Volta Region Mountains

Volta Region Mountains

Friday, July 16, 2010

Last Blog post!

SOOOO it has almost been a month since I left Ghana. It is very strange being back in America. I miss Ghana, to tell you the truth! It really was the simple life! I like having choices, but sometimes only one or two ways work as well. I love being home though! You know, I'm not really going anywhere with this lol. It is just too hard to put into words lol.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What do you mean it’s time to leave?!

Hmmm ok. So. I don’t really know what to say. I’m kind of in shock. I looked at my calendar and it said that I am leaving in like four days. When did the end get here!! I know in my last blog I said 11 days…but it was just a number to my brain. Now that the number is so low…it is kind of reality…this is scary. I don’t know what to think! I can’t fathom leaving!! This has been my life and now it is just over! I have had so many amazing experiences and met so many amazing people! Leaving just doesn’t seem right.
Dear Ghana,
You have been wonderful to me. You have treated me well. I have seen your land and met your people. Everything about you is priceless. I wouldn’t exchange my time here for anything. After six months I have felt the pain you put in my stomach, the tears you put in my eyes, the compassion you put in my heart, the excitement you put in my ears, the adventure you have put in my feet, the logic you put in my brain, and the burn you put on my skin; you have put me through quite a run, but it has been marvelous. As my never ending summer comes to an end I would like to say goodbye to my foster country in hopes to see you again.
Adwoa (a.k.a. Celea)
On a side note, I spent the last weekend with Amy and her host family! On the way to her village Amy almost got robbed and we witnessed a riot between two villages. Every village has a chief, or elder, that finalizes decisions. Apparently there was a disagreement between the two villages, probably having to do with marriage. But it was actually really scary! They had all the young men carry their machetes and clubs and march to the next village. Then we went to Akim Oda to see where Amy’s host dad works and to see the largest tree in West Africa!!! So exciting!!! The tree is 404 years old and about 60 feet around the trunk. It was pretty cool!! Now I have seen the largest tree and market in West Africa! Anyways, I have one week in London and then I will be home!! See you all soon!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Coming to an end :(

This past weekend marked the points of my birthday and my SAT! I had a great birthday filled with friends and fun! I'm so appreciative of the friends and connections that I have made, it has really made my experience completely amazing. I even ate camel hump at my dinner!! That was also my last day of school so I was able to say goodbye to all of my new classmates. I can't believe everything is finishing. I have 11 more days left in Ghana!!! I can almost count the days on my hands!! I remember the first 11 days here. In my diary I wrote how hot it was here, what supplies I needed for school, and I tried ground nut soup (my favorite!!) for the first time! It is amazing how amateur I was when I just got here. Even the other day I was chatting with some volunteers and they were asking the same questions that I was stressing about my first few days in country. I feel like I am just going to wake up in a few days and I will just be home, I think I might go crazy. But now that I am leaving soon, I am in the middle state of traveling. I'm just excited to be home! But I don't know if I'm actually ready to be! My Auntie Val is going to South Africa tomorrow for the World Cup and she is packing up her room; it is weird to even think of packing!! My brain is so confused! Well, when I do get off the plane at Sea-Tac I hope that it is cold and rainy; this sounds very nice. Also, Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kitten Khebab

So, I'm sitting inside chatting with my Auntie Val, Auntie Rebecca, and Amy when we heard all the night guards on the street fighting! Val went out and found out what was going on. When she came back in she said that all the day guards were fighting with the night guards.

Let me back up, about the first week of March one of the stray cats around the neighborhood had three kittens on our front porch! I was even the second person to hold the kittens! So, for the past three months the kittens have been growing up around the house and seeing them and petting them. I even named them!!

The day guards all love the kittens, they play with them and everything! But the night guards don't care about them because they don't see the kittens in the same way.

So finally we find out that one of the night guards had come to steal kitten to eat it as his super!! The day guards were saying that the cats belong to the house but the night guards were saying that it was just an animal. There was a huge feud over the cats!! A lady had even come from down the street to cook the cat!

In the end, when I walked outside there were only two kittens.

As a side note, cat is actually supposed to be really tasty! People in the north eat them all the time! But the cat was ours, he shouldn't have eaten it.

Now when I go outside and only see two I will think to myself "oh ya, the third one was eaten" I don't even like cats! But I watched these ones be born! We had a connection...

But anyways, just felt that I had to share my despair with you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adventure: Part 2

So part two of our adventure consisted of A LOT of travelling…a bit too much if you ask me. The single longest time that we travelled was when we went from Tamale down to Accra. This bus ride was TWELVE hours…it was a tad long. From Accra we made our way to the west! We spent some much needed time on the beaches of Axim! Then we made a day trip to the village on stilts, Nzulezo. The journey to get to the village was quite an adventure in itself! We spent over an hour paddling and walking through swamps and jungles! When we finally arrived at the village I was quite impressed! It was a very cool and structurally sound village! Schools were also available to the children! But because the water that surrounds the village is as dark as coffee, the national service Ghanaian teachers were frightened by it and left. There are now volunteers to teach the children. But the village consisted of 500 people that mainly fish, but during the dry season the village farms. But it was very cool to see the village! I felt bad for the natives though because they are basically on display for foreigners to come to see. Then we made our way to Cape Coast and Elmina to check out the castles. The Elmina Castle is amazing! It was so pretty; it’s too bad they were used to hold slaves. Did you know that 12-25 million slaves were estimated to be captured? The slaves were held 200 to a 25 by 25 foot room for up to three months. The bathrooms were exactly the same place that the slaves lived for 3 months. The captives also weren’t allowed to bathe. When we walked through the dungeons of the Elmina Castle the stench of feces and bodies was still there. It was sad. That ended our trip! It was exciting and tiring but all completely worth it! Now I just need to rest my brain for a few days and I will be fine! I will be coming home in a few weeks, it doesn’t seem real!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Adventure: Part 1

HELLO!! So, I've been traveling for the past week with two other American students on my program, Amy and Eric. We started off last week with a day at Lake Bosumtwi. My Auntie Valerie and her cousins came as well! It was a good relaxation day before we started traveling through out the rest of Ghana! After the lake, we spent a few nights in the city of Kumasi. We went to the zoo! It was a very depressing site; there was at least one dead animal in each cage..but it was still fun, in a way. Then we went to the largest market in West Africa! There are over 10,000 vendors, so we didn't see it all, but it was more than exciting! I did not purchase much, it was mainly more of the task of pushing your way threw the crowds and resisting the vendors yelling and pulling at you! Amy and I also got our whole head of hair braided! We took it out the next day though because it was paining us too much. Then we went to Tamale, up north, to have a rest before our next destination. I'm in love with Tamale! I think it is the best city in Ghana that I have visited so far. The city's roads are paved, people are active and friendly, and everyone rides bicycles because they have ACTUAL SIDEWALK! The atmosphere is just so light and free! Such a lovely place. Then we went to Mole National Park. We went to the bus station at 4:30am to buy our tickets for the 8:30 bus. But when we got on the bus, we found out that the lady sold us the wrong ticket. So, the bus went threw hundreds of little villages picking up people along the way. To tell you the truth, for the almost five months that I've been here, I've put in my mind that the fact that people still live in huts was a myth. Up north, that is not the case. People/villages are completely comprised of mud circular huts! Probably one of the coolest things I've seen! In one of the villages that we stopped at, a mother and baby son boarded the bus. The baby was so scared of us white people! It was actually really funny, but sad. He squished up his face and sealed his eyes closed as his mother carried him by haha! But then we got off at some random town called Daramongo. We ended up having to take a taxi to the park. But it's not like any of the roads are paved so of course our cab got a flat tire, ADVENTURE! Eventually we made it to the park and hotel and were welcomed by the friendly staff, clean rooms, a pool, and a look out over two water holes for the animals to come to! We went on a safari through the brush and wilderness and saw different breeds of antelope, monkey, and elephant! We watched the elephants bathe in the water hole, 25 feet from us! Then when it was over we decided to get biscuits from the shop. On the way back the baboons were waiting for us and bombarded us and stole our snacks from us! Scariest thing ever!! When we were at the look out the baboons attacked us and went right under my chair! They are vicious and evil!!! I'm so over monkeys at this point in my life, they are mean and greedy! I wasted so much money on food that the monkeys stole straight from us!!! So I was hungry and broke!!! But the overall experience was amazing, but I'm happy to be out of the park! But now we are off again!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Survey Results!

