Saturday, August 9, 2008

My very last post

What an adventure it has been! I don't even know where to begin in this post. It really hasn't hit me that tomorrow I will be leaving Ghana. Yesterday I had to say my goodbyes to the kids and that sucked majorly! I have gotten used to seeing them every day and being there to comfort them when they're crying or laugh with them when they're happy. There are definitely things I am going to miss in Ghana but maybe a few things that I'm not going to miss so much....

Things I'll miss

1. The kids!
2. All the other volunteers and meeting new people.
3. Cheap transportation
4. Jollof Rice
5. Walking everywhere
6. Hearing "obruni" everywhere I go
7. The friendly people
8. Melody, Tina, Gloria, Gilbert, and Annie (the people who cook for us at the compound)
9. Back packing through Ghana
11. The relaxed pace of life
12. Bucket showers
13. Hissing at people (It's now a bad habit of mine)

Things I won't miss

1. The hassle of getting a taxi
2. Bargaining for everything!
3. Open sewage
4. B.O.
5. Yams
6. Hand washing laundry

Some most memorable experiences while here
  • Trying the local foods, Kenkey is the worst! Banku isn't too bad and Omo Tuo is my favorite.
  • Backpacking all the way up to Northern Ghana. We planned it and executed it all on our own and it was an adventure I will surely never forget.
  • The 2 adoptions that I got to see. Adoptions are very rare and these were the only two I've heard of since I've been here.
  • Peeing on the side of the road just like the locals :) It's great to be a guy
  • Going to the beach with the little ones.
  • Getting Kwame (the brand new orphan) to come out of his shell.

These are just a very few of the most memorable experiences. I'm excited to go home but at the same time I know I'm going to want to go back asap! I have to jump right into the swing of things and the fast passed life which I'm not too excited about. But hopefully, with any lucky, I will be able to take the lessons I've learned here and apply them to my life back home and be a better person because of them.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Two of my kids have been adopted with less than a week apart! The first to go was Tsulee (pronounced Choo lee) He was definitely one of my favorites. He always wanted to play and loved the attention he got. Whenever I would say "Let's go home!" Tsulee would run up to me and say "Auntie Taylah, your bag! Your bag!" reminding me not to forget my bag. He was also a very intelligent kid who picked up a lot of new English words since I've been here. I don't know where he went because I was on my trip when he was adopted, but I really hope he is in a good home that is able to provide for him all the things he needs and deserves. He is such a great kid and I know he is going to do great things in his life time. The second kid to go was Kelvin. Kelvin was a definite favorite of the aunties and us volunteers. We found out he was being adopted when we were changing the kids out of their school clothes into play clothes. The aunties all of a sudden got very happy and excited, I asked why and they said "Abroad! Kelvin is going abroad!" Abroad in this case meant England and what a great little british boy Kelvin is going to make. He is such a little helper around the orphanage. I think this is why he was such a favorite of the aunties. He also stuck up for the smaller and weaker kids. I'm going to miss Kelvin saying "Auntie Taylah, le'go home" Kelvin was kid that I would go to if I didn't know a child's name or if I needed to know where they were. I could just say "Kelvin, where is _____?" and he would make sure that we went out and found them. I am so excited that these two boys finally got a break in life. There is an irreplacable hole in the orphanage. Work definitely isn't the same without these two. I miss them already.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My last Monday in Africa :(

I can't believe it has finally come, my last week. What a weird feeling it is that next week at this time I will be home in the hustle and bustle of every day life. I can't believe how fast the time has flown by. I have had the best time and experience since I've been here. I owe so much to the kids for teaching me so much about life, love, fun, and happiness. I know that the lessons they have taught me will be with me forever. I wouldn't trade my time here for anything in this world! I expect that this week will go by as fast or faster than every other week since I've been here. From hearing from other volunteers who have already gone home, I know that it's going to be a weird adjustment coming home. I will take some getting used to driving my own car, sleeping under no mosquito net, doing laundry in a washing machine (I can't wait to do this) and eating normal food. I know I'm going to miss and be thinking about the kids constantly! Hopefully I can take what I've learned here and apply it in my own community with the opportunities I've been given there. I know that there are kids who need love and attention in America just as much as the ones here in Africa. That's another thing that is going to take some getting used to.......white children..... haha. It will be weird walking down the road and not hearing small children yelling out OBRUNI! OBRUNI! OBRUNI CO CO! (the co co part means red and is always directed towards me because of my African sun burns:)) I am excited to get home and see everyone and finally be clean. I definitely have bitter sweet feelings about it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Mole Adventure

What a crazy adventure! There is no way I can describe all of it in this one post. Here are a few journal excerpts.

