. When we arrived, there was live entertaiment going on. They had a dancing and drumming group that was performing. They had a lot of talent and I definitely couldn't do it! I was informed that we would be taking dancing and drumming lessons last week so maybe I will learn a few moves to take back to the states with me. Haha. We met some locals and really enjoyed ourselves. We were out pretty late and the other volunteers were kind enough to take the same taxi home with us to make sure we got home ok. It was definitely an exciting day. I felt very uneasy at times, but know that its going to help me in so many ways. The people in Ghana are so warm and welcoming. I can only hope that those visiting the US feel the same way about Americans. I guess I should probably tell you a little bit about the other participants. They are all pretty dang awesome and we have already connected in many ways. The first person I met when I arrived was Geoff. He's from Toronto, Canada and definitely has the accent. He is so funny. He's always making us laugh and is always up to have a good time. He's always a good bodyguard, I learned this while we were at the Oasis. A very nice local asked me to dance. We danced a few times and then he continued to follow me around. He was being very nice and respectful. Geoff noticed that he was following me around and very kindly told him that I was not interested. Sandy, the local, was so nice about it, shook my hand and continued on with his nice. It was pretty nice of Geoff. I'm looking forward to spending more time with him during the next two months. He's working at the special needs school as well so it will be fun to work with him next month. Teresa is from Missouri. She's in her late 40's and is only here for 2 weeks. Her bag was the one that was lost. She's wonderful. She shared her story with us on our way to Cape Coast. She had been feeling a calling to Ghana for a few years. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and passed away. Some of his last words to her were "I'll see you in Africa". She was finally able to make the trip and I'm so excited to share this journey with her. I just wish she could stay a little longer. Last but not least is Alex. She was my roommate the first time and we have already become so close. She's so so awesome. She is from Oregon and just graduated from Oregon State. She attended BSU for a year and was on the softball team. Such a small world. She has been to Ghana before and is still very involved with an orphanage here. She will be leaving the beginning of October to go back to that orphanage. I'm hoping to go visit her during one of the weekends. I can already tell that we are going to be awesome friends for a very long time!! 

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    Laura Baxter wrote: Mon Sep 3, 2012
    I love reading about all of your adventures....and I am so so proud of you my beautiful daughter! You bring so much love and light to this world and you are going to bring so much love to those you meet on this journey. Stay safe!
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    tiffinei lee wrote: Mon Sep 3, 2012
    Erin, I'm so proud of you as I ead you journal. You have inspired me to do some work of my own. I've always dreamed of traveling to africa and doing work. But first, I will do some work in Haiti next year with my family. Anyways, your such a wonderful person. Stay safe and post lots of pics. I look forward to reading about your experiences! Love ya.