So, a few people took the small survey to the right! It looks like the most people want to hear about the culture! Culture refers to pretty much everything in Ghana…so I will try to touch base on as much as I can!!
1. So, as some of you might know, Ghana is a former British colony known as the Gold Coast. Ghana is the first African country south of the Sahara to win its independence; which was 53 years ago. Ghana has been under democratic rule since 1992 but I have heard from many Ghanaians that “democracy” doesn’t mean what it should for Ghana.
2. Ghana has 10 regions. Within those 10 regions, there are over 50 ethnic groups and over 90 languages and dialects. English is the official language but other well known languages are: Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, Ga, and Twi. 70% of the people live in the southern part of Ghana.
3. Accra (the capital and where I live) is 4.5 degrees north of the equator and is on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. From north to south, Ghana is about 418 miles long and from east to west it is 333 miles wide. The bordering countries are Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Togo; these are all French speaking countries. Other major cities in Ghana are Tema, Secondi-Takoradi, Tamale, Sunyani, Koforidua, Ho, Wa, Cape Coast, and Kumasi.
4. It is actually really easy to travel around Ghana. Busses and tros are labeled and people can usually direct you to the right place. I usually take Busses when I travel anywhere that goes in the direction of north. You can take S.T.C and Metro Mass Transit which are the government busses or busses such as V.I.P or V.V.I.P (HAHA) which are privately owned and are usually on schedule (Ghana Schedule) as compared to the government busses. Tro Tro’s are easy to catch and are the cheapest way of transportation. Tros will usually stop to drop you wherever you ask. But this means it takes longer to get to places. Also, you can always tell if someone has been on a tro just by how they smell…haha! I think there are more taxis than people in Ghana. Taxi’s find you, especially if you’re white. And if you don’t know the price, they will rip you off. Taxi is the most expensive way of transport but is the most efficient since there are no added variables. Shared taxis are good as well! It usually just takes them a while to fill but they have a set and fair price.
5. I consider Ghana to be very safe. I have not yet been robbed or assaulted so I think it’s all good! Of course travelling at night isn’t a good idea, I have learned. There are areas and paths I don’t take if I walk at night but it mainly has to do with using your brain and your gut feeling. And usually if I feel scared it’s because I’m in a sketch area, but that doesn’t usually happen.
6. The currency of Ghana is the Ghana Cedi (GHC). No one takes credit cards. The one and only mall in Ghana accepts credit cards and some hotels do as well. ATM’s or “cash points” are available in Ghana. There are even three ATMs within 500 feet of me. But outside of Accra, you will only find a few in the entire region.
7. The food!! The entire diet consists of yam, cassava, corn, plantains, and rice. Many tropical fruits are plentiful, but vegetables are scarce and more expensive. Fish is the most common “meat” eaten in Ghana; poultry is next, followed by red meats which are rarely eaten. Fufu and Banku are the favorites in Ghana. These are usually eaten with soups or sauces. Gari is dried cassava. I hate this stuff. But my classmates will eat it mixed with water and even my friend Amy will eat it with Milo (like chocolate milk powder) and peanuts mixed with water. People also put Shitto and Peppe on everything. This stuff will give you the runs. It is honestly too spicy for me haha. Beans are also very popular in meals. Red Red is a bean dish. Ground nuts are the same as peanuts here. Ground nuts are served with all plantain dishes, with bananas, and made into peanut brittles, and even soups. Ground nut soup is my favorite. I usually eat it with white rice or rice balls accompanied with tuna in the soup.
8. Most people shower twice a day here, I usually only shower once at night. Mostly everyone washes their clothes by hand. I personally wash my clothes every 2 weeks; this is when I usually run out of clean clothes haha. I’ve gotten used to hand washing my clothes. I just put on my iPod and scrub away for about two hours haha. Malaria does kill a lot here. I was given a daily medicine to prevent malaria but I actually haven’t taken it for like 3 weeks haha oopps…but I actually haven’t gotten sick here. I got sick earlier while I was here, but it was because I had sun poisoning. But if someone does get sick they go to the “clinic” here they will usually inject something into your butt.
9. From my observations, most teenagers do not smoke or drink. But adults usually drink beer and women usually drink Smirnoff ice (which apparently isn’t alcoholic…but there is alcohol in it…but people consider it a soda…). “Star” is the Ghanaian beer and the favorite beer.
10. Watching television is a big leisure activity here. Other families will go to the beach on the weekend, especially after church on Sundays. When the lights go off, people usually just chat. The teenage life is very different here. Because all of the students are boarding students, you can’t really hang out after school. But when hanging out, dancing and singing to American and Ghanaian music is popular. I am a fan of Ghanaian music. It is called High Life. Most HipLife artists are actually signed by Akon.
11. Dressing appropriately is very important here. Kaba and Slit are the most popular form of dress. I had one made specifically for the funeral, but most women wear them every day. I liked wearing mine, but it is tight and hot. I even got heat rash from it, so I couldn’t imagine wearing one every day! Teenagers, when they aren’t wearing their school uniforms, wear jeans and dresses; teenage boys wear designer tee shirts and other flashy items. Ghana gets a lot of rejects from designer shops around the world; seeing such brands on Ghanaians is very common. But all clothes are washed and ironed and having your elder fixing your clothes right before you step out of the door is common. But flip flops and sandals are the most common form of shoe.
12. Most Ghanaians have up to three cell phones each. Cell phones are huge here. Everyone is always reachable. But most of the time people will just call you and have nothing to say haha
13. As you all know by now, Ghana is extremely religious. Everyone is Christian, Catholic, or Muslim. You will see signs and psalms listed on cars, buildings, shops, and tros all throughout Ghana. Some shops and listings are called: “Love Jesus Barber Shop” “Accept God Chop Shop” “Jesus is your friend” “As nice as Heaven fashions”. As you can see, Ghana is highly influenced by religion. This is also why most girls do not drink “good girls don’t drink Star”…that is why…lol
14. Ghanaian families are relatively large. Most families live on shared compounds where the family stays together. This is due to financial reasons, to take care of the elders, and have assistance in the upbringing of the children. If a family has their own home, cousins, nieces, and nephews will usually live at the house anyways.
15. So here is some etiquette that is common in Ghana. Some of these I have already listed in past blogs.
a. Never use your left hand
b. When greeting a group of people, start greeting from the left
c. You must say “you are invited” when you have food in front of you
d. Never refuse food. RUDEST thing you can do.
e. Do not compare people to animals. Even if you mean it in a non hurtful way.
f. Saying that you are getting fat is polite.
g. Public affection is NOT appropriate. Holding of the hands is disgraceful. Amy and I saw this one couple kissing near the poolside once and we were appalled. Haha Ghana. Hugging isn’t normal here either. When you greet someone you usually do this handshake thing and then you snap fingers between the two hands, it’s actually really cool haha.
h. You always address strangers and teachers as “Madame” and “Sir” usually if you want to ask a question you say “please, madame, blah blah blah” it shows respect.
i. Eating while walking is considered weird here. But I usually do it every now and then. It is probably just weird because it distracts you and if you get distracted to where you are walking, you will probably fall in the gutter.

Well, this was long!! But I hope it was helpful and answers any curiosities you had! I will try to upload more pictures as well; it just takes a long time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A day at an orphanage :)

I visited an orphanage this weekend! I mentally prepared myself to expect the worst on the way there. Mostly all of the orphanages here have hidden agendas. They look nice on the outside, but the management doesn’t do as they say. Usually the directors of the orphanages take the donation money and buy fancy cars or beer. And instead of using the money on food, water, beds, fans, electricity, and toys for the children, they use it for their own personal reasons. Knowing this, I put my mind in a state so I wouldn’t freak out and break down when I arrived at the orphanage. But when I arrived at the orphanage I actually thought I was at the wrong place haha. All of the buildings are new, the dorms weren’t packed with children, they had clean running water, food was plentiful, and the women that worked there even played with the kids! The kids here were obviously happy. They played games, sang songs, and acted out different animals; traits that aren’t usually seen in children around Ghana. These kids were comfortable in their skin and were happy to live where they live! The reasons why the kids are even at the orphanage are: Their parent(s) have HIV/AIDS and are incapable of taking care of their child, the child comes from a deprived home, the child is not wanted by the family, and the mother of the child was also an orphan when she had her child, etc. One of the cutest, liveliest, most creative kids was named Sarah. Her mom was an orphan at age 11 and somehow got pregnant. Her daughter is now five and is the biggest bundle of joy on the planet! My favorite kiddie was named small boy/Baby Ema/Emanuel. I don’t know what his story was or even how old he was, but he was the cutest thing ever! Mom and Dad, can we adopt him???!! Please! I’m guessing that he is 3 or 4 years old. When I called him, he came running to me and he always wanted me to hold him! He was quiet but he talked when he wanted to say something and was never short on smiles! It was such a nice and fulfilling day! I’m just glad to know that not all orphans are treated poorly! It’s a shame the orphanage is kind of far away, I wish it was closer! By the way, Happy Mother’s Day! I love you mom :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


