Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh Lordy its hot!!!

I know I know internet twice in one week?!?! It just so happens that we walked to town to go to market so I stopped by the internet too. I am sitting in the internet cafe if you can even call it that. It is a shack with computers bigger than ive ever seen. Honestly I dont know how the internet even connects here but this is Africa so I cant complain. Today is hot. I have no idea how hot but by guessing from the amount of sweat rolling down my back I would say its somewhere between 800,000 and a million. Its humid too. Yum, swaety and sticky and no escape....my favorite. Not much has happened since I last wrote but I feel bad about not writing for almost two weeks so hopefully this makes up for it.

My days are still the same, this last weekend when we went to Accra I got sick on the tro tro ride home but thankfully I was only carsick. Everyone else here has been deathly sick lately but somehow Melissa and I are just fine. Well generally speaking we are fine, I have heat rash covering almost my whole body and with the malaria medication im on im supposed to stay out of the sun.....any suggestions for avoiding sun while in Africa would be wonderful because I cant seem to escape it!

Dora is wonderful as always, she slept for almost 3 hours today which is a new record! I had Captian again last night to sleep with me and this time the poop stayed in the diaper until morning!! I was overjoyed! I must have woken up a million times to reach over and make sure we were both dry. That little boy is a heater at night and here in Ghana that is the LAST thing I need at night! He is such a good sleeper and snuggle bunny, I would sweat all night for him.

I think I mentioned something about us having premature twins here, A boy and a girl, who were born almost 5 weeks ago and have been at the orphanage since they were one day old. Well I am sad to report that Kwame, the little boy died on Sunday. We were all shocked to hear this because he had just been to the doctor on Friday and said he was okay. I guess he was being fed and started vomiting and then stopped breathing. I think he must have choked or something. Its very sad because they are the only family to eachother that they will probably ever know. Its weird when someone dies here they go pay for a burial certificate and thats that. Nobody asks how, or why or even comes to make sure the person is actually dead. They just buried him in the bushes. Its very sad.

Funerals for older people are such a big deal here!!! Its morbid if you ask me. They hang posters of the person all over town saying EVERY detail about their live and family and when the funeral will be. Everyone dresses in black and red and they have a huge party. It is like nothing ive ever seen! People dancing and singing and screaming. They then all get in their cars and tro tro and drive up and down the one road in our village honking and screaming and banging sticks and things on the side of the car with the music blaring. They must pass through town at least 100 times. Our village, Bawjiase is mind you only about a mile long if that. Oh and they do it all hours of the night too! Interesting.

Today at market i bought some fabric to make pants with! I bought two yards for 3 Ghana cedi and I can get pants tailored to my body for 5 Ghana cedi! One Ghana Cedi is almost exactly one US dollar. What a steal!

I think thats it for me here at this internet cafe I have found. I will be interested to see if this even posts! Ha! I hope everyone is safe happy and healthy!
Love you all!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Update from the obrunis!!!!

Oh my lord has it really been almost two weeks since i last wrote?!?! Time flies when youre having fun! We made it to Ghana without a bump in the road. Emmanuel was at the airport waiting for us when we got off the plane. We got stuck in traffic in Accra for about an hour an a half until we finally hit the open road. Emmanuel was telling us how the truck had just broken down earlier in the week and on some of those hills I wasnt sure we were going to see the other side but sure enough we made it to Lucky Store (The compound where we stay) Everyone was so excited to see Melissa! It was great how welcoming all the volunteers were. When we arrived there were 2 Canadian 1 other American 4 Germans and 1 from The UK. We got settled in and hit the hay because it was by that time 11pm. The next morning we woke up early had a quick breakfast and headed to the orphanage. Melissa could hardly stand the walk there because she was so excited to see Lucky! Sure enough Mommy Nurse had him waiting for her. He has grown but is still little. We walked up and Mommy Nurse handed me a baby and off we went to tour the school and orphanage. I was so suprised to see how many kids remembered Melissa. They kept asking where Rebekah was too! It was great.

Last Saturday we took a group of kids to the beach. We rented a tro tro which is like a minivan that stops anywhere on the road and takes you places. Its their way of public transportation I guess. Imagine this; A ford windstar van aboout 30 years old, the sliding doors dont close all the way and 23 of us piled in it. Thats right I looked at everyone like they were insane when the tro tro pulled up and the driver expected ALL of us to get in! We had 8 people on the back bench that was meant for 3 people! Safety is totally out of the question when youre in a tro tro. Anyway we made it and had a great time playing with the kids in the water and on the beach and headed back after a long day.

