Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Obruni here!

Hello from the trusty internet cafe in Bawjiase! Totally kidding about the trusty part by the way. This cafe has not worked in a long time so we shall see if I make it through a post. Again, the screen is very hard to read so sorry in advance. What a crazy few days it has been. I forgot last time to write about the beach so here it goes....we went last Saturday and took along 16 children. It was a wild and crazy fun time. The kids were great! They loved the basketball we brought along to play soccer in the sand and we also brought some blow up floaties and such for them to play with. Other than our driver and three other men almost getting in a fight, it was a pretty uneventful good day. I learned a lesson that took me too long to learn...never trust a Ghanaian who says they are not a crazy driver. Ha. I almost lost my lunch several times but made it back in one piece.

This week has been wild, the kids have a long weekend from school so they are roaming free until Monday. Disaster. So wild there right now but we have our minds a bit preoccupied with a little girl named Perpetua. On Saturday Melissa was holding her and she felt really hot but most the kids run fevers from time to time so it wasnt a big deal. Yesterday while Pepper was eating her lunch she fell from the bench and just wasnt acting right. Her health went downhill from there. They took her into the clinic in the village here (Bawjiase) but the lab was closed so they couldnt do anything. I came to talk to Mommy Nurse around dinnertime last night and she said they needed to take her to the hospital in Swedru which is a bigger village about 35-40 minutes away. She wanted an Obruni to go with her to help pay for the treatment and to pull a little weight. I gladly accepted and ran to get my stuff. Kim decided she was up for it as well so off we went. By the time we got there Pepper had her eyes rolled in the back of her head, she was convulsing uncontrolably, and she foaming at the mouth. Not good. The people at the hospital just kinda looked at her and took their sweet time doing anything. Finally after about 10 minutes she got her temp taken. 40.5 degrees celcius. I have no idea what that is in farenheight but I do know its too hot. Then we sat in a room for almost three hours while she continued to foam at the mouth and whimper in agony. Nobody seemed to care so I jumped in. There were two nurses who were sitting in the same room as us laughing and talking like they were out to lunch and texting on their phone. Feet up on the desk and not a care in the world. I gathered the only kindness in my heart I could find for them and nicely told them that she needed attention. At this point Pepper was so stiff you could not open her fingers from a tight fist, all her muscles were in what seemed to be a charlie horse and when I went to pick her up she was flat as a board. She literally could not move. The nurses just looked at me and told me to go talk to the lab so off I went. I asked them how much longer it would be and I got the door slammed in my face. Nice. So I took it upon myself to go find the doctor of the hospital. All the kindness in my heart had been long gone and I had a conversation with the doctor. Needless to say she came to the Casualty unit where we were. Terrible name for it right? Anyway she was there within 3 minutes. She finally admitted her. We then had to take her to the childrens unit and wait another hour to get an IV. The whole time she was foaming out the mouth, convulsing, her temp has raised even higher. I was certain I was holding her for the last time. She got a few injections and the IV started and it was late so they kicked us out. They told us she needed a blood transfusion but they didnt have any blood to give her so we should go find donors. Craziest thing ive ever heard. We left with heavy hearts. After a pointless nights sleep we went back this morning to find her peacefully sleeping. The doctor said she didnt think she would make it through the night. She did. She is really weak today but she was eating and drinking which is great! The doctors and nurses have no sense of urgency, i made kim and melissa promise even if my leg was cut off to never take me to a hospital here. I will fly in the cargo bin on a plane or even take a boat. Dont. Take. Me. There. Pepper will stay until Friday or Saturday and we will go every day to buy her medications and food until she comes home. It is such a culture shock for me to be there. I have never felt a culture shock here before but after experiencing the hospital, I am beside myself. Oh and more about the blood transfusion, they said she needed it badly. I know I am A+ and the German volunteer is also A+ so Melissa bravely stepped up to be tested, she didnt know what blood type she had but it turns out she was not a candidate. She is O+. Kim didnt know what she was either and she said there was no way she would give blood there, I dont blame her. But she came around and realized it was important so she got tested too, shes A+ and she was very brave about the whole thing! So in the end the doctor changed her mind and said she didnt need one anymore anyway. I cant stand doctors here. Her official diagnoses is severe malaria and anemia. Poor girl.

Its hot today. I dont know how hot but judging by the sweat dripping down my back its around 85-90 with 100% humidity. The air is so thick the breeze offers no relief. Life is still great here in Ghana. I wouldnt trade it for the world. The kids keep my heart at peace and my hands busy.

I really dont have much else to write but I will try to write again soon. It would be great if this cafe stays working! Its only about a 25 minute walk. I most the time feel as if ill die of heat stroke but its good for me! Until next time....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week one update

Hi there. Ali here. Is anyone even reading this? It would be much easier if I didnt have to travel 30 min to get to Internet if nobody is reading this. Please let me know because it really is a lot of work to get here for no reason.

So for anyone who may be reading (Dad?, and Matt) here is whats been going on down under. Not really down under but I like to humor myself. Today all the Obrunis (white people) pronounced Oh-brew-knee came to the next big village again called Kasoa. It is hot today, im not sure how hot but hot and with enough humidity to make my hair and skin go wild. You will understand when you see pictures. I am a sight for sore eyes these days but im loving every second of it. We have been staying at the orphanage in a room there. It is the size of a dorm room with three of us sharing it. Two bunk beds and a mattress on the floor. Lucky me. It is much different than last time staying at the orphanage rather than at the compound we stayed in last time. There are about 8 people who sleep in the common room right outside our room and they are very loud when they wake up. Did I mention that they wake up at 4am every morning? It makes me cringe. Ghanaians are not known to be quiet people either. This makes for useless sleep past 4am. Oh well I guess its good to get an early start on the day.