As I am a junior in high school, the SAT is the most stressful thing to think about at this point in my life! I am actually taking the SAT here in Ghana two days before my birthday! So, to prepare for my big test, I have been taking some SAT study courses at the US Embassy at the EducationUSA Advising Department. To the equivalence of 70 US cents, I sit in an air conditioned room equipped with a full library and computers. For four hours my fellow Ghanaian "classmates" and I sit and exercise our brains with SAT practice problems and standard English lessons. It is so nice that the US Embassy has made this available to its country's citizens to able themselves to fulfill their dreams to go to America to study. One person that I chatted with wants to go to America to study to be a marine biologist. In Ghana they don't quite have the resources and equipment to support such a career fully. So studying to get a good score on the upcoming SAT would enable this person to travel to America, learn all that is required, and bring it back to Ghana to educate others! This department (Ghana) also receives the largest amount of financial aid and scholarship awards for college students out of all the African countries. I just think that it's great that people get the opportunity to carryout their passions here in Ghana; whether they come from a wealthy family or not. All it takes is a bit of hard work and dedication! Osei Ghana (Go Ghana!!)!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Funerals are awesome!

For the past week it has been planned that I would be going to a funeral over this past weekend. Whenever someone asked me what I was doing I said “I’m going to a funeral!!!!” in a really excited tone with a huge smile on my face haha. I was excited to go because 1.I get to have a funeral Kaba and Slit made and 2.Funerals here are supposed to be like a party! I went to a funeral with Amy and her host dad to the funeral of Amy’s grandma. When we get there, we sit outside of the church where everyone else is sitting; you can only sit inside if you are immediate relatives. But then we got introduced to the daughter of the deceased woman and she let me go inside to take pictures!! You’re also not allowed to take pictures at funerals, unless you are the professional photographer. The church “service” consisted of many songs and a few speeches. Then they carried the coffin to the grave yard! Then everyone gathered at this one place where they played music and everything! This one old guy kept hitting on Amy and me haha. He even tried to sneak a kiss, SHAME ON HIM. HAHA but it was so funny, it made my day. The guy was probably 100 years old. Then everyone wanted me to dance, and I refused quite a number of times, then I gave in! I started dancing like the Ewe’s which looks like a chicken dance or something, and everyone got up and started cheering me on and stuff, it was really funny! But it was such a good time! Then we got party favors when we left!! It was a long day, but very exciting! Funerals are a huge deal in Ghana, everyone attends them. They last the entire weekend and are filled with services and dancing and eating. Like I mentioned before, Ghana is not a credit/loan country, but people take out loans to throw funerals. At most funerals, thousands of people can show up.
Also a side note about food in Ghana. Ghanaian food is relatively very good! And I know when I’m starting to love it when I choose yam chips over French fries. But the only problem I have with it is the serving size. I can eat rice, but not a whole crock pot of it!! It’s very difficult to force yourself to eat more than your stomach can hold. But ya, I just wanted to reflect on that!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ahh the village...!

So, I visited my American friend, Amy, and her host family for the past couple of days in her village. Village life is very different than cosmopolitan Accra life. In the village, the days are longer, the food is spicier, and the activities are limited. But the weather is cooler, at a mere 95-100 degrees F., and is relatively cheaper than Accra. I even pounded fufu for the first time in Ghana! The “pounder” is made out of a bamboo branch and you just pound the cassava and plantain mixture. I didn’t do it for very long because my arms got tired very quickly haha. Fish is also eaten with almost every meal. Chicken and meats are very rare. If you want a chicken you have to buy a chicken and kill it. This is the case in Accra as well, but it is just rare to physically see. On my bus home, the lady sitting next to me was holding a live chicken in her lap…I always just laugh to myself because half the things I see in Ghana are so random haha I love it. In the village, waking up at 7 or 8am is considered sleeping in. Most people wake up early to do laundry and other chores to avoid the heat, even though it is still hot. By 6am or so, music is playing, people are talking, and the roosters are screaming. I always get worried when I hear the sound of people pounding fufu…It’s kinda really difficult to eat it for breakfast. Also, as we are approaching the rainy season, it rains pretty much every day. It is good because it cools Ghana off a bit, but bad because people don’t like the rain here; therefore everything closes. I even brought my rain jacket from Seattle! But…no one goes outside…haha. In the village, the surroundings turn into mud! Amy and I really wanted to go mud sledding! But…ya…that would be weird…people just don’t understand!!
Every night before I go to bed I always think about Ghana and all the crazy and amazing stuff that happens here. I go to bed saying to myself, “I love Ghana.” And I’m not just saying that to pretend that I actually like it here, I honestly love it here! At this point I have been here for 105 days and I only have 60 left…I feel like any day now I could be on that plane back home!! I don’t even know if I’m ready to leave!! It will be weird to wake up in my bed, to eat bagels, to drive, to go to Starbucks, to get French fries at McDonalds, to drink water from the faucet, to take a hot shower, to just hang out with friends and make stupid music videos…I don’t know if I will remember how most of this works!! I guess part of this journey is how I react to the modern world when I come back, and appreciate modern marvels. But even though I’m in Ghana and I don’t really have any of the things that I listed (except maybe the hot shower, but only when the water has been sitting in the pipes all day, very rare) life is still pretty good!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun Facts!

Here are some phrases, words, and general facts that I've jotted down!

Here are some words that I didn't understand when said; this is due to the British English Ghanaians speak mixed with their own:
-A "rubber" = a plastic bag
-A "que" = a line (that people stand in)
-A "bureau" = a bank
-A "parcel" = a package
-A "tro tro" = is a form of public transportation
-A "canteen" = a lunchroom
-"Vat" = is tax (when purchasing stuff)
-"Slippers" = are flip flops
-A "duster" = is a black board eraser
-An "Insector" = is a tampon (sorry, I had to let you know that one)
-"Pomade" = is lotion

Did you know...
...that Oranges, lemons, and bananas are naturally green here?
...when you flush a toilet, the water doesn't spin, it goes straight down?
...there are no "hot" or "cold" option faucets, only 'on' or 'off'?
...the moon's crescent is on the bottom (so it looks like a smile)?
...Ghana is the closest country to the middle of the Earth?
...that using your left hand for basically anything is a huge insult?
...mostly everything is eaten with a spoon or hands?
...Ghana is the largest supplier of cocoa beans?
...Ghana grows and produces coffee beans but Ghanaians never drink coffee?

Words and Phrases commonly used...
-"Do you need to go to the ladie's and Gent's?" (do you need to go to the bathroom)
-"I'm so bored with this homework, it's too difficult" (To be bored = to be annoyed)
-"He is going to be sacked from work because he doesn't come" (to be sacked = to be fired)
-"Did you chuck up when you were sick?" (to chuck = to vomit)
-A wasted pregnancy = an abortion
-"Do you want take-away for your rice?" (take away = take out)
-"Sit well as I peel your oranges" (sit well = to take a seat)
-"Sit skinny so the person can sit next to you" (sit skinny = squeeze together)
-Chocked = clogged
-"I'm Coming" (this is commonly used to let people know that they acknowledge you. If you ask some one for a pencil, they will reply with "I'm coming." This phrase is used for everything. Most of the time when some one says it, the person never comes back lol.
-"Obruni, how are you?" "I'm fine" is the common street talk when you pass people.
-Hissing and making a kissing noise is commonly used to get your attention.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Volta Region

For the past week I have spent my time with fellow AFS-ers hiking and trekking through the jungles of the Volta Region. Let me tell you…it was not easy. The jungles are hot, humid, and sunny; climbing mountains in these conditions is very difficult. But it was fun! It was fun to be with the other foreign people and hear how their experiences have been. It is really interesting to see how us 11 kids (we were 14…haha) can come from all different countries, speak all different languages, but in three months time, we all come together and speak the same Twi and say the same weird English phrases that get us by. It is nice to see I’m not alone. But it is actually weird that I got home sick from leaving my home in Ghana to go on this trip! When I got back to Accra, I was happy to be home! But the trip was amazing! We saw lots of cool places! The rain forests in the Volta Region are so beautiful! The vines hang down from the trees as they smack you in the face, and there are trees covered in ants as you grab them for balance, as well as heat that transforms into sweat that drips off of your body and soaks your clothes. It was definitely an experience I will never forget! We also hiked to the top of a mountain and could see the bordering country, Togo, from the top! The most spectacular site we visited was the Wli Falls. The falls are estimated at 150 feet in height and is said to be the largest water fall in Western Africa. We went swimming underneath it; it hurt so very much, but was completely worth it! Outside of our mountain top escape, stick bugs and scorpions lived…which was really scary…but it was neat to see them wild, and not in a zoo. We also went to a village where the monkeys live next to a village. The village people said that the monkeys are sacred to them. They also say that the monkeys take their food haha. I got to feed a monkey a banana though! It was a fun trip! I’m just now realizing that I will be back in my natural home sooner than later, time is clicking!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Amazing Easter Weekend!

