Working, Helping, and Getting the Water Working By Brooke McDermott
The first time, the lady that helped us went to put the head pan on my head but I was confused so she just handed it to me. The second time I brought it over on my head, it was a lot of fun. Then all of the girls went to the school to be a part of the Days for Girls program. So we were in a class with all the girls where they learned about feminine things and were provide with things to cope with troubles. We started dancing with them it was so much fun. Then we went back to the worksite for lunch. I blessed the food and then we ate.
After lunch we finished painting and sanding the building we have been working on at the clinic. When I went to take a break and get some water, I started playing with the kids, talking to them and showing them games like Miss Mary Mac. I made a handshake with a little girl. We also taught them to dab. It was so cute and fun. It was hard leaving them they were so sad. Then we got on the bus and went into town to get hats. I was cool walking through the streets. After that we went back to camp and the water was fixed. Hallelujah. We all took showers.
So Many New Friends... By Anna BakerThis morning our day started out at 5:55 am with a devotion organized by the Smith family. We sang together and listened to beautiful inspirational bible verses. Then I blessed the meal and we had eggs, toast, and oatmeal. After breakfast, Amanda, Brooke, Emmanuella, and I got the days for Girls suitcases from my room and put them on the bus. Then we headed off to the worksite. At the worksite, there were several jobs which needed to be done. There was cement to be mixed to fill the holes in the building, gravel to be spread, dirt to sift into sand, and painting to be done on the building.
This morning I worked on spreading the gravel around in front of the clinic especially in the areas where we had removed the rocks (from a collapsed wall) the day before. The gravel we’re using is really interesting. Here the soil is very rich in iron, so often while digging or just walking around you’ll come across an abnormal rock with chucks of a reddish orange metallic looking substance. It appears that the workers collected the rocks that they found like that while digging, so we can now use them as gravel. After spreading gravel for a while I took a break with Amanda to sit and have some water. There were 2 young girls who were standing a few feet away from us.
We all had a lot of fun learning new words in each other’s languages. We had to say goodbye to the girls in order to leave for Days for Girls. The Days for Girls experience was not what I expected. I had expected to be able to be able to be able to help the woman from Days for Girls Ghana, or at least take part in the distribution. After about 2 years working on the days for girls project, what I looked most forward to was seeing their faces when they received the kits. The woman from Days for Girls did a wonderful job working with the girls there, the majority of whom said they use grass when they don’t have access to sanitary pads.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do any of what I had hoped. I was told to merely observe, although the woman from Ghana said she would appreciate my help for a demonstration. Moreover, the rest of the girls on the trip had to go back to the worksite to have lunch. Although some of the chaperones were able to stay I was told I had to return to the worksite as well. So after all the time working on this project, all the time I had dreamed of handing over those kits and all the exhausting travel to get here to Ghana, I couldn’t even be there for the distribution, that was extremely upsetting for me.
Although I understand that the chaperones are trying to keep all the kids together. After that, we went back to the worksite. We painted the building until about 2:30 pm. Then we got the back into the bus and left. One of the better things that happened today was that we stopped to buy hats made out of grass by some craftsman. They were sold in the Tamale market, a bustling place full of great variety of stands. Then we came back to where we are staying and by some sort of miracle the majority of our showers were working.
Once we were all clean, we spent some time talking on the porch and others played baseball (using a stick they found as a bat). Now it’s around dinner time (most likely chicken and rice), so I’ll go. Hoping all’s well back home,
Kids So Glad to See Us! By Kiarra Davenport
Slowly the YAMs are starting to work off their sleepiness. I used sand paper to clean the walls of the building. That was relaxing. I painted the doors, shoveled rocks into barrel and I crushed bigger rocks for fun. I felt like I accomplished so much this morning. Now its time for lunch. We had beef, sauce, and our favorite …Rice! It was really good but it’s sad to eat or waste food in front of the poor families . After lunch, it was time for the YAMs to visit a school and work with the kids. As we pulled up in the bus, the kids excitedly ran to the windows to wave to us. That made my day. I’ve never seen children so happy to participate in a after school program with foreigners.
My group to work with was 2nd grade consisted of John, Wodley, Arielle and myself. Our group was amazing. The kids loved us. They sang their school song to us and we taught the Itsy, Bitsy Spider. The kids were so excited about that song. Then we drew and colored a dashiki-like shirt and a shoe. The kids asked me to write the word “shirt” on their drawing because it was in script. They really like my handwriting. Sadly it was time to leave these lovely, beautiful and amazing children. I took a picture with them and their drawings. I was upset to say goodbye but it was time for a new adventure.
I Can Deal with It... By Jacob LeeToday we were up at 5:15. The breakfast was the same toast, omelet, and oatmeal. We drove to the airport. Everyone was sleeping on the bus. When we got there, there was good wifi at one area and none at the rest of the airport. We finally got on the plane at 10:45 and left at 11:00. The plane had a lot of turbulence and I couldn’t sleep.
