Ghana Team Journal

September 10, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thank you!

September 9, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Prepared by Kevin

Quote of the day:
“And we find at the end of a perfect day, The soul of a friend we’ve made.” -Carrie Jacobs Bond

We headed out to see the monkeys and the waterfall. The ride to the monkey sanctuary was smooth, compared to what was to come. It took awhile to find the monkeys, but once we located them it was a wonderful experience. The monkeys were willing to approach us as long as we have bananas. Since Tim and I ate 1 banana each and Jessica decided to feed 5 bananas to the monkeys, we ran out of bananas rather quickly. We tried to offer banana nut cereal bar to the monkeys, but they did not fall for it.

After spending almost 2 hrs at the sanctuary, we headed out to the waterfall. The drive itself was an adventure. With all the bumps on the road, I’m surprise the axel and the shocks are not damaged. The car bumped along for few hours and when we finally got there, we had sandwiches for lunch. The 45 minute walk to the waterfall was very peaceful with a soothing sound of the running water in the background. As we walked, we counted down on the bridges that we had to cross. As soon as we crossed the 9th bridge, the view was breath taking. After numerous picture shots, all of us decided to follow Samuel into the water. The cooling mist as well as the view of the bats made the trek worthwhile. It started to pour as we headed back to the car for another bumpy ride back to the hotel. We made it back just in time for dinner. Except for Kathleen who was not feeling well, the team finished eating dinner in 20 minutes. This was followed up with another Ice cream party.

September 8, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Prepared by Jessica

“The morning is wiser than the evening”. Russian Proverb

Sadly to say….. a few more days until we leave our friends in Senchi-Ferry. Walking thru our daily trail to the library, it is such a joy to see the locals and animals especially my adopted “GOATS” giving us their morning greetings. This is a moment I will be thinking about when I am back to the noisy morning rush hour of New York City.

Library, Library, Library… Just seeing the children room has displayed books and puzzles onto the wood shelves. I must say it’s almost coming into place. Under Samuel’s direction Lu decided to categorize Mathematics textbooks in order. What a project for the day! Looks presentable. I can image the children are picking up these textbooks and doing super well on their Math scores.

An hour and so, Gerard & Katy has joined in and working on the adult room with a help from Young Tim. It is so nice to see everybody has been chipping in the labor work.

Tick Tock- 12 pm--- “ LUNCH” Katy suggested us to pass by a religious monument and will be an interesting place to check out. So, we did and it doesn’t looks like I am in Sechi-Ferry. We would definitely recommend the next group to go see it along with a brisk walk with termite hills back to St.James.

September 7, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prepared by Tim

Quote of the day – “I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.” ~ Rita Mae Brown

Group #99 - Senchi Ferry
1 – Computer class with 14 – 16 kids using one laptop (Unacceptable)
2 – Kids learning how to crop & edit pictures. (Delightful)
3 – Off Day from yard work. Giving us a much needed break . (Exhilarating)
4 – Washing the floor, cleaning the shelves, and stacking the books. (Satisfying)
5 – Jessica & Christina – Dancing during break time (Entertaining)

@ Cede’s Bead Shop
1 to 2 cedis for a single bracelet
400 bracelets purchased (Empty Wallets)
8 Free bracelets at the end of the day.

September 6, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Prepared by Katy

Quote of the day: “A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty.” ~G.Thomas Gale

Labor Day--Hard sleep--Light rain--Breakfast comfort--Hot coffee--Journal catchup--Fictitious fun--Journal joking--Esther scolding--Dream sharing--Malarone blaming--Smaller team--Missed companions--Familiar walk--Maa kye--Yaa ena--Fewer children--Dust shelves--Sweep floors--Computer classes--Pickax swinging--Rock Breaking--Shovel scrapping--Water chugging--Soapy mopping--Clean room--Soon, books--Baby goat--Crazy Obronis--Warm shower--Rice beans--Van ride--“Believe God”--Money out--Curvy road--
Busy streets--Heavy rain--Craft Market--Drop off--Steep steps--Wood carving--Large drum--Machete bite--Toilet search--Endless shops--“Power House”--Statue drop--Bruised foot--Many sales--Heavy bags--Empty wallets--Wet pavement--Wawa trees--Green hills--Red earth--Real Africa--Team 99--Giving 100--Post Script--Dinner Discussion--Family calling--Home missing--Mosquito biting--Journal writing--To live--To sleep