This Easter weekend included the best two days of my life! No joke. Over the weekend we went up to Nkawkaw to camp in the mountains. There is a big Easter weekend paragliding festival on the top of the mountain. Apparently the people I went up with know the people that own the land under the TV tower, so we got to set up camp right there; next to the paragliding runway. We had the three dogs with us (Ghanaians are scared of dogs, like nothing else) so people thought we were all legit. And during this festival the chiefs came to dance and do a ceremony thing so they parked their vehicles in our territory, so when people asked where we were sleeping we pointed to our spot and people were like “ohhhh…!!” haha. But the festival was a lot of fun! The food was good and fairly priced! The DJ was playing all of my favorite Ghanaian music! By coincidence some of my fellow AFS friends were there also, so that was fun! Then Auntie Valerie and I got our tickets to paraglide; we were numbers 184 and 185. The first day of flying they took 20 people…so our luck for that didn’t look too optimistic…but we had fun watching other people jump! Everyone jumps different ways; some land on their face, so the Ghanaian crowd is fun to hear. Then that night we had some flares and stuff we set off! No one else was camping where we were so we had it all to ourselves! This one flare I set off shot out like a missile and I honestly thought I put the entire country out…but I didn’t! So the next morning, we sat next to the pilots and chatted with all of them! The people I went up with actually do crazy base jumps with the organizer of this event. So I was chatting with him and I ended up paragliding first!!! Paragliding is the most amazing thing I have ever done! It is so peaceful but exciting because we were doing turns and stuff! Then in air, we decided to do some circle trick with another paraglide, and the paraglide below us came up and the strings that attach the parachute to the person got caught in my leg and ripped their chute and cut my leg up. I was just happy that I didn’t die haha. The other paraglide had to land because it wasn’t safe, but we continued to fly! The view was amazing! Everything was so green because the real rain forest started there. The clouds were also visible and they crawled up the mountains, it was amazing. But then when we landed I was supposed to run as we land, but I think my body was in physical shock because we collided. I was mentally good, I planned on running, but my body didn’t want to haha so I just fell to the ground haha! It was such an experience though!!! Then we got driven back up the mountain! The festival was so much fun because there weren’t really any tourists, mainly just foreigners that live in Ghana but from all different countries. There were a lot of Peace Corps volunteers there. While we were watching people jump we sat next to some people originally from India, and they were chatting with us. It was all just really fun! If you ever get the chance to paraglide, do it! HAPPY EASTER!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Batik slide show, look at pictures on posting before, then these

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Slide Show of Batik Process

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Batiking on Cape Coast’s Coast!

I did a batik workshop in Cape Coast! Batik is a much utilized form of art for clothing in Ghana. Every Ghanaian woman, even men, own batiked fabrics and clothing. Batik involves melted wax in the form of designs that are applied to fabric, and then removed to reveal the print after it has been dyed. Here are the steps to creating a batik masterpiece! There is a slide show that shows the pictures when it was taking place.
1. Choose the stencils that you want to use
2. Dip the stencil into the bowl of melted wax; shake the stencil so that it does not drip
3. Carefully, slowly, but efficiently press the stencil onto the fabric, allowing the design to be visible. Applying more wax onto the stencil will be necessary. Following the creases of the fabric is a good idea in order to maintain the quality of the pattern.
4. Fold the fabric so that when tie-dyeing, it will result in the design you wanted.
5. Mix the dye with other chemicals to allow the dye to move through the fabric and allowing the color to come through evenly and clearly.
6. Soak certain areas of the fabric in the dye. Mine has two colors: purple and yellow.
7. Wring the fabric and let it dry for a bit
8. Rinse the fabric and then place in a pan of boiling water to melt the wax off
9. Wash the fabric once more in water to remove any impurities then hang to dry and then it’s done!!
It was a lot of work for two yards of fabric! It took 3 hours from start to finish to complete the batiking process! It was tough and tedious work!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fun in the sun!

I was invited on a scuba diving adventure to rescue an ancient anchor from a ship wreck in the ocean! It was quite the task considering there were only two scuba divers, two boatmen, and me haha. It was interesting to see how they got the anchor up; they used a water balloon type thing that they attached to the anchor, then filled it with air and the anchor lifted! It was my school lesson for the day haha! Then the anchor weighed so much that we had to hang it from the side of the boat until we got to shore; the boat was going REALLY slow. But then we got back and it took eight guys to haul it up. Then after that was accomplished we went back out to snorkel and scuba! The scuba divers have these underwater fish guns/spears that they use. They go to the bottom of the ocean then shoot fish from underwater; intense stuff. While they were doing that I snorkeled! The water is so much nicer farther out! People tend to use the ocean shore as the “Ladies and Gents” so most beaches have nasty ocean access. I was just flipper-ing around looking at fish when I realized I was in the middle of the ocean then freaked out and sprinted back to the boat haha. I didn’t want a shark or whale to eat me haha. It was a fun day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Week in Review!

So, this past week was exciting!

1. My exams started at school last week! I have one or two tests a day, 2-3 days a week! The first few tests haven’t been difficult, but because I came into the term late, I didn’t know a lot of the questions…but I’m not too worried! But I have had a lot of down time otherwise.

2. So, I also helped paint a metal sculpture for a shop! It was a lot of fun to do! When they were putting the sculptures up, everyone stopped and stared and asked questions. There aren’t a lot of art like that around Accra, mainly because stuff would get stolen or vandalized.

3. I visited Amy’s village this weekend in Swedru! She actually lives in a Village! It was very different. Her neighbors just got electricity…so it was pretty rural. But the area was very scenic! It was such a peaceful area! But I did hear a lot more “obruni, how are you” phrases. But it was ok. We went into her town, which was small but very cute and efficient!

4. I went to Krobo! On the way to Krobo we saw Baboons roaming on and near the road! It was so cool! I felt like I was on a safari! Then I got to tour the place where the ladies assemble and make the beads! It was neat to see how production was done! Apparently one lady came make 5,000 pieces of jewelry a year! Is that not a crazy amount? But then I got to go to market day and buy A LOT of beads! The beads are so pretty! They are all hand painted, EACH bead…crazy stuff. I got some “old beads” which were used for trading hundreds of years ago! They are the prettiest but the most expensive…and by expensive I mean up to 30 cedi PER bead…some necklaces were hundreds of dollars…and that wasn’t the Obruni price either. But that was an awesome little trip, very cool to see!

5. The weather here has been ridiculous. The sky is a yellow color. No one really knows why. Some say it’s the dust and my classmates say it’s God, so who knows! But it hasn’t necessarily been cooler unfortunately haha

6. I found the best Jewelry maker in Ghana! This little Lebanese lady (maybe 80 something years old) and her husband (who has passed) have owned this shop for 50 some years! And when I mean “shop” I mean a legit store that accepts credit cards! Wahoo! Her son even went to my school 30 years ago! She is the cutest person ever! I bought a beautiful silver ring from her. It’s interesting that she charges on the weight of the piece and not what she thinks she deserves. She said that I can bring her a design and she will make it for me! So, if anyone wants to send me a design for jewelry, email me! She even said that I can come visit her and I don’t even need to buy anything, I can just come hang out with her; I’ll have to get a picture with her!