Once we got off at 11:51 we drove to the mall where we ate lunch. All the kids got burgers. The lunch was very expensive. After that we drove to the shops on the streets. Everyone got gifts for family and themselves. I got a bag and a bracelet for myself. The rest are for my family. After that we got to our new hotel. It wasn’t that nice, but I can deal with it. We had dinner and went to bed.
The Roads and Markets of Ghana By Jonathan Logan
The highlight of my evening was the ride to Winneba. The congestion amongst the streets mixed with the fast paced selling of goods and the commotion on the side streets came together as a portrait of the struggle. The faces and bodies dripping of sweat showed signs of a strenuous day. The make shift stands and bonfires provided the darkness a simple form of calm just being in the midst of the daily lives of so many individuals is festered a greater sense of appreciation for everything that is back home.
Discovering a Sense of Identity By Emmanuella SayiToday our day began at 7:30 am and we took off into a day we hoped would be filled with good times and memories to last a lifetime. Our first destination …Elmina Castle. Before arriving I didn’t know what to expect but had high hopes that my life would forever be changed for the best. In school we learn about the slave trade, Triangular trade route, Atlantic Pacific trade route and many other trade routes in which commodities and natural resources are exchanged.
We learn all of these things but yet one question never asked is are we retaining the information given to us? Does it make us question our identity? Do we strive to discover who we are? Truthfully many, including myself would tell you, no. We move from day to day without a sense of identity. Many slaves held in this castle were stripped of their identities and became no one and yet we find it hard for us to want to know who we are, which can easily be attained if we search hard enough. At the Elmina castle I saw firsthand the remnants of my people though not physically with my own two eyes I saw the anguish of a race as their forgotten sound ever present and notable in each crevice and marble laid out in the castle.
Though their bones are a part of this earth, their story will never be forgotten because their story has and will continue to shape mine. Through this experience, I’ve taken to heart the notion of knowing your roots because without a steady foundation, the structure we built upon a rocky foundation cannot withstand the pressure of time. Also along my journey today, I met many friends today at the high school we attended after a very emotional rollercoaster that I felt all the YAMs encountered today. At the high school we had an amazing time. We danced the Azonto with Ghana kids and were able to ask thought provoking questions. In finality, I would just like to express how amazing these few days have been and hope for the best tomorrow.
A Big Reality Check By Justine SaundersToday we woke up at 5:00 am and made it to breakfast by 6:00am. After breakfast we went on our way to Elmina Castle. Something I was very excited and grateful to be a part of. Once at the castle it was a very emotional experience to be able to actually stand in the place where many of our ancestors possible passed through. It was kind of a reality check of me because as a people we came so far and we take so much for granted especially how we treat each other with many derogatory terms that we have taken from those days and made it part of our common language. After such an enlightening and emotional morning.
We headed over to Elmina Beach Resort Hotel where we relaxed and unwound by beach with a beautiful lunch spread and we just spent the afternoon enjoying each other’s company. Then to end our day outside we went to a high school and played basketball, volleyball and danced with the high school kids. Then we got to ask them questions and they got to ask us questions, but we really connected when we got up on stage to dance together. Then we end the night around the table with a very intense conversation about the many things we saw at Elmina and the high school. To officially end the night we had sad/glad time, which put a smile on everyone’s face.
A Home Away from Home By Ava PatinoWell then. I guess this is goodbye. Goodbye to this red notebook, and the writing in it. And to the blue pen black pen debate and to really awesome things. Mostly goodbye to Ghana. That’s what this blog is about, right? Because its our last day here and then we’ll be gone and who knows when we’re coming back. So here we go. We went to church this morning, and I wore one of my new dresses I bought at the market. It’s yellow and blue, and has a ruffle at the top.
The Church, as we walked up the road, was tiled mosaic and looked cheerful. On the inside, the people were too so it seemed fitting. And goodness that church. The people were singing and dancing, and the songs ran from one to another, an orchestra of joy and praise; at being alive and being together and being under God I suppose. Even without being able to understand most of what was said it was infectious. And then we went home. We changed into our swimsuits; and got on the bus to go to the beach.
On our way, we eagerly raced a rainstorm and silently begged it leave us be for a little while longer. Then we swam, and drank bitter coconut milk, at least I, not for the taste but for the very notion that I was drinking coconut, on a beach in Ghana. And then we swam some more. After being conned out of pineapple by sneaky adults we once again returned home. Home. It’s funny I’ve used that to describe this place at least twice in this blog, and its been entirely coincidental.
But really that’s what this trip, and these people have created for me. A home. A place where things may be a little crazy and slightly dysfunctional, but a place also where I truly belong. So goodbye Ghana, but you couldn’t pay me a zillion cidies to say goodbye to my home and for that I am forever grateful.