I Dream Of Billy Goats?

So I recently had a flashback a few weeks ago of an experience I had in Haiti that scared the bajesus out of me. So about twelve years ago I went to Haiti with my mom and siblings to visit family. We went to visit my late uncle in Fompaisien with my other uncle. When we got to my late uncle’s land, the first thing I noticed was that there were goats everywhere. They even played security in front of the outhouse! Now, me being a fragile eight year old, I was thoroughly petrified that one person could own all these animals. When my bladder decided to be on its worse behavior, I had to be escorted into the outhouse with a personal bodyguard. Clearly at that point I was ready to go.

So when we finally did leave, guess who decided to join us for the long ride back to Port-Au-Prince. (If you didn’t guess a bound and gagged goat, you clearly need to start using your context clues.) So yes, we rode all the way back home with a kicking and screaming goat in the back trunk of my uncle’s station wagon.

So now you’re wondering what the hell this story has to do with me, twelve years later, in Ghana. Could you believe that over three thousand miles away, I witnessed a kidnapped cow, kicking and screaming in the back seat of a Taxi! I mean seriously? A Taxi? On the Gorge Walker Bush Motorway? And the funny part was that I was the only person shaking my head at the unfiltered Deja Vu. Then we take a trip to the country side and, you guessed it, we came back with a little goat, wailing the entire car ride.

The connection I feel to Haiti while in Ghana is sometimes surreal. But these small tokens of culture will always follow me as good memories.

Meet Billy The Ghanaian Goat

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Are You M.A.D!

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It’s officially been almost five weeks since I boarded a plane in the scorching heat of Miami International, to land in the inferno that is the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana. Since I’ve been here, many things have surprisingly not shocked me as much as I thought they would. For instance, baby goats and dogs running into and slowing down traffic seems more obvious than out of place for me. The struggle to effectively transition from bottled to bagged water is no longer a daunting task. And most importantly, figuring out whether the Cho Cho drivers are going your way is no longer an impossible transition.

So far, I’ve been back and forth from the place I am staying to the school that I can tell when we will be late due to traffic, and when we will finally arrive at the school. Due to the congestion in the morning, we are unable to catch the student’s in their morning assemblies, but the more interesting sights always occur during class time.

I am a teacher’s aid for Madame Abigail, the class 2 teacher. Her student’s range from about seven, to twelve years of age. Because the students are placed in classes by their knowledge and not by age, it is interesting to see the dynamic between the students themselves, because the older students surely don’t shy away from pretending to be the Madame of the class.

When we depart from classes at the end of the school day, that’s when the real fun begins. The Creative Writing Program that I initiated at Mawuvio has been three weeks strong. The students have learned how to craft cunning stories with important morals and lessons to be learned. This week we have been editing some of the stories that they have written, giving them feedback on how to improve their characters, dialogue, and overall storyline.

We are now in the process of finding grants that can help publish the students’ work ounce all of it has been edited, rewritten, and completed as a final draft. The student’s are really excited to have their work in a tangible medium, and the proceeds we would get from donations and hopeful sales of the book would help the students during their big move to the boarding school that is due to be complete by the start of the next school session, which will most likely be late August, mid September.

Aside from the weekday hustle with the kids, during the weekends we have managed to go out and see the colorful town of Accra and Osu. We are hoping to make it out to Cape Coast, a place that will surely be a one of a kind experience.

With my belly full off of Jollof Rice, Waakye, and Banku with Okro Stew, this city is probably not ready for the splash of creativity I want to leave when I depart.

Banku and Okro Stew Part 1

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Banku and Okro Stew Part 2     20140626_124439

Waakye, Fish and Plantains

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Airports Are For Suckers!!!

First and foremost I would like to say that the adventures have already begun. I arrived at Miami International with two obese suitcases that caused me to buy a $75 carry on. Printing out my boarding pass at the kiosk wasn’t an option because my debit card would of course be on it’s worse behavior today.

Getting on the plane was a breeze, and with a near empty flight, it was pretty descent for economy. The funniest part was Donae losing what I will refer to as her plane-ginity. From figuring out when the plane would actually leave  the runway, to speedily chewing gum to keep our ears from popping, it has already been a very amusing start. Looking out the window is no longer an option because the sun is flying with us to Ghana.

So the second half of our journey to Africa took us into the New York Jungle. That is where we were hustled for tip money by an overly anxious Nigerian worker, and turning up in the shuttle to JFK with the cab driver. Walking into the international check in area and seeing an officer with a riffle in hand was when i knew that I was leaving the United States for the next two months.

Boarding the plane with over 200 people wasn’t half as bad as stuffing disgusting airplane food down our throats to keep from starving. But the prison like food, and the neck cramps from improperly resting our heads on the mini TVs in front if us was not a seemingly unbearable as it was to convince ourselves that sleeping at a school would be better than sleeping in a home, with running water, and mosquito protection. Long story short, the manufactured air that mimics our western comforts is where we will call home, for now.

I don’t know what adventures and stores lie ahead for me, but with God and the address to the US embassy, I’m anxious to uncover what’s in store.

Going To Ghana!

I cannot explain how overly excited I am with the opportunity to travel to Accra, Ghana This Summer. This entire semester has been so exciting, from the travel award I received along with my Global Scholar acceptance, to the fiasco that is buying plane tickets, hunting down doctors that carry the Yellow Fever Vaccine, to the blank stares I get from people when I tell them that I’m traveling to Africa for the summer. If that wasn’t a river of adventures in itself, we all also got to experience booking thousand dollar flights, rereading lists of precautions that should have veered us away from traveling so far, yet still made us eager to see how long we could last in a new environment. I personally am overjoyed that we were all able to sit in class each week, learning how to make ourselves better people, capable of making a real difference while we’re at our internships and thereafter. I know that when I get back from Ghana, I will have significantly grown as an individual, and I can’t wait for my flight to take me off into a journey of a lifetime.