Everything is well over here! I heard that Obama passed a health care bill, but that's all I heard! So, I hope everything back home is going well!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ashanti Region

So, over this past weekend I got the opportunity to go to a disabled and rehabilitation school just outside of Kumasi, up north. I will be putting together a PowerPoint presentation and a short video documentary of the school, so I was able to spend the weekend up there with the kids and was able to explore the Ashanti Region! The actual school is very very nice! The kids there are absolutely wonderful! They are the happiest people I have met so far! They laugh all the time and are just enjoying life! Before they came to this school most of these kids had either been abandoned by their families or locked up in cupboards (some were put in wells) to keep their neighbors from knowing they have a disabled person in their house. The owner of the school, Uncle Ike, actually went on a campaign to go and find and rescue these kids that were secluded from society. These kids aren’t only from Ghana, but even from some of the bordering countries like Togo. It was absolutely heart breaking to see that people are shut out if they are even missing an arm. The students are nonexistent because it is seen as a sin and disgrace. The causes for these amputations and other physical problems didn’t all just come from birth defects. Most of them came from car accidents and tro tro collisions, but once someone loses a limb, their life and all opportunity is gone for them. But I was wondering why I never see kids with Down syndrome, autism, or other mental disabilities. There isn’t even a school or sanctuary for people with those types of problems. I asked why and I was told that the babies are killed at birth…I was shocked…I couldn’t believe what I was being told! But back to the school, when I was getting a tour from one of the girls, she showed me the last room, where the people that have the physical disability where they can barely move and can’t talk. The one boy used all of his strength just to move his hand to greet me, it was so warming but depressing at the same time. Then I actually had to leave the room because I started crying because the thought that the person I just met that could barely move, probably lived with farm animals in a barn or some other unsuitable living situation. And to think that parent could throw their child out of their lives like that is really disheartening. Then when they had their church service on Sunday, they put us in the high chairs…in the front of everyone…ahh…it was awkward…haha! But some of the students’ parents were invited to come see their kids and progress, but during the service Uncle Ike got really mad because he knew that the parents came all that way to come to the school, but the parents didn’t even say hi to their kids…so, Uncle Ike had the kids stand up and point to each of their parents. But the reason the parents didn’t want to openly say hi to their kid, is because they were ashamed of what they produced…so sad. But other than that, my Twi improved this past weekend! They know English, but not more than I know Twi, so I was really forced to get phrases and words engraved into my mind. It was good though! Then we also took a side trip to Bosumtwi Lake. It took a couple of hours to get there by tro tro but it was worth it! The lake was actually where a meteorite hit a long time ago so it was all forested and green all around, it was really pretty! Oh, another side not, I took my first bucket shower! Haha! I really like Kumasi and Offinso (where the school was)! It was the legit village, but it was really scenic, AND they had really nicely paved roads! If a road is paved here (in Accra), 80% of the road is made up of pot holes. But ya, the weekend was awesome! I will never forget it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I MET JESSICA ALBA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ME: CELEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Independence Day Weekend!

This past weekend was Independence Day weekend! It was such a blast! It started out on Saturday when I got a call at around 3am telling me I need to be at the school at that exact moment. So I practically ran out of my house, to my school, and had to change into my Navy uniform that is completely white. I was so worried about getting it dirty because dirt just floats in the air here. But anyways, then I ate breakfast at the school (I never do) and it consisted of a starchy backed dough (not fufu, but something else) with Shittu, and a dried fish thing. It was interesting haha not my typical breakfast! But then we were all ready to head down to Independence square and compete for the top march past! When the parade/assembly started, we were out there on the square for maybe three hours total. It wasn’t too bad, but my hat was too tight so it was kind of cutting of my circulation to my brain but I’m ok! Then when the parade was over, we had to march to the state house to get the results to see who won. We came in 6th!!!!...out of 9…HAHA. It was fine though because it was a lot of fun! And barely no one fell out of line during the actual performance, so it was all good! Our officers weren’t happy…but what can you do at this point? Next year! But then we just had a small gathering at the school with the group which was a lot of fun! I love the cadet group, everyone is so nice and friendly, it’s just a nice atmosphere overall! Oh ya, Amy came to visit on Saturday as well and she stayed the long weekend because we have a midterm break. She didn’t come to the parade, but she said she saw me on TV! YAY!  Then on Sunday we met some of the people in our AFS group and went to a Ghanaian arts center where they had some tradition cultural clothing and instruments and stuff like that! It was a cool place! Then we decided to go to our favorite beach! But as our cab was still in park, getting ready to leave, we hear this thud and then see a guy face down on the sidewalk!!!!!! We are all just stunned! Then the guy lifts up his head and starts spitting blood out of his mouth and he face and body is all bloody and torn off! We get out of the car and he gets up and starts spitting and pulling out his teeth!! It was the most gruesome thing ever! But what happened is that his motor bike hit our car (which was parked) and he flew over his handlebars onto the pavement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHH I don’t even like thinking about it because then I start seeing it in my head over and over again! So, subject change…We got to the beach and met some of our friends there and chilled out and enjoyed the sun! Then on Monday I spent the entire day at the Ghanaian Naval Academy/Training Base in Tema! We also went down to the harbor and we got a boat ride on one of the Navy boats! It was so much fun! They even gave us free sodas and meat pies! I even got to shoot a gun! They taught us how! We saw all of the real navy cadets and saw them march with their riffles and stuff! It was really cool to be part of! All of the early morning wake up calls paid off! But yep, it was a good long weekend! Very exciting and tiring haha! OH!!! I also forgot to mention that I went to a play at the Ghana Nation Theater Saturday evening! We saw Cinderama, the African Cinderella. It was actually incredibly good and funny! It was completely Ghanaian-ized! It was hilarious because they took all of the normal things one would see and hear in a normal day in Ghana and they just pumped it up, all in good humor! Not in a negative way, but it was just good!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pay As You Go

I have learned that everything in Ghana is pay as you go. You buy a certain amount of credit then punch in the magic numbers, and then you get what you paid for! But it’s crazy to think that TV and home internet is even pay as you go! It’s so weird! On the televisions, if you don’t touch the remote for more than 20 minutes, then a message pops up saying that the TV will turn off. Very interesting stuff. Even home internet is the same way. You are given a certain amount of downloads and once you use it all up, there is no more internet for the next 3 months. But it is nice for cell phones here though, especially for travelers. You just buy a sim card and then credit. There aren’t any hidden fees or surprising two year plans, so in a way it’s a good thing. But I did ask why “plans” for anything didn’t exist, and it is because people wouldn’t pay their bills and debt would be crazy high. This way the companies get their money up front. Which is a good idea. Credit Cards are also nonexistent here.

Also, I recorded four radio commercials for the theater that I’ve been working with! They needed an American voice and I apparently have a good one! I was actually paid 10cedi for it! I didn’t know I would get paid so I got extremely excited! I was like a little kid after he wakes up and finds a dollar under his pillow from his missing tooth! So, I’ll be hearing myself on the radio! Maybe If I can get hold of the recordings I’ll try to upload them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Class Schedule

So, for those who were wondering what classes I’m taking, I’ll write my schedule!
Monday: Social Studies, English, Management in Living, Integrated Sciences

Tuesday: Maths, Food and Nutrition, French, Biology

Wednesday: Social Studies, Management in Living, English, Integrated Sciences

Thursday: Maths, Integrated Sciences, Biology, ICT (Computer class)

Friday: Maths, Food and Nutrition, Physical Education, Biology

This is the Home Economics-Form 2-Term 2, Time Table. It sounds like an intense schedule! But I have still not even had a single class of certain subjects, too bad. School is still fun! My classmates are who I learn from! Also, it’s weird for people to add an “s” on the end of the word “math”, those Brits! I have fun saying it though!

So, a girl in my program WENT HOME the other day…I couldn’t believe it! I talked to her and she said that her grandpa died and she went home to help out but WILL NOT BE RETURNING TO GHANA. Her 6 months here are FINISHED. I was so shocked! I was mainly surprised because I found out when I was feeling homesick, but even picturing me home at this moment seems weird. I’m not ready to be home yet. I still have a lot to learn and see, even if I do miss home every now and then.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I am actually legitimately homesick for the first time. I made a really close friend here. She is here on my program and is the same age as me, she is from Idaho. We became really good friends from the first day of orientation in New York. We haven't seen each other for a month because we have been settling into our new towns. But she came down to Accra to visit me for the weekend! We had an English breakfast, went to the mall, and then went to see a movie (the only cinema and mall in Ghana btw). It actually made us both incredibly homesick. When we have been living our Ghanaian lives and have gotten used to this culture and lifestyle, then we get thrown our American life for a day...it makes us miss home like crazy. Because at this point, we were used to everything and loving everything, then we realized how much we miss our lives back home. And the fact that Amy and I have so much in common, it made me miss Sara (my bff).

Then I got really sick over the weekend as well. I was throwing up like crazy. I missed not having my family, especially my mom, to help me and take care of me. It just made everything worse.

I miss my friends and family.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Red Obroni? Electricity? 4:30am wake up calls? SOUNDS FUN!

