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.

Town tours, home stays and dancing on the beach.

Ghana Elmina, Ghana  |  Sep 03, 2012
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Today was another eventful day. Its already 1:30 but I know that I need to blog because I don't want to get behind or forget anything. There are just so many great things I'm experiencing.  I love it!We were up early this morning because we had the second part of our orientation. I don't think any of us were feeling very well but we survived. We talked a lot about the culture, our projects and our home stays. We learned a lot of do's and don'ts. For example, you do not shake or wave with your left had. It is a sign of disrespect. We learned a lot of great things. We then headed into town for lunch and another tour. We had lunch at the Castle. It's an awesome restaurant that overlooks the ocean. I randomly ordered something off of the menu. I can't even remember what it's call now but it was really good. Basically it was a broth with onions and big chunks of beef. It was served with two large rice balls. You dip the rice in the broth. It was so good! I have liked all of the food so far. After lunch we took a walk on the beach. We went to the fish market and looked at the fishing boats. It was pretty awesome. The ocean here is so gorgeous! We walked around town and Mabel, one of my favorite staff members, pointed out different important places. Mostly where we need to pick up the taxis and the bars that we should stay away from. Town was still pretty crazy today but nothing like yesterday. I still don't feel like I know my way around town. I know some major landmarks but know that it will take me a few times of getting around to really feel like I know where we are. I forgot to mention another important person that I met today. His name is Emmanuel. He is the son of one of the host families. He is 26, a 6th grade teacher at a local school and he is also our Fante teacher. He went out the tour with us and was so helpful! I think that he will be a great resource for me while I am here. We returned to the ProWorld house and had a little downtime. I was able to show Emmanuel pictures from Idaho. It was really cool to show him where I was from and pictures of all the important people in my life. He found me on Facebook and couldn't believe how many pictures I had :) We finished up the afternoon with a Fante lesson. Emmanuel basically gave us the history of the language. It is so crazy how you can travel just a few miles and they speak a completely different language. Basically it would be like every state having a different language. Can you imagine how hard that would be to travel? Fante is spoken in the SouthWestern part of Ghana and primarily on the coast. We learned a few phrases that will be helpful. I have practiced a little but still don't feel confident when I say them. Emmanuel said that he would help me a little more so I will be able to communicate with the children at the orphanage better. They don't speak a lot of english so the language barrier may be difficult. Actually, not may, it will be difficult so I want to make sure I am as prepared as I can be. Our Fante lesson was interrupted by the arrivals of our host families. Everything happened so fast. None of us were able to say goodbye to each other. All our families came by taxi so we had to rush out so they would not have to pay extra for waiting on us. My mom, Mamma Teko seems so great. I'm looking forward to getting to know her. The drive to my new home took about 20 minutes. It's located in a town called Elmina. My home is located right in the city center. I will definitely post pictures. I met the rest of my family when I arrived. There is one daughter named Fransisca who is 28 and one brother, Omed, who is 23. I just briefly met them. I was SO happy to see my other sister for the next few weeks. Her name is Stephanie and she is from Germany. She is so sweet. We sat down for dinner pretty much right when I walked it. We had rice and the delicious sauce again. It was so good. The sauce had some shrimp in it tonight. I was so hungry. Stephanie invited me to go out with her and some of her friends tonight. We left right after dinner so I didn't even get a chance to unpack my things. I'm sure there will be plenty of time. We met up with some of her friends and headed to the Stumble Inn beach resort. We fit 7 people in the taxi. That is a very common thing to do. Stephanie and I had to sit on laps in the back seat. The road to the resort was very very bumpy and we definitely hit the ceiling of the car a few times. Once we made it to the resort, I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. The sun was already down (it goes down around 6:30)  but I coul dsee the reflection of the moon on the ocean. Again, I felt like I was on a tropical island. The resort was so pretty. Some of Stephanie's friends are leaving tomorrow so they were having a going away celebration tonight. They had entertainment which was really cool. They had a bonfire and more dancing and drumming. It was very similar to last night. They also had a guy that was eating fire. SO crazy. We met some guys from London. Its pretty crazy how many people are here volunteering from all over the world. I am loving meeting so many people that share the same passion as I do. We are all here because we want to be and it makes it very special. I guess I should tell you a little bit about my new home. Like I said, it's in Elmina and our home is right in the center of the town. We are basically right in the middle of everything. There is so much going on. People are every where. Its definitely different than America where people come home and pretty much stay in their homes and close their blinds. I have my own room. It has a full size bed, a fan and a little table. Its pretty big actually. I have a screen door to keep the masquitos out. I also have a regular door that we are supposed to lock when we are gone and at night when we are asleep. My room is on the second floor. There are 2 other rooms on my floor. I think Mamma Teko sleeps downstairs. The bathroom and shower are outside. They have doors but you have to enter them from the outside. I haven't showered yet so I will definitely share that experience after I've had it. The kitchen is outside. It is definitely an adjustment but I love their simple ways of life. They make due with every single thing they have and are so happy and appreciative of life. I bought a cell phone yesterday. It is nice to be able to communicate with the other volunteers and to contact my mom. I can even text. I have to buy credits so I can't talk/ text a lot but I'm actually loving it. Kind of shocking I know but its true. I'm enjoying being disconnected from my life at home for a bit. I'm not trying to be selfish but right now I want to give all my attention to this experience. I don't have internet at my home. We have it at the Pro World house and can use it whenever. I live a ways from the house so it will be difficult for me to use it but again, I don't think that's a bad thing. I do want to keep up with my blogs so I'm hoping to use it at least once a week. We have the option of buying internet but I don't think I'm going to do that. We will see how the next few weeks go. Tomorrow will be another busy and exciting day. I start at the orphanage tomorrow. Mabel is going to come pick me up and ride with me so I know how to get there and what to tell the taxi drivers. I met a driver tonight that is friends with Stephanie and he said he would drive me which will be very nice. His name is Prince. I'm not sure how late I will be at the orphanage or what my day will consist of. I'm sure it will be awesome tho :) Can't wait to meet the kids. I should probably get some sleep. I think I've written enough for the night :) I just have so much to share and don't want to forget any of this. Love and miss you all!! XOXO

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