September 5, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Prepared by Mickey

Quote of the day: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

We started the day with a hot model named Eric who served us breakfast while his also very good looking brother cooked us breakfast. That definitely put a smile on all of the girls face, especially me.

Vincent, our very shy and quiet driver took us to the Kakum National Park. Right before we entered the park, Cristina and Jessica had to use the bathroom. So they decided to use the bathroom right in front of everyone showing their bare bottoms, which brighten up the guys’ day. As soon as we walked into the park, we saw the restroom.

We did the canopy walk and nature walk. The canopy walk was a lot of fun. It almost felt like we were Tarzan swinging/walking on trees. The nature walk was interesting and informative until we all got attacked by angry ants. At the end of our walks, Kevin and Cris bought fruits off the street even though Esther warned us to never buy anything on the streets.

There is only one main road that all the vehicles take, and the street is always filled with people trying to sell goods. It took us almost 6 hours to get back to the guesthouse due to the heavy traffic. On our way back, Gerard thought he saw Citibank and Jessica thought she saw someone with bread. We were obviously a little delirious from being inside the van most of the day.

We got to see more of Ghana this weekend and it was fun, but we missed the children and cannot wait to start the second work week volunteering at the library.

September 4, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Prepared by Gerard

The day began at 5am with a 4 ½ hour bus ride to Cape Coast. We arrived at 9:30am at the Cape Coast Slave castle. Here we had a glance of the reality regarding the transatlantic slave trade. Each room we viewed told us a horrific story. You could still smell death in the castle. To think humans allowed this behavior was overwhelming. The best part of the tour was our guide. He blamed all humanity for these acts and was more focused on sending a positive message to all visitors.

After the tour, we decided to explore. To our surprise our former group of volunteers we said our tearful goodbyes less than 24 hrs ago pulled up in front of us. It has shown us how small of a world we live in.

Next up was Elmina slave castle. Most of the group was emotionally drained from the first castle so they decided to pass. This castle was the largest transatlantic slave castle in the world. During the tour I could not help to find it bizarre that there were churches residing on the compounds next to all the evil.

After our informative afternoon of history, it was time to shower and head to dinner at coconut grove. The setting was amazing between the sounds of the ocean waves crashing, beach view, and great company of new and old friends.

Expanding our horizons from Senchi Ferry allowed us to discover how precious the village we are helping really is. This adds to my appreciation of my time here more and more.

September 3, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Prepared by Cristina

Quote of the Day: “Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of getting out of one’s self and appreciating. Whatever is noble and loving. Thomas Hughes

Fifth day of labor in the library. Morale is high but it seems like the work is never ending. Since day 2, we were told that the book covering assignment is DONE. But, every day we get MORE boxes to do. We suspect that Samuel inspects our book covering job for Quality Control and remove the covers from those that didn’t pass for us to redo. This has to be the explanation for the additional boxes to be done. It’s Ok because there are those that enjoy wrapping them. The ground around the septic tank needed to be leveled. Kevin, young Tim, and Gerard were at it. The girls took turns with the shoveling after Samuel and young Tim has broken the dirt. Kevin and Gerard took turn wheeling the dirt. The apron duty was also still in progress. Carl, Patty and Katie helped carry the cement to the masons. THE SUN WAS BEAMING ON US. The phrase “for the kids, for the kids, for the kids” was playing over and over in my head for motivation. The electrolyte drinks and power bars also helped. The kids being there as distractions made a tangible reminder of the purpose for the labor. Mickey and Bev faced their challenge for another of teaching 20 or so enthusiastic children learn how to use a computer WITH ONLY 2 laptops to work with. The others that were wrapping books were again told that book wrapping is finally done.

