Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our First Week Feb. 13 - 20, 2010

So where to start……..

Life here is moment to moment, in the street and with an easy pace to match the weather. The humidity is so beautiful along with the people, the palm trees and the sweetest mangoes I have ever tasted. As Terry said, we were spoiled that first week at the hotel with all our meals cooked for us and a pool to jump into to keep cool. I became Dezmond’s swimming teacher and by week’s end he was able to keep up with the other kids in the pool, even swimming and jumping into the deep end unassisted.

One of the VSO volunteers from India got me then to teach her the Breast stroke (quite hilarious, me a swim instructor, hee, hee). I did manage to improve my stroke though. I have decided that hotel pools are definitely the right size for my style of swimming.

Our first Sunday (Feb 14) was overcast which was a blessing and it allowed us to leave “the compound”/the hotel and venture on a tro tro (public transport here – rickety old, run down mini vans) to central Accra for an eye opening look at the beach the locals use downtown. Everywhere we went people smiled and practiced their English on us. A group of beautiful young girls (one carrying her baby nephew on her back) engaged with us and toured us through a shanty town which led to their beach. Since it was our first day, we were unsure whether or not we could trust these girls in this extremely unfamiliar and dodgy part of town. A young man joined the girls and tried to entice us into a little bar where they have “drumming and dancing lessons” for Canadians and Americans. We went with our gut instincts following the girls, leaving him behind. The girls then informed us that he was a “thief” and to stay away from him. We never felt threatened, but it was good to have this experience early on to remind us to remain aware.. All our subsequent experiences with locals have been nothing but positive, proving that what the books say about safety and friendly welcome in Ghana/Accra is true. The beach was packed with locals, cows, horses, goats, and garbage. In spite of this it was a beautiful sight. They were all so happy to be there each in their own way. These were the shanty dwellers and we stood out like sore thumbs. We thanked the girls and found our own way back, happy to get a taxi back to the hotel for some air con and pool action.

We had amazing Ghanaian food paid for by VSO while we stayed at the hotel. It was always a buffet with many choices some western, but mostly some spicy local cuisine – yummy.

Our week at the hotel also consisted of language lessons with Terry, which was great. The locals love it when we practice our Twi on them. Lilianna especially gets the smiles. Josephine was super proficient at writing all our new language down. Besides the pool, Terry and I managed to do some early morning runs which were a great way to explore and get a workout. The humidity makes it nice, so that the heat is bearable to run in………….it helps too that I love to sweat. Got lost a couple times coming very close to having to grab a taxi after 1 hour of running, but managed to find my way back by asking many people for directions. One thing about Ghanaians we have learned is that they don’t like to admit that they don’t know something and they have no concept of distance, so you can get many different answers when asking for directions.

No comments:

Post a Comment