So, While I was at the beach and in the sun over my long weekend, I got extremely burned. My skin was literally red. And when I went to school on Monday, as each classmate walked through the door and gave me their morning welcomes, they each looked at me and I could tell they were thinking about something...haha. Then I could hear people whispering, and whenever I hear the word "Obroni" I know they are talking about me (not in a bad way, everyone is so nice!) so, they chose someone to come over and ask me "what has happened to your face? It has become red..." HAHAHA! And later throughout the day I had other questions asked like, "What have you put on your face?" and "would you like a tissue to take the stuff on your face off?" LOL it was so funny! I guess they have never seen a red-white person before haha. The questions were just so amusing to hear because it was so funny to see their reactions to something they have never seen before.

Now, I never thought that I would miss electricity. Before I came here, I was told that the power goes out A LOT. But recently, it has been going out All DAY, ALMOST EVERY DAY. It's fine that the power is out during the day, but when it gets dark at around 6-6:30pm, that's when everything goes downhill. I cant open the fridge to get food, It's difficult to take showers, I can't find anything, the AC and fans don't work, and I can't charge my phone (which doubles as my alarm). I also can't cook anything because all of the appliances are electric. It's not a huge deal, but it really does make night time difficult! Especially when the one flashlight you have goes out as well...which happened. I'm practically blind at night! I just never knew that I would miss electricity lol.

As for my Navy Cadet training, I have 4:30AM wake up calls a couple of times a week! And we all practice for the 6th of March! I get to miss school though when I go to the practices, which is awesome! I love the group! It's like one big family, and everyone helps everyone, and everyone jokes around, It's a lot of fun! But when we went to rehearse at independent square with the other groups (Air Force and Army) we had to stand in the scorching sun for 5 hours and people were dropping left and right! Our group started with 30 kids, and 5 hours later, 15 were left! I lasted all 5 hours! I was getting freaked out though because all of a sudden I would just hear "thump" and I would discretely (we aren't allowed to move) look over, and girls AND boys are lying on the group with their eyes rolled back, and then the ambulance guys come with a gurney to take them away! It was intense! But I probably drank more water that day, than I have in my entire life haha

Anyways, Ghana just keeps getting better! Hope the next 5 months go just as well!

Love and miss everybody!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Awesome weekend at Cape Coast and Axim!

I had a very nice and relaxing long weekend on the road to the beautiful Cape Coast on Thursday! We took a fast van from the bus junction to the house in Elmina, which is practically Cape Coast, and enjoyed a delicious green curry vegetable stew from one of the best cooks in Ghana! It was absolutely delicious! On Friday morning I went to Kakum National Park, and went on the canopy walk through the rain forest! The 7 Canopies are 120 feet up, and sway as you walk! It was scary but so much fun! The rain forest was not nearly as green as the pacific northwest's forests, but it is the dry season at the moment. But it was still beautiful to see the undeveloped palm trees and shrubbery!! Then when I got back into Cape Coast City, I walked around for a while. I like Accra much better, living wise. Cape Coast is so quiet! It is a nice vacation place, and the buildings are old world colonial which gives the city a special vibe and beauty, it just doesn't have the the liveliness as Accra. It is so funny to see goats and chicken roaming about and crossing the road, it makes me smile haha. If a goat crossed the street in Seattle, the entire city would shut down! In Cape Coast I took a tour through the castle/slave holding place, the same place Obama went to! As bad as it sounds, the castle was so architecturally beautiful! I hate saying that because the Governor at the time held Africans captive and killed them there! It was so creepy and heart breaking to stand in the dungeons that people were chained to, it gave me the chills to even imagine it. My jaw dropped more and more as the tour guide went from dungeon to dungeon and explained which rooms were used for certain procedures. The worst room, in my opinion, was the room where they chained the slaves to the walls, they had no light, food, water, or even oxygen, and they just let the slaves die. They didn't shoot them, they just let them suffer for 3+ days. It was intense. But the next day, I got up at 5am to take the tro tro to Axim! It took three hours, on a crowded van with 18+ people. Not a bus, but a van haha. It was a lot of fun actually! The fare is incredibly cheap! But it's funny, because you see all different kinds of people. A couple were going to a funeral, some looked professional, and some had a bucket of fish haha. It is truly exciting and fairly efficient! You just stand at the side of the road and make the hand gesture to where you want to go, and then if it's the right tro tro, you get on it! 3 hours later, you're at your final destination! So, Axim was GORGEOUS! There weren't mass developed hotels and buildings, just palm tree lined pristine beaches! It was wonderful! I'm so burnt though...hahaha, I will tan soon hopefully! After my stay there, we caught two tro tros to get us back to Accra, 6 and a half hours later, I was home! I feel like I have been on vacation for weeks! Everything is great here! I love it all! Ghana is awesome!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sir, YES, Sir!

So, I found out that my school here has a Navy Cadet Chapter! For those who don't know, I want to be a pilot, and I have always contemplated whether I wanted to try for military work and what not. But I joined the school's chapter here and started training! It is every day after school for a few hours, so, I'm glad I will have something to keep me busy! I will also learn about the political history of Ghana, and information on their current president, President Mills. If I am good enough, I will be able to preform and compete with my school's group on March 6th (their independence day)!! March 6th is a party for the country of Ghana, it is supposed to be like one huge carnival! So, I'm working extra hard to get the drills down and the posture and everything that goes into being a Navy Cadet! And the group assigned me a really cute boy to train with :) so, everything is really good! Haha! But it was funny when the group found out that I wanted to join...the commander, which is a girl actually, looked me up and down and took me as a joke. But now she says that I'm catching on quick, and now she refers me to her white baby (which is good lol). But if I go to the Independence day parade, I will be the only white person in uniform there, which will be hilarious haha, but they won't want to get Obama mad, so they won't say anything. HAHA but I'm excited!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lights, Cameras, Action!

Because I live in one of the more prominent neighborhoods in the country, most of my neighbors run very successful businesses. And all the people in my neighborhood know very successful and famous people! Last night I was introduced to theater actor who runs a theater academy in the city. He was impressed when I was telling him about my school here and some of the crazy stories at school and my time here so far. He was impressed because he thought my stories would make perfect story lines for his students at his school! I am now an official volunteer/intern at this school! I will spend the weekends, and some days after school there! On my first day there, I basically got familiar with the area and the programs that they offer! Then I showed him the home video that my best friend and I made, just the two of us. They were very impressed with my editing and that I could re create the story line with just two people! Sara, we are the bomb  I will be editing a lot of their recordings because they use the same editing program that I used. So, they were impressed with that! Then I was pitching ideas for TV shorts that have to do with Ghanaian ways of livings, but adding a comical twist to them. It was easy for me to give ideas because everything here is different and all fresh in my mind! And it is easy for me to notice what the Ghanaian culture makes frenzy over! If any of them get made into a digital short or anything, I will share them with you! A documentary of theirs is getting put onto a national channel here, and I helped them edit it today! They are also in the process of making commercials for an audition they have coming up, so I get to help with creating the commercials and help at the auditions! I really lucked out! They also said that if they make a skit that involves a white girl, I could play the part! I will also be teaching the junior group with acting exercises. So, I will get to work with six year olds! I’m excited about that! Here is their website if you want to check it out: www.kboatengacademy.com

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Canning really does exsist!