My everyday life is so simple. I wake up eat breakfast at 8:00 head to the orphanage and play with the babies while the older kids are in school then I head back to Lucky Store for lunch, go back for more playing and then dinner at 6. The only thing that is scheduled is the times we eat. Volunteering is not what most people expect. The volunteers pretty much run their own show, we can do pretty much whatever we want when we want to beacuse we are the ones that bring the money. Its kinda sad but thats the way it is.

Dora Dora Dora. Thats all I can say. She is the 4 month old baby girl that has stolen my heart. She is healthy and happy and has the sweetest smile in the entire world. I have her with me all day. She just goes where I go and is for the most part a pretty easy going baby. She has had an ear infection the last few days so they have been kinda rough. At fouir months old she fits perfectly into the newborn clothes we bought at the market for some twins that were premature and are one month old. I have never seen babies as tiny as them. Even the premie clothes we bought swallow up their little tiny bodies.

It has been so much fun getting to know the kids. Its now hard for me to imagine my life without them. They all know my name and I know most of theirs. Its amazing how different they all really are. A part of me aches for them because I want so bad for them to have what I have had growing up but another part of me is so thankful for them being happy with what they have. I honestly dont know how im going to leave this place. Someone will have to drag me kicking and screaming im sure. Everynight after dinner we go over and the second we walk to the orphanage there are 20 kids hanging on every part of our bodies.

Bawjiase is the village that we live in. Every Tuesday and Friday are market days so we went to the Bawjiase one last Friday and the Kasoa one which is about a half hour tro tro ride away last tuesday. The markets are very overwhelming! People screaming and yelling at you beacuse you are the only obruni there and they think you have millions of dollars or just want to touch you! Its crazy, people stare at us where ever we go. Everyone is so friendly and just wants to talk to you. Walking down the street we usually have kids following us yelling at us or wanting to touch our hands yelling "Obruni! Obruni!" I feel like a celebrity but it gets really old really fast.

Today Melissa and I traveled to Accra to eat something other than yams which I now have a passionate hate for. We have been feeling very well and havent gotten sick at all but it seems within the past few days the other volunteers have been deathly sick. Were crossing our fingers and holding our breath that we dont get it next! Im excited about coming to town today because Melissa says that there is a flush toliet where we will eat lunch!!!!!!! What a luxury!!! Our bathroom really isnt that bad, the hot hot days are worse than just the hot days because of the smell but I have gotten quite used to it. The pipes in the shower work sometimes but even then it is a slow trickle of water coming straight from the well and we have to be very careful not to get any of it in our mouths. When the pipe is not working we fetch water from the well and bathe out of a bucket. All laundry is done by hand which really isnt that bad. My worst experience was when I had Captain a 18 month old stay the night with me and I woke up in a puddle of poop that was not sloid in the slightest manner! Ive gotten used to having poop and pee and spit up on me from Dora but waking up in poop and then having to bathe Captian and hand wash my stuff was not a fun task!

Yesterday I took three 11 year old boys with me to the market because I didnt want to go alone and its helpful to have a translator when your buying things. I took Morris, Atta, and Fi Fi. Everything was going great until we walked by a man that said that Morris had hit his bag or something as we walked by. I had no idea what he was saying but he started following us and yelling at the boys. I had no idea what he was saying and the boys said he was saying he was going to slap them! It was the only time I have been afraid since being in Ghana. I had three boys and a poor young obruni was in charge of them and I had this older guys chashing us. I was shouting at the guy to go away and leave us alone and by my reaction I had a sawrm of people helping me and getting the man away from us. I think I ran into the one sour apple in the whole village. Oh well.

Our time is almost up but I do promise to wrtie more! It seems almost impossible to put everything here into words but we are safe, happy and healthy! I hope all is well back home! Until next time!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ireland, Ireland, Ireland!