Samuel had a treat for us. It was a hike to the river to venture on the history of Senchi-Ferry. It was sad to hear how the building of the bridge led to the FALL OF THE SENCHI Empire. We saw remnants of the old hotel that used to lodge travelers that would visit the town for business or leisure. We also hiked through a cassava and banana plantation.

Throughout the whole day, we carried a sad burden of knowing that part of our group will be returning for home. We have enjoyed each other’s company so much that we are dreading saying goodbye. Patty gave a speech about how fulfilling their volunteer experience was and how the young ones have inspired them. After group pictures, Patty had a prayer for our continued success with the library and for the health and safety for the remaining volunteers. While seeing the Minnesota group off, Jessica and I expressed how we felt that they portrayed what Gerard wrote as one of our purpose of being volunteers which is “TO LIVE”. These beautiful people raised their families, held their careers and had their share of sorrows but have LIVED FULLY by not confining themselves in a box. THEY GOT OUT AND SAW THE WORLD and learned how other people live their lives. There were tears all around. It was hard saying good bye to them. We pray for their safe journey home.

September 2, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prepared by Carl and Bev

Quote: “One cannot pay in gratitude; One can only pay ‘in Kind’ somewhere else in life. “ - Ann Morrow lindberg

This morning our team gathered again for breakfast. It is so pleasing and amazing that 15 very different and all different ages people have come together to help the Senchi-Ferry community build a library for the children. It has been such “fun” working together. Today we varnished the library shelves, mixed concrete, helped lay tiles, taught computer skills and read to the kids, Oh, and less we forget, we covered many-many more books. It was very sunny today. It is also Ramadan; the young Muslim laborers would not eat or drink water. It is so nice to see Muslims, Methodist, Catholics, and all religious people work together and respect each others’ view in Ghana.

After lunch, we headed back to the Library for more working and fun. This afternoon, Samuel, our boss, the Librarian said we could not let the kids help. I think he inspected so of the boxes. He said the kiddies could just watch us cover the books in plastics. Speaking of Samuel, some of his funny saying to the kids have been, “if you are not good, I’ll put you in the library prison and the monkey will get you. Our 2 nurses Carol and Cristina had a tour of the medical clinic and found it very nice.

We cleaned up and some of the team wore their newly purchased custom made clothing. Gerard called his new attire “African Sheek”. Off we went by tro-tro to the New Akrade community center for our night of peaceful, relaxing musical interlude- Drums and Dancing. As the performance started, we looked around and found ourselves surrounded by the local people and children. GREAT! A large audience to watch “the obroni’s” We were invited to learn a few simple steps. Needless to say, we looked like we had just learned how to walk, let alone dance.

It was a great last night for us old timers who have to leave tomorrow. What wonderful experience to leave the people of Senchi-Ferry alongside some of finest young people this old timer has ever met.

September 1, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Prepared by Betty

Another great day with the people in the village and our team members. A lot of hard work was being done by the villagers and the volunteers; back filling the septic tank , sealed the book shelves, wrapping more books helping the kids with computers and, of course, playing with kids. Mickey brought a soccer ball and Tim had a couple of Frisbees, while Kathleen was having kids draw and color. There was also paper airplanes making and flying and Patty showed the kids how to make paper cootie catchers, A fun and productive day was had by all. After a late lunch, the group decided it was time for a night out so we went to Akosombo to the Volta hotel for some swimming and a what was supposed to be a nice quiet dinner. The dining room over looks over the scenic vista of Lake Volta. We talk about the day and such but our quiet dinner went bye-bye after old Tim read a poem he had composed for the team and a couple of our resident comedians got rolling. Back to St. James and sleep.