I am on the internet for the second time since arriving in Legon, Ghana! Everything moves just a little slower here, especially the internet- but, I am not mad about it. It is actually really liberating.
I do not know where to start. I have already made some incredible friends in my program, Teresa, Brook, Lorca, Sam, and Emily- all from different states. Then our other great friend is Yuki, from Tokyo. Then there's Prince and Kwame from Ghana, and well many more Ghanaian friends, too. My roommate's name is Adwoa, she is from Cape Coast. She is a French major, and I already love her.
The most different thing here is probably the transportation. I think through using it and getting used to it is where my confidence needs much improvement. We ride on large vans called trotros. They are about 30 peswas, which is a little less than 30 American cents, for one way. It is tricky to understand the mate who yells out of the window where the trotro is headed. Although Ghana is an english speaking country, Ghanaian english is often difficult to understand with their heavy accents and mixed in native language of Twi. But, it is so wonderful, too.
My two favorite things we have done thus far have been going to Kokrobite Beach, probably the most beautiful place I have ever been, and going to our friend Afiba's cousin's engagement ceremony and wedding. First, Kokrobite was incredible. Picture this, there were beautiful African huts lining the beach, handcrafted endless row of uniquely fabricated fishing boats, with fishermen sitting on them hand knitting their own nets, and gorgeous African children running around, unconditionally happy. Not to mention the huge turquouise waves and salty scent all around. Amazing.
Our friend Afiba invited us to her cousin's engagement. How it works here is the man and woman agree to get married and then arrange an engagement date, which is basically a ceremony at a family member's house where they receive the family's blessing to become man and wife. I will try and post pictures on here eventually. Then the wedding is the following day. The greatest thing about the wedding was that it was basically a celebration throughout the netire ceremony. Celebrating the love for each other and the love of the Lord. What could be better? My favorite part was the unveiling. The pastor gives the command to the man to remove her veil, and he does so ever so slowly. As though taunting her, as to say, I have waited for this day longer than my memory allows me to recall. Oh, the language of love- transgressing cultural boundaries.
The coolest everyday thing here, that I hope I never forget to remember is the women carrying the goods on their heads. It is unbelievable. The craziest item I have seen someone carry on their head was a refrigerator. Not just on flat ground, they carried it up TWO flights of stairs. Wow.
Right now I am sitting in an internet cafe. It is 11:45 am here, and 6:45am in the states. I just had to drop a history course that I don't need. Classes have "started," but it's really lax here, becasue you physically walk to each department to sign up for classes, so many professors do not show up to class until the second or third week of classes. So, after this I am meeting some friends to eat fufu for lunch. A traditional food, I am not sure what all is in it, but you eat it with your right hand. It is unacceptable to use your left hand here, especially when meeting people.
After lunch, I am meeting up with a girl Renee, from Iowa, to go to Kissima Village to teach some children there. Most of the kids in the village are not able to attend school. So, we give them lessons on the front porch of a man named Kwame, who was an orphan himself and only completed school up to 8th grade. The most difficult thing about volunteering, is choosing where to place my time. As always, so much to do, so little time.
My week ahead, I hope to go observe at some local schools. I need to make some contact with ohter possible volunteer opportunties, as well. Wedensday we're going to Salsa night with our Ghanain friend, Max. Then porbably ut to raegae night on La Barde Beach after. Then Thursday we're going to the beach with our friends Afiba, Abecca and Caroline, then Friday we're celebrating our friend Brook's birthday! Yahoo
God is showing me so many incredible things. Everywhere I look, is a different something to thank him for, or another reason the depend on Him. I am constantly analyzing the people around me, taking into accoutn cultural differences, trying to love them well, yet being concious of how different we may be, and how their language of love is spoken versus mine. Yet, how reassuring it is and beautiful that people are people. We all long for deep relationships and to love and be loved. How amazing it is that we have a sovereign Lord, that when we go across the world, people know his name, and share the same love for each other that he gives to us freely and without condition. This place is beautiful. There is so much brokenness everywhere, it is almost too easy to accept it as commonplace, it can be so overwhelming, yet the love people have here, and the community is so powerful. Bird by bird.
I have to run to get some fufu :)
Know that you are in my prayers. I love you, Allison, Julia, and Carolyn. I will be in touch as much as I can. I will try and write soon again. Hugs from Africa!