Hello again from Ireland! This time I am writing from Belfast which is the capital of Northern Ireland. I wanted to write a little about our whole time here in Ireland so here it goes. We arrived last Wednesday morning around 8 am after a longgggg night sleeping in the airport in Belgium. It was rainy and cold but we were so excited to be out of Brussels. We then got on a double decker bus that was also drove on the right side of the bus on the wromg side of the road! That was a pretty wild ride being that the streets in Dublin are hardly wide enough for a compact car to fit through. We made it to the bus station and right around the corner was our hostel. We dropped our bags and headed out on the town. We walked in the pouring rain all day but saw some incredible things such as Trinity College, St. Patricks Cathedral, and Christ Church Cathedral. There was so much history in all of them I was in awe. They were so beautiful. We then headed out to lunch at a pub and back to the hostel for regrouping. Later we toured the Guinness storehouse and had such a ball! I never thought I liked Guinness until I got my free pint at the end of the tour in the gravity bar. The gravity bar must be about 10 stories up with glass completly around it. We had the most beautiful veiw of Dublin and some really tasty beer. We then went to Temple Bar which is an area of town and then we actually went to THE Temple Bar and had such a great time. It was so sureal being in Ireland in a pub with a live band playing traditional Irish music, my most favorite part of all was when the band played Galway Girl live! It was incredible! The next morning we headed off to get our rental car. Once again the four of us with our huge packs on our backs walking down the street had to be a sight for sore eyes but Ive gotten used to the stares from locals looking at us like were insane. It was so crazy to have a car to our own and a place we could call home for two days straight! Noah did a more than amazing job driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the street for two days straight. It was so weird to sit in the passenger seat because I felt like I should be doing something!

We drove down to Limerick and had a great lunch at a cafe and hit the road again until we made it to Killarney which is south of Dublin and about a 3 and a half hour drive. Once in Killarney we headed off to the Ring of Kerry which is a long scenic drive around the most beautiful part of Ireland. By the time we started on the ring we had already been in the car for so long and if you know Melissa and I, we were carsick. It was still a beautiful drive but after almost 9 hours in the car I was ready to get out.

The next morning we headed through Killarney which is a small town but my favorite one ive been to in the world! Everything is very well kept up and clean and the people there are wonderful. We then went to Blarney and visited the Blarney Castle and Blarney stone. We all kissed the stone and I shall forever more be elloquent! We'll see. The Castle was amazing! It was soooo old and to think people actually lived there hundreds of years ago left me speechless. We then headed back to Dublin and out for another pint of scrumptous Guinness before heading to bed. The next morning Anna and Noah left us for Spain at 5 in the morning. We were so sad to see them go. We all had the time of our lives together but we had to goour separate ways. We thought we had that last hostel room to ourselves and we were so excited because privacy is unheard of. Well right after Anna and Noah left at about 6 am two BIG women in I would say their 30's came stumbling in shouting and hollering. Not more than 10 minutes after they calmed down the fire alarm went off, which mind you was about 6 inches from my ear with me being on the top bunk. It went on then off then back on again. This lasted for a good 20 minutes and I just figured if I really needed to wake up because of an emergency, someone would come get us, hopefully. After morning Melissa and I couldnt get out of there fast enough. We even skipped our free breakfast. More on that later. We hopped a bus to Belfast and when we arrived we were sure we were in the wrong town. This was suppiosed to be a big city and everything and I mean everything was closed. We both instantly felt homesick and lonely. I guess it is some sort of holiday this weekend so everything closes. Great. We were hungry and went in search for some food. Everything was closed except for trusty old McDonalds. We forced our food down and did laundry for the fisrt time at the hostel. It was like christmas morning when everything came out of the dryer!! Clean clothes, what a luxury!! One more time off to McDonalds for dinner. Yes McDonalds twice in one day.....my stomach has been making me oay for it ever since. Today we went ona tour bus to A rope bridge, the oldest whiskey distillery in the world and then to the Giants Causeway. It was all so beautiful and amazing but I think we are ready to leave Belfast and get back to a town that is functioning. Tonight dinner looks like its coming from the vending machiene.

I am pleased to report that we have not been bitten by bed bugs in the past few nights, thanks to spraying bug spray all over our beds everynight. I have learned to sleep pretty much anywhere and through anything. Hostel life is not ideal. We usually share with anywhere between 2 and 14 other people. I cant complain because its cheap. Most of the hostels offer breakfast in the mornings which is interesting. We found that in Holland most of the breakfasts consisted of Cheese, bread, lunch meat style ham,and coffee. Here in Ireland it seems to be more like sodabread and jam. Meals have been okay. Its hard to eat well when youre on a beans and rice budget but we are doing fine.

Melissa and I are well for the most part. I have been having stomach issues since day one. Thanks Dad! Im just hoping that once we get to Ghana im feeling better. I know I know wishful thinking. Dad, we saw the most Dinosaur food plants I have ever seen in my life!! They had a whole garden full at the Blarney Castle! Its so cool looking....we thought of you the whole time and got pictures for you! I am missing everybody very much back home, but I know I am so lucky to be able to have this experience. I am very excited to get to Ghana and stay in one place for more than a night. It will be so nice to set up shop somewhere.