7-28-08 Day 43

All of today was spent on a bus. The 10 hour bus ride from Accra to Tamale turned into a 12 hour bus ride. My butt was not happy with that by the time we arrived in Tamale. The ride wasn't all bad though. It was very cool to see the extreme differences between southern and northern Ghana. Northern Ghana is A LOT more rural. We passed countless small villages made up of sticks and mud. The people are also darker here in northern Ghana. Unlike southern Ghana which is predominantly christian, northern Ghana is predominantly Muslim. There were a lot of men wearing long dress looking things and funny hats on their heads. A lot of people would wear black eyeliner around their eyes. Men, women, and children all wore this eyeliner. I'm not sure if it is a tribal thing or just a cosmetic custom.....

7-29-08 Day 44

We started our day at 3:30 AM today. We had to catch a bus to take us from Tamale to Larabanga which is right outside the park. We went to the station where one of the big orange Metro Mass buses would take us to Larabanga. We spoke with a guy there and he said that it would probably be hard to get tickets since we didn't book them the day before. The same guy told us he could take us to a different bus which could also take us to Larabanga. The walk to this mysterious bus station was extremely sketchy! It was pitch black and not a nice part of town (There weren't really any nice parts in Tamale) As we were walking I saw some people running a ways ahead of us. Our guide stopped walking and had a cautious/worried look on his face. I saw one of the men running and carrying a big machete. Our guide told us that it was a thief, the tone in which he told us this made it seem like it was an every day occurrence. We changed our route a bit and headed to the bus station. The bus there was not nearly as nice as the metro mass bus which isn't even that nice. We boarded the sketchy bus which could fit about 30 people uncomfortably, 25 people comfortably. The seats were hard and the horn sounded like a train horn but I figured it was only a couple hours drive so I could manage. A couple hours turned into 5 hours. The road was paved for about the first hour then we got to the dirt roads. At the beginning of the dirt road was also the first place that we picked up people from the small village there. We were stopped there for 45 minutes just waiting for all the people and their various items to get packed into the bus. It was CROWDED! We got underway and continued along this dirt road going about 50 MPH on this very bumpy and dusty road. WE continued to pick up people from the small villages along the way and the bus got fuller and fuller. Just as you thought that they would not possibly pack even more people onto this rolling steel death trap we would pull over and load in more and more people. The smell of the people and their various market items was absolutely foul. There were at least 50 people on this bus by now. We finally got to Larabanga which was a small and interesting town. We put our stuff down at the Salia Brothers' Guest Houses which are made up of clay and stick huts. Then we took a tour of the oldest Mosque in Ghana, built in 1421. After a well needed nap we woke up in time to go to the National Park. There we saw baboons and whit ox (warthog looking things) walking all over the Mole Motel grounds. The walking safari started at 3:30 and we saw elephants right off the bat. It was AMAZING! There were 2 of them and they were eating. It was cool to see and hear them ripping off entire branches of leaves. They didn't even seem to mind us watching them at all. After they walked away we kept walking through the park and saw lots of different animals. We saw Bushbucks, white ox, these striped barking deer things (they really barked like dogs!) and a lot of other cool animals. After the tour we ate dinner and went to bed with our alarms set for 3:30 the next morning.

7-30-08 Day 45

We had to go on the treacherous bus ride again this morning. We were on the orange Metro mass buses but they were still packed way beyond maximum capacity. It was raining really hard and there was lightning which would light up the entire early morning sky. As it rained more and more the roads got slicker and slicker but this did not slow down our driver. I was drifting off to sleep when our bus fishtailed out of control coming within inches of hitting the dirt banks and tipping over. After we finished sliding around we continued at the same speed we were going before. It was truly a miracle that we didn't tip over. We finally made our way to Kumasi (about an 8 hour journey) which is the second biggest city in Ghana with Accra being the first. I loved Kumasi! We went to where they weave the beautiful kente cloths. It was really cool to see them in action as they weaved intricate designs into the cloths. After dinner that night all of the sleep deprivation and our schedule of 1 meal a day caught up to me and I got a little sick :(

7-31-08 Day 46

We left Kumasi at around 6:00 this morning and had a surprisingly tolerable bus ride to Accra. I didn't get sick on the bus and I even got to sleep a bit. The ride was about 5 hours from Kumasi to Accra......Despite all the time and pain in the buses I had a good trip. On the previous page of this journal there is a quote which reads "[B]less not only the road but the bumps on the road. They are all part of the higher journey." ~ Julia Cameron. This quote is highly applicable to my trip. It was a great experience and every bump, both literally and figuratively, contributed to the excitement and adventure of the trip. I miss my kids terribly and can't wait to go back to work. What ever am I going to do when I have to leave them forever??? :(