Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the West African Breezes

Hey everyone!
Time goes by so quickly, but as the same time soo slowly. The days, weeks and months roll by at a running pace but the minutes and moments of each day stroll along, taking their time, making sure not to rush (for it is far too hot here in Ghana to rush anywhere).
My time seems to get shorter and shorter as I realize how many months have already flew by. Final exams will be coming before I know it and in lieu of travelling and volunteering every chance I get, I might actually have to do some hardcore studying. (I know, who actually studies at school right?) But 2 weekends ago I visited Togo. It was SO nice to speak French again. Life was getting so boring speaking English everyday. It was definitely an adventure being everyone's interpreter, though a bit exhausting at times I must admit. (I can only explain so many times that my friend is "married" and isn't interested in marrying her persistant african suitors and that her "husband" in the US wouldn't like it too much if she married one of them haha)
Anytime I don't have class (and even sometimes when I do) I've been going to teach in a village about 10 minutes away from campus called Kisseman. One of the ISEP exchange students from last semester that stayed for this semester started an outreach program/make-shift school for the children in the village who do not go to school either because their parents can't pay their school fees to send them to school or their parents are not their or otherwise. We basically meet on someone's back porch and use donated materials and student volunteers to teach them. The children are of all ages and learning levels from 2-13 (which obviously makes it difficult to teach them all at the same time on a back porch with volunteer teachers...) but it is so nice to help them. We try to have a nice variety in subject matter...a lil science, a lil reading, math, art and music. But most of the time we just try and keep them under control long enough to teach them something haha.

here is the link of my latest photo updates


and here are all of my pictures before coming to Ghana

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ahhh the Volta Region

I must apologize for my lack of blogging skills, and also for the lack of internet in Ghana.
Things here are just slow paced, including any sort of internet connection that one would want to benefit from to connect to the outside world :)
It is nice though to have things slow down a little bit.
It is funny though because this weekend, a friend (my old roomie, before we both switched so that we could have Ghanaain roommates) and I traveled to the Volta Region this weekend where we climbed the highest mountain in West Africa Mount Afedzeto. And although Ghanaians like to really slowly while going to class or any other destination, when they happen to be climbing up a very steep mountain they pretty much just run up it. And by the way, the trails in the U.S. meander and zig zag a little bit to get to the eventual destination at the top, but not in Ghana, no no. Its just straight up, "get 'er done" style right up the mountain....THE WHOLE TIME. Haha
That same day, in the afternoon, we climbed what was I swear the second tallest mountain in West Africa, to get to the upper Wli Falls, the highest waterfall in West Africa. Both of which were SO worth the climb. We pretty much had a magestic waterfall all to ourselves. And it sounds cheesy, but it really was magical!
(me on top of the mountain...very sweaty)
We were going to go to Togo but realized it would be better to plan more in advance and get our visas., switch our money etc. before leaving, so I will need to go either next weekend (which is Independance Day for Ghana) or the next weekend to renew my visa.
We started in Keta where we stayed the night right next to the beach, with a great view of the full moon on the ocean. I really love just putting my feet in the sand and having the waves wash over them, and then digging my feet even deeper into the sand the next time the wave comes. We sat and talked in a little fishing boat/canoe that was just on the sand next to the water for awhile and ate dinner before leaving at 5:30 in the morning to head up on our waterfall chasing adventure. Unfortunately when we got there, because it is the dry season, that particular waterfall had dried up and is only active during the rainy season, but we went on a little hike in the rain forest anyway (and by little hike of course I mean super steep crazy trail that had to have a rope to hold on to because it is too steep to walk normally..)
We then moved on to Hohoe where we stayed with a very kind reverend and his family and headed off to climb mountains and search for waterfalls. It was quite the enchanting weekend full of tender mercies and sweet adventures. We ate tons of bread and groundnut paste (peanut butter with no sugar..) and we found some honey in the first town we went to, so that was nice to mix it up a lil'.
On the way home we went to the mall and splurged on some cheese and french bread for dinner. (which was delicious!)

(a few weekends before this I went to the Volta region but didn't go to Keta (the beach place), the Mountain or the Upper Falls, so I had to come back. But the first time I saw other awesome things too. I stayed with my friend in his family's village and got to go his cousin's wedding and meet his family, see how village life is like etc. I fed the monkeys bananas at the monkey sanctuary and swam in the Volta river, rode on a motorcycle up to the waterfalls..pretty much took lots of tro-tro rides :D but it was fun)