Tomorrow morning we will hop a bus back to Dublin. We saw a store that sold sheets for really cheap so we are going to do some shopping for Ghana there and then we fly back to Amsterdam on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday morning we wake up and back on an airplane but this time to our final destination of GHANA!! Traveling like this takes more out of you than I ever imagined but life really couldnt get any better. I will leave Ireland but I know I will leave a piece of my heart behind because I have a true love for the country. I know ill be back.

Thats all I really have for now and im actually not certain anybody is reading this so I will go for now! My love to everybody!! I miss you all so dearly!
Cheers from Ireland!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I finally have some time to write and a keyboard in english that makes life oh so simple! We are in Dublin Ireland today, and oh boy is it amazing! Amsterdam was great, everything that you can imagine seeing and doing there we did it. The weather was great the first two days and then so so from then on. My favorite part was the Anne Frank house. It was crazy to think that we were in the actual house she hid out in. Such a powerful museum. So Amsterdam was great, expensive but great. We walked EVERYWHERE and spent the majority of the time figuring how to get from point A to B. Boy am I glad Ryan Air had a 35 lb weight limit on us or I would have to have a back replacement by the time I got home. At the Airport I checked in at 34 lbs and now im somewhere around 39 lbs. Weird. We have only stayed in one place for more than one night once and it was a campground. Joy. It was really nice if we had planned on going camping, but we didnt. Oh well it was better than sleeping at the airport like we did last night! That was interesting. I think we all walked away with a good 25 minutes of sleep last night after laying the entire contents of our packs for padding to sleep on. Brussels is officially on my list of cities to never visit again. There was hardly a thingt to do there and everybody spoke french. We even had a hard time ordering food because we were afriad of what we might get. The waffles are good. We decided they eat them as more of a snack than a meal, they are filled with a cinnamon sugar type filling and serve them piping hot! YUM! After paying an arm and a leg we ate two pieces of Belgium chocolate and spent the rest of the day trying to find the bus that would take us out of that stinky dirty place.

Now on to IRELAND! It is more amazing than I ever could have imagined! Our flight got in at 8am and we have all already fallen in love. Ireland is wet. We have been rained on all day long. Soaking wet. Im not just talking showers here and there, im talking all the time. It is still so beautiful. We walked around all day today looking at castles and churches. There is so much history here that it could quite possibly make your head explode. The people here are wonderful and so helpful and it helps that they have the cutest accents I have eevr heard!We ate lunch at a pub today and it was everything you could have imagined an irish pub to be. Totally lived up to my expectations. Tonight we are off to tour the guiness store house and im almost positive im not spelling that right but im sure you know what im talking about. We will leave early tomorrow to get our rental car and head down south to Killarney and Cork the next day! I cant wait, Im sure I have only gotten a little taste of what Ireland is like so im so excited! Oh one negative thing about all this traveling is the stupid bedbugs. They are gross. You dont see them but we all have bites and figure since there are no bugs in the air it must be from our beds. gross i know. We are all wondering where we thought we were going when we packed because we have been freezing! Melissa and I had to buy new swaetshirts and sweatpants just to get by. I think by the end of the trip they will be walking themselves all over town! Its so gross not being able to put on clean clothes but whats a girl to do? We tried to handwash some things and we totally underestimated how long it would take to dry. We ended up with mildew smells and wet clothes, exactly what I like to put on after getting out of a nice bed full of bed bugs! Either way we are cold and wet but everyone is well and everyone is still happy and thankful to be here. My time is almost up so I must go. I hope to not get so far behind next time but internet seems to be few and far between when youre on the run like us! I love you all! Cheers!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Hello! Oh my I dont know where to start! first off this keyboard is like nothing i have ever used before and the letters are all over the place so bear with me. Our first day in amsterdam was perfect! the weather was beautiful. I need to make this post short because just to write this much has taken 10 minutes! We are now in Brussels Belgium at the train station. Tonight we make our way to the Charleroi aiport where we will stay the night which should be interesting. Tomorrow morning we fly to Dublin Ireland! I promise to write more details of what we have been doing soon! Time is short and people are waiting! We are all well and everything is great! Until next time.......

Thursday, July 3, 2008


We made it! We are now in the hostel and getting ready to go out on the town for some dinner and fun. It is 8:30 pm local time. I dont have much time to write but wanted to let you all know all is well and we made it safe! I have some stories already but no time to write....until next time

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Tomorrow our flight leaves from Portland at 4:10pm!! Melissa is in the air as I type! I cant wait to see her on Thursday! We are on NWA flight 92 if you want to track us. Next time I write I will be in EUROPE!! Until next time.....