So, today in my first period class, math(s), a man with a skinny stick starts walking past my classroom with an angry look on his face. He came to my class and started yelling to the class because no one swept the hall way. The boarders were supposed to. He told all the boarders to go into the hall and then he yelled at them, then started hitting them with the stick!! He hit them on their hands, legs, and butt. I wanted to go out there and and take the stick from the man and hit him! An eye for an eye! I was so disturbed by it. The classrooms are set up as one long hallway, and then class rooms off the one side of the hallway. There are shutters on both sides of the classrooms to allow a cross breeze to come through. So, when the man canned pretty much all the girls, I could see and hear everything perfectly. My jaw dropped to the floor and my eyes were wide open. The math teacher (this completely awkward little guy haha) came over because he saw my reaction, and he said to me "don't worry, you will never get hit", and I was thinking in my head, NO ONE should be getting hit!!! Then the girls came back, some crying. I felt so bad. I've heard that they cane people here, but I didn't believe it! Now I do. I would just like to make it clear: CANNING IS STILL UTILIZED AS A MODERN PUNISHMENT.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I’m Christian now? Wait, what just happened?!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL….not at all what I expected…I got the culture shock that I asked for…let me tell you that. Let me back up. I’ll explain my day. I wake up at 6:30am so that I can leave the house by 7:00am and get to school by 7:15am. The gates lock at 7:15, so I have to walk fast. Then I get to the school and I see some one that is in my class walking to class as well (I went to school for a couple days last week to meet my classmates and find my classes). So, I’m walking to my class room and all of the boarding students are doing their chores i.e. sweeping, raking, scrubbing, dusting, etc. (the boarders wake up at 5am everyday to do chores…). Then I get to my classroom and some of the students are there already, they all greet me! They are all extremely nice and welcoming! But every single person told me that my uniform was too big and that I need to iron it. I was getting tired of hearing it. It’s not like I could do anything at that moment. Then they told me to take of my necklace. My necklace is small, but it has names on it: mom, dad, aidan, kellen, alec, sara, and sunny. And when I had to take it off, I almost broke down crying. I felt like I was officially giving up my life in Seattle. It was early and all the attention was on me, and ya. I was just stressed. But everyone was just being nice and welcoming me and cluing me in! Then we had to go to Morning Assembly (this happens every morning for 30 minutes before classes start (school starts at 8 and ends at 2:20)) and everyone lined up according to grade. They put me in form 2, so all of the older kids boss the younger ones around. If a from 4 girl tells a form 2 girl to “shut up and come here”, that form 2 girl better get over there! The older students can hit the younger students AND make them do chores! Anyways, during the assembly there was a preacher, and he was saying that god is good, and that we live through God and stuff. I don’t have a religion so I was just going along with it. Then when I got back to class, the teacher decided to not show up (the teachers live on campus…how do they not show up?) so all of the students were asking me: do you have a bible? What religion do you follow? Do you know how to pray? Do you even pray? Where do you go to church? Do you know the story of Adam and Eve? Do you pray when you wake up/go to bed/get food? And all of these questions. I said no to all of them of course haha. They were shocked! They didn’t even believe me! I thought I had lost all of my friends at that moment, they were disgusted with me. They thought I was going to hell. Then they all offered to give me their bible because I need “help” and God brought me here for a reason…I did not take it! I said “oh no! I can’t take your bible! I would feel so bad!”. But in the end, some girl gave me her ‘A Prayer a Day’ book…the class made me read scripts from the bible, out loud. Then they made me summarize what I had just read…WHAT IS THIS!! THIS IS SCHOOL! NOT BIBLE STUDY! Then they asked me if I listen to Kanye or Beyonce or any of those singers, and of course I do! They said “you are worshiping the devil by listening to that kind of music”…OMG. Then they said that if I don’t pray, then I won’t wake up the next day…hey, I have been good for almost 17 years…I’m still waking up every single morning. Even if I don’t want to. I’m not against religion at all; I’m completely respectful towards it! If someone wants to believe in God, then go for it! I will watch. But this one little girl (she’s 15, but tiny) comes and sits next to me and wants to pray. She held my hands and told me to close my eyes and repeat what she says…sketchy huh? After 5 min, she says “You are now converted to Christianity”. I WAS IN COMPLETE SHOCK!!!!!!!!!!!! This kid just scammed me into a religion! Now everyone only talks about religion to me and reads stuff out of the bible and tells me what to say. They even wrote me a thing that I’m supposed to say when I go to bed and wake up. When they asked me the next day if I read it, I lied and said I did, I’m definitely going to hell. But the thing is how I can go to hell if I don’t believe it! Then they asked how man was born, I said “from an evolution of the species of apes over billions of years”, WHY WOULD I SAY THAT! I should have just said “God loves”, and I could have saved myself from a 30 min lecture on how man is here and what not. Why won’t the Teachers show up! But some teachers did show up, and the classes that were taught that day were: Science, English, general living, and history. They have a block schedule, so the classes change each day. One thing I noticed about what they learn is that the schools don’t teach them about the world, just Ghana in itself. And every lesson is backed with a moral. These kids have no idea what a geyser is, because they don’t have them in Ghana. They don’t know where Denmark is, because it is “irrelevant”. They don’t know about cultures in other countries, because they don’t have the same culture in Ghana. And the English class is basically a bible with spelling mistakes that the students need to correct i.e. is the “g” in god capitalized? The school is a cult!! And I’m the devil that needs to be reborn and saved! Everyone is trying to help me because they all want to go to heaven. Everyone also wants me to go back to Seattle and convert everyone, and go to church. That is NOT going to happen! I’m not going to force someone to change! All of the girls and guys look the same because the hair has to be less than ½ a centimeter long. So, everyone is bald pretty much. The only ways you can distinguish a guy from a girl are the clothes or earrings. There is no creativity or individualism at this school. The students sleep, do shores, go to “school”, eat, do chores, “study”, bathe, then go to bed. Then, today at school, I had one class, math. And the teacher came late. We spent 50 min learning how to subtract, and then divide that answer by 2…i.e. 45-44=1. Now ½=0.5…it was so frustrating! And I wasn’t taking notes on it because it was so simple! Then the teacher kept asking if I were confused…and I just kept saying “no sir”, a million times. Then we had a 35 minute break, we have 3 throughout the day. Then we had an “opening assembly”, which means too many teachers didn’t come to school today, so they have a 3-4 hour assembly consisting of gospel songs, holy songs, church choir songs, readings from the bible, and announcements from the headmistress. By the way, stealing, lying, cheating, raping, disrespecting your teachers, and breaking the school rules are bad. Just in case that wasn’t logic to the everyday person, I just clued you in. Late in the day a famous soccer player came to the school, everyone went crazy. I had goose bumps from the shrills. It was exciting though! He went to this school, so he came to share his stories with us. Also, when a teacher comes into the classroom, the students must stand up until they tell you to sit. And when they call on you, you must stand up from your seat to answer the question, with your left hand behind you. The left hand is disrespectful here. By the way, the food is really good! They have like a mini market strip, and you can get whatever you want! And the cooked food is all homemade! Yesterday I had Ghanaian fried rice. And today I had a Ghanaian spring roll. The food is really good, and they make it in front of you. Only the day school kids can get food at the strip, the boarders need to eat in the dining hall. But we all just eat in the classroom. I get plantain chips every day, they are the best! But anyways, sorry the form of this really long blog. It is really messy thrown in with some random tidbits. There is just so much going through my mind that I just kept writing. I hope this makes sense…haha if you have any questions, go ahead and ask! After reading this, don’t think that I hate school or Christians or anything. I’m having a great time here, and I am just completely shocked that people are THAT religious, and that religion is practiced in school, and that there is no world view. Love and miss you all!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Written Language? I don't think so...

So, here in Ghana I have learned that there is not a written way of communicating. Mostly everyone can NOT read or write! Ghana's cultural dialect, Twi, is not officially recorded anywhere. To teach their children Twi, they created something called "Pigeon". It is the mix between Twi and English. English is the official language because Ghana used to be a British colony.

You know how texting lingo, you just shorten words or use numbers as words? Well, Ghanaians just text as they hear the words. That is the reason why technology is not as advanced. Because typing what you want to find in the Google search box is impossible! Because they don't know how to spell! Crazy!!

Friday, January 22, 2010


So, I officially start school on Monday, but I have been there the past two days to get my classes set up and get my books ready. My school has 2,000 kids in it and 75% of them are boarders, the other 25% (including me) just go to day school. The school campus is huge! There are two cafeterias, all set up with yummy Ghanaian food. There are certain buildings for certain subjects. At this school, there are different ‘majors’ that you would test into. There are math, science, language, literature, and the vocational arts (which include home economics and visual arts). I heard that the science and math subjects are extremely boring, so I decided to do something more hands on and something that relates more to the culture. Therefore, I chose home economics. They put me in form 2, which has the equivalence of a sophomore In the USA. When they showed me around, they showed me the model home, where they teach students how to clean the house and make the beds and what not. And then they showed me the sewing room, where you learn the science of textures and then sew. Then they showed me the food and nutrition room. Here they explain the different methods of cooking and I will also learn how to cook Ghanaian meals! I will be focusing on food and nutrition. I am really excited! I will also be taking a science class, PE class, math class, home cleaning class, and some abbreviated classes that I don’t understand. When I was introduced to my class today, I was swarmed by 32 school girls grabbing me and wanting me to sit next to them! They have all told me their names 50 times, but I feel bad that I can’t remember them! They all ask me “I’m your best friend, right?” haha, and I say “Of course!!”. They also asked me if I have been to East High (the high school in High School Musical…)!! I told them that the school exists but the school is not real, it is just a movie. They also can’t wait to see me in my school uniform; they think it will be hilarious to see a white girl in their uniform. I am the only white person there. Everyone is so nice! The staff and students! They all talk to me in Twi, and I have no idea what they are saying. I’m excited to be a full time student again on Monday! Their semester started 3 weeks ago, so I have a lot to learn!!
Also, I am so happy I know French. All the neighboring countries speak French, so a lot of the merchants only speak French. So, I have actually gotten a lot of practice! And all of the shampoos and stuff I buy in the legit grocery stores are in French. So I know what I am buying. And when I speak French, it is exciting and respectful. So, why not!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I don't know what the title should be...

