Friday, August 15, 2008

Home again, home again

Hello all! After over 24 hours of travel we made it back home safe! Leaving was hard and I wasnt ready at all but now that im here I can see how much my outlook on life has changed and how much I have changed as a person. In a good way of course! 

Our last days were spent with the children, we went to the beach again on Sunday with 40 children and volunteers. We had a blast and rented two tro tros for the ride there. We all left with sunburns and heat rash but the kids had a ball! Its so fun to see pure joy on their faces. For these kids going to the beach means getting a day off work, which they never get. I cant imagine working as hard or as much as they do and they are all under the age of 14! Tuesday I ad a group of boys take us into the forest. It was so much fun its so jungle like and huge! It was very hot and humid but the kids wanted to climb up on top of this huge gill to show me so we did. Here i was thinking I was going to die of heat stroke and my feet hurt then I looked down and realized that half of them werent even wearing shoes! Their feet are tougher than leather I swear! I had a few huge fire ants crawl up my pants and down my socks and bit me a few times good and hard but we made it out alive. Those kids know their way around there so well it amazes me. Half the time there was no trail and we were in bushes taller than I am but the kids still knew where we were. Our last day I took my last walk into town to check on our flight and check the orphanage mail at the post office. Morris and Joseph went with me which was really nice to spend some time alone with them without the babies running around at our feet. When we got back to the orphanage we had lunch and packed up and then it was time to say our goodbyes. Thankfully Dora was tired so I rocked her to sleep for her afternoon nap and kissed her goodbye. I dont know if I could have done it if she was awake. We said goodbye to the kids and some of our closer kids walked us back and flagged down our tro tro for us. The girls danced and sang for us as we were leaving and everybody was waving at the driveway until we were no longer in sight. The drive to the airport was very quiet and long. I was thinking of any excuse I could come up with to not get on that plane. 

Im still very tired and in a different time zone but I know I will manage to get back to reality sooner than later. I miss Ghana and my kids with every bit of my being. I promised I would be back. I have to go back.

I will try and post some of my favorite pictures so you all can finally see what I have been talking about! Thats it for now....I need to catch up with my family before they leave for Hawaii tomorrow morning!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Letter from Ghana

here I am at the internet cafe again. Slow slow slow. Im going to apologize in advance for any misspellings because I can hardly make out the words on the monitor let alone see what I am typing! I think the monitor is older than I am. Hope you get the jist of all this anyhow.

At the moment Melissa is dreadfully sick. She has had a headache for about four days and joint aches and hasnt slept well in a few nights but last night it got way worse. Today she got out of bed just long enough to see the nurse at the orphanage and went straight back to bed before their conversation could even begin. Thankfully we are living with two women who just graduated med school and have been watching her close. We dont think its malaria because she doesnt have a fever but we might go to the hospital tomorrow and do labs just in case if shes not feeling any better but I think thats the last thing any of us want to do. She is in good hands and everyone is taking very good care of her, so dad please dont worry. I have had Lucky and Dora all day today. It seems since weve been here everybody just assumes that Lucky and Dora will be taken care of all day! I wonder when im supposed to rest? That is something i will never understand about Ghanaians. Today went well but im pretty tired. They weighed all the babies today and Dora and Lucky both gained since last month!!! Dora at 5 months old is at a whopping 5.5 kilograms and Lucky at a year and a half is at 8.3 kilograms!!! I havent the slightest clue what that is in pounds. Maybe when I get home it will be figured out.

I have always sworn to everybody that Washington Mutual is the best bank in the world and I have refused to change my accounts even when I worked elsewhere. I have now found their downfall....WAMU uses Mastercard. Ghana uses Visa. See the problem? We read in a travel book that we found that Mastercard was next to useless here. Great. We found ONE mastercard ATM which happens to be the only one withing 300 miles of us and the day we traveled and hour and a half to go to it, it was out of service. Great. Thankfully we have a canadian couple who is here with us and they are lending us money or we would be broke as a joke!!! Thanks WAMU, Thanks Mastercard. I think I will write them when I have a better internet connection. Oh well.

