A day in the city of Accra

Accra Travel Blog

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Day 2

Today was long and exhausting! Gunadiish arrived around 9:45 and we walked out to the street to take a tro tro so he could help explain how to get around the city. The girls take a tro tro to work everyday or walk (30 minutes) to the school. To get to Accra center, you have to take a tro tro to La Paz and then transfer to another one to take you to the center. The city is extremely confusing to get around and the tro tros are very interesting. Basically it is a mini bus with a driver and what they call a maid. The maid calls out the destinations of the tro tro from the window and if you are going where they are you flag them down. It is extremely crowded and packed. Most tros tros are 3 or 4 people to a row with folding seats on the ends to fit more people. You are packed like sardines and it is very hot and uncomfortable. The maid will ask where you are going on the stop and tell you how much to pay. It is usually around 30 cents US money per one way trip.

We went to Accra town center today. I withdrew and exchanged money at the bank, bought a towel (much needed), stopped by the postal office, etc. Gunadiish had a few errands to