So, today Kuma (my host dad/brother) was at work, so I hung out with Valerie, Kuma's friend. She works from home and goes into La Bone to visit her shop. She works at a clothing store. Everything is hand made and hand dyed, it's cool! Then I went out on my own for the first time to try to find flip flops (or as they call them "slippers"). I'm so stupid, I only packed one pair of flip flops. This one guy tried to get me to pay 35cedi for a pair! I told him I would give him 5cedi. He didn't go for it. But my bargaining skills paid off when I bought a painting thing. I was proud of myself. I was proposed to today. This guy loves me. I passed him a couple of times and he says "Celea!! I love you!!", I just say "ok, I have to go..." haha. He made me a bracelet. He saw me later and asked where it was (because I was not wearing it). I felt bad. Haha. It's a fun town! very busy and exciting. I feel very safe walking around alone. I'm going salsa dancing later with Kuma and Valerie and their friends, should be fun! and embarrassing!

Everyone was in a good mood today because Ghana won the "football" match last night! I watch so much soccer...yay. The world cup is coming up!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shocking but pretty AWESOME!

Accra and Ghana is so cool! I've been adjusting to so many different things! Even looking out my window is completely different. Here are some things that I keep remembering...

1.We went to church on Sunday, it was 2.5 hours long...I have never been to a church service before, so it was very different. There was a lot of standing, kneeling, praying, and sitting. I just followed what the locals were doing. Everyone stared because I am white, but I'm used to it now. People take pictures, and I just smile. I just go along with it. It is the best way to deal with stuff. When they call me Oboni (in twi:white person) you just smile and say hi. People here are just curious and want to meet you.

2.The water safety and other health concerns are kind of a joke. You cant control anything. I take my malaria medicine, and that's all I do. People laugh if they see you wearing sunscreen or putting bug spray on. The water is of course is a concern, but "You adapt to it". I use it to brush my teeth and wash my hands, it's not a HUGE deal. The stuff I bought in America can't control half of the things that I am warned about. I.e. the city is dusty. Not smoggy, but legit dust in the air. It gets in my eyes and in my throat. And if you leave your clothes out to dry, it can cause infections on your skin, due from the dust and sweat mixed together. But I'm not really worried.

3.The electricity goes off unexpectedly. The power just shuts off...it's kinda fun though, it's like a surprise! It turns on eventually, apparently they are shutting off the power in Accra from 8am to 5pm one of these days. I don't know haha

4.The food is different. It's not terrible. But I NEED sugar and salt. They don't use either ingredient in their food. I usually eat rice, chicken, seafood, vegetables, noodles...all topped with a SPICY sauce. I don't like spicy food...YET!

5.Everything you buy on the streets comes out of a Pouch. Water, ice cream, milk, etc. It's fun! You just bite off the corner and suck it out haha

6.Every guy wants to marry you. I am white and somewhat blond, paired with blue eyes. I just greet them, and tell them I have to go. They leave me alone if I talk to them for a couple of minutes.

7.Language Barrier and accent is very difficult to understand. I am learning Twi, it is exciting! French is spoken here and is on a lot of signs and buildings, and there is a guy who is Belgium French, so we have talked a little. I love french.

8.There are "nick-names" for everyone depending on what day they are born. I was born on Monday, so my name is Ajoua. If a Ghanaian asks what your name is, and you give them your Ghanaian name, they are very impressed! Except...one time I was talking to these little village kids that were watching me, and I said "Me din de Ajoua! Bra!" = "my name is Monday, come over here!". But the 'j' in my name sounded like 'sh', which changed the word to "prostitute"......now I know why they ran away............

9.The weather is HOT. And it changes every day. But is always hot. I'm ok with it though. I would rather sweat than shiver. My wish came true. It is extremely humid here.

10.The drivers are CRAZY. There are no rules and people drive on the side walks. The stop lights don't work, and when they do, they are optional. It's kind of fun, but kind of scary. I'm pretty sure our bus hit the car in front of it, and they just yelled at each other from their seats then drove off.

11.There is no water pressure. The shower just drizzles. It makes showers annoying, but I'm getting used to it. Also, the nozzle for the toilet is on the opposite side, so that trips me up haha

12.The music is fun! There is some American music mixed in, but for the most part, it is techno-contemporary.

14.EVERYTHING is dirt cheap here. I'm going to get a nice church dress made for me soon. I choose the fabric the style and everything about it! I can even get matching shoes! all for 25 dollars! "couture!!"

15.There is no such thing as time here. We are constantly late, like 2 hours late. To everything. It's normal, but it bothers me and stresses me out. I'm always early. This will be a bad habit...

16.Ghanaian s have ZERO patience. They don't follow rules either. They rush to everything, and don't like people blocking the way, but they walked annoyingly slow, it's very confusing. They only time I saw order and patience was at church.

17.People apparently aren't registered. And there is not a "data system" like in America. People don't have forms, registrations, or proofs of purchase. They speak English, but their culture is oral, not written. They expect foreigners to be smarter technologically and critically.

18.Ghana is 'phase 3'...phase 1 is America or Europe, phase 2 is Asia, and phase 3/4 is Africa...which means that Ghana is not up to quality. But people from phase 1 say that about phase 3 countries...so of course they are going to say that Ghana is in trouble! I think it is fine. If people grew up this way, they would know no different and think their country is just fine. It's just the way of life.

Anyways, this is long, and I need to get going, I'll update you the next time I find internet! By the way, they have wifi here, so, it's not the most undeveloped country in the world. I don't want to proof read this...I'm lazy and uncomfortably sweaty, I need to walk around. So, I apologize for grammatical errors! Until then!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New York Orientation

So, today after a 4 or 5 hour flight I arrived in New York! I had instructions to 1. Claim my luggage and 2. Head to the AirTrain and catch a shuttle to the hotel. Ya..these instructions were not as straight forward as they sound...It took me 45 minutes to get to the shuttle center...lol. But a girl with yellow tags on her bags was waiting there, so I knew I wasn't alone! Then as we were looking for New York City, we realized we were in Queens haha, fun stuff! Then we got our room assignments and chilled out. My roommate hadn't shown up yet. Then 45 min later, Amy opens the door! She is a junior also, and lives in Idaho, and will also be going to Ghana! Then as the rest of the group arrived (10 of us total. 5 to Portugal. 5 to Ghana.) Then we just did orientation stuff i.e.lectures, safety tips, preparation activities etc...

Then we all just got to know each other! Everyone is very nice! But everyone has an accent except Amy, me, and this one guy from West Seattle haha. It's amusing! Everyone else is from New York, Chicago, and Texas. There are two girls in my group that are doing community service in Ghana. They will be assistant teachers at primary schools, and living with a teacher for the semester. The one girl lives near me in Accra, so I might stop by one day and check out the school and the little kids!

Well, That's what I did today! Not too exciting, just familiarizing myself with people and customs! Tomorrow is going to be a long day with "work". That's what our AFS volunteer said..haha. Then we are all heading out to our final destinations! Our orientation in Accra is supposed to be a lot of fun! We are going to take tours and see landmarks, I'm really excited! Then after a couple of days, I will start school! Much more to come!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looking Forward

My name is Celea and I reside in the greater Seattle area. I am a junior in high school, and in a few days I will be on a plane to Ghana for the semester through the organization, AFS. I chose to send myself 7,354 miles away from home to explore this country for its community, language, and all there is to learn that comes with its culture. I plan to gain knowledge and appreciation in the people that I meet, experience the many different cultures, become fearless to foreign foods, and make life long friends. I am most excited to attend a local school and experience the difference in education and teaching style. Most people think that I am going to school in a hut...I assure you that I am not. My new school looks very exciting, equipped with computers, uniforms, activities, sports, clubs, and a strict list of do's and don't's. It should be very different from my Blue Ribbon High School, but I have a feeling this school will be just as enriching. I can not wait to start my adventure! I will become extremely saddened as the next few days go by, but once I'm on that plane, I am going! This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am ready to take it on!

To my friends and family: I will miss and love you all!

Until next time!