Yesterday Melissa went into a village about 20 minuets away with two boys from the orphanage who have families that live there. She said it was the poorest place she has been but it was so good to meet the people. Morris has been Mels sidekick since the first time she visited so they have a special bond and it was time to meet his family. Kwame, Morris' best friend is also from that village and wanted to show her his family too. The funny part is on the way back when they were walking to the orphanage there were two little kids on the side of the road and one yelled, "Obruni, I love you!" which is totally normal because we are quite the spectacle being the only white people for miles. Then the other kid said, "Obruni I love your vagina!" Melissa said she about died! hahaha the boys she was with are still laughing about the situation. I just cant imagine.

So Ghana beat the US on Saturday?!?! It was so exciting to watch the kids watch the game and get so excited about it. They really love their country and they are so proud. I have great video of them while they were watching the game. It is so inspiring to see people with such genuine passion. Even if it is about soccer, its passion about something and I think thats a key element that we are missing in our culture.

What else? Remember the dorm room size room we share? Well we had six children stay the night last night. Yeah thats 9 people in a tiny room. I had planned on having a girl named Hajia who is about 2 stay with me but then somehow we ended up with Dora and Lucky too and the older boys, Akunta, Morris, and Kwame were watching a movie on the laptop and fell asleep and we didnt have the heart to wake them. The older boys were great as expected but the younger three toss and turn all night. They dont wake up and cry but constantly move around. Lucky for me my bed is on the ground so I get to deal with the babies all night. And up at 4am. I am tired today.

Yesterday we were running low on water to bathe in so we asked a few children to go fetch water with us. you have to walk about a half a mile to the stream to fetch the water. We each had one bucket and the boys filled them for us and we carried them back on our heads. Dont worry we got pictures! The kids think its so funny to see us carry babies on our backs and water on our heads but we dont mind. Its either them doing it or us and I would much rather the latter. The kids work so hard and do so much for us as it is. Its amazing to see 12 and 13 year old boys and girls doing the hard work they do. They help us so much its unbelievable.

The kids are good. Lucky is a little pill 99% of the time. Hes all boy and into everything! Hes at that age where he knows right from wrong but is always pushing the limits. He has sure tested our patience but that cute little smile melts my heart everytime. Its amazing how much the kids have grown since last time. They are becoming such little grown ups. Its so great to see them growing and changing. My heart is so full with all the love I have for them. I cant imagine going home. I am trying not to spend too much time with Dora because she cries whenever I leave her and thats just not healthy for a two year old who doesnt know im not staying forever. There is a piece of me that I have been missing for a while now and I think I finally found it again. I dont know what it was but I hope to capture it and bring it back with me. Before I left I was getting overwhelmed easily and certain things were not going my way but now I see what it is all about again. I have been so selfish and caught up in my personal life and I forgot to enjoy the ride. It feel so darn good to be me again. Thats my rant for the day.

I apologize if I have typos in here, I think someone took a baseball bat to my screen which makes it hard to see the whole thing at once. Thats Ghana for you.

Last but not least, Happy Birthday to my dearest Sean Robert! The big 24 today!! I am sorry I cant be there to celebrate but I am thinking of you today from Kasoa/Bawjiase Ghana!

Love to all. I might try to write again soon if anyone wants me to. Until next time....

Friday, June 25, 2010


Hello from Ghana! I have made it to Bawjiase safe and sound. I had a wonderfully uneventful flight and Melissa and Kim were waiting outside the airport to pick me up. We paid an arm and a leg for a taxi to take us to the orphanage but it was worth it because it was dark when we arrived and safety is not the greatest when traveling at night. The internet cafe in our village has been down for some time now it seems. Today We have traveled into the next villlage Kasoa to go to the market and to get internet. I am sorry to say I think blogging might be few and far between. I will do my best.

Oh how life here is different than last time. We are staying in a room at the orphanage and I think I have maybe slept 8 hours between the two nights I have been here. Our room has windows which make the 4am wake up call too early for me but impossible to sleep through. Not to mention There are two bunkbeds in the room and because I came last Mel and Kim had already taken the bottom bunk so I am up top in the heat. Ugh. The mosquito net is about 2 feet from my face and it scares me everytime I wake up! Ha! Today is the first day we have had electricity in our building. Something happened to it last week and the electrician came this morning. We were sleeping with no fan. Those who know me well know I cannot get a wink of sleep without a fan in the room but tonight should be better. I think I will move my mattress to the floor and sleep there....I guess ill just ignore the bugs.

The kids are wonderful. Dora is walking and talking which is just amazing to me. She sure is spoiled though. The youngest baby is 2 months and she is just the sweetest thing. She doesnt have a name yet, they told me to name her so I named her Ruby! I love it but we are the only ones who call her that. Oh well. It has been so great for me to slow life down a little. I forget to take a breather sometimes and that is just what I am doing here. It feels so good to be here and get back to whats important in life. These kids are my everything and keep me grounded. My heart is a peace here. I think I may stay forever!m It is only day two so I dont have too much to say but we need to hurry and get to the foriegn exchange before they close and then we have a tro tro ride to get home. Fun. We are trying to go to the beach tomorrow but between the soccer game and the rain it might not work out. I will try to update again soon.

Love to all from Ghana

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Off we go!!!