I dont know how im going to leave. The thought makes my heart ache. I thought it would be easy to stay uninvolved in the children and not get attached but boy was I wrong. Every one of them is so different from the next. I came here expecting to teach them about the world and help them but they have taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I feel like they are all my children and most of all my friends. They all know my name and come running when they see us walking up. They go and get Dora for me and call me Doras mother before I even ask where she is. The ladies who work there and dont speak a lick of english call me Doras mother and are so happy to see us. How do you say goodbye to so many friends that you dont know when you will see again? Im worried the next volunteers wont know dora like I do and wont know when she starts clicking her tounge shes tired, or gets really bad heat rash when you dont lift up her rolls and wash under her chin. Oh im going to miss my chunky monkey so much!!! I cant wait to show her off to everybody!! I will be okay, I always am but I will be back. I have to come back.

On the plus side i excited to spend time with my Grandpa who is visiting from Hawaii when I get back! It will be soooo nice to see him!

Thats it for now!

Doras mother

Sunday, August 3, 2008

10 days left...

Hello again! We are back in Accra today for some lunch at Frankies and a visit to the market. The tro tro ride here was pretty uneventful, I was hoping I would have something exciting to share. Life in Ghana is wonderful as always. I cant believe we only have 10 days left. That cant be true! Ive been dreaming almost everynight that I leave to go back home and forget to say goodbye to everybody. It is the worst feeling in the world then I open my eyes and see my mosquito net over my bed and thank my lucky stars it was just a dream. Oh boy I dont think ill ever be ready to leave.

Dora is wonderful. I wish I could post some pictures but all the computers here have viruses and I really dont want that sort of thing so I guess it will have to wait until we get home.....but dont worry we have tons! Dora is the happiest baby I have ever known. We walked all the way to the post office and back the other day which is about an hour total and she didnt make a peep. She just hung out watched the cars and the people then fell asleep as we were walking up our driveway. Im convinced we have the only driveway in the whole village. Everybody else lives in huts on the side of the street. Its insane the way life works here.

Ghanaians dont sleep. I usually dont sleep either so in theory Ghana would be the perfect place for me right?? Well since we started our trip I have been in bed almost every night by 9:00 I am so tired! People here go to bed around 1:00am and wake up at 4:00am. No joke. I asked Dennis who is a teacher when she sleeps and thats what he said. Not to mention on their cell phones they get free minutes after 3:00am so thats when they make all their calls. Yes our neighbors that talk on the phone right outside our window talk at that time too.

The food here is different. I dont know how else to explain it. The majority of everymeal is a huge portion of carbs. Breakfast is always bread with maybe egg or oatmeal, lunch and dinner consist of either plantains and beans, fried rice, rice balls, fried yam, cooked yam, pasta noodles, and fufu. Thats it. Fufu is such a treat for people here but I dont get whats so great about it. Its cooked plantain and yam mashed together with a pounding stick and turns into a big gooey almost dough like ball which you then pour soup over and eat with your fingers on your right hand. Its not easy to make, its takes almost all afternoon and a lot of hard work but they seem to have a system down somehow to make it work. I could never do it.

The craziest thing is kids taking care of kids. Not a day or even an hour goes by where you dont see a baby on a young girls back. The girls are not any older than 8 years old and play with the other kids or do chores with a baby on their back! Its amazing. Whenever we have to leave and we have a baby in our hands the young kids come up and take them and feed them and change them. Its so different than anything ive seen.

Last night we had Lucky all night. He did pretty well and around 6:30 this morning I woke up with him so Melissa could get some sleep. I went to change his poopy diaper and in the second it took me to grab a new diaper he had pooped all over the table! This may be too much information but the kids here dont have solid poop in the slightest manner because of their diets. I moved him to a different table and while I was moving him he pooped again! This time all over my feet, the floor and my clothes. I dont know what it is about me and these children but something about me makes their bodily fluids pour out! This doesnt happen to anyone else but me! The joke is now oh Ali who pooped on you today? Or who puked on you this time? Its horrible!!! I honestly dont mind too much. What can you do?

My time is again short and we are off to have lunch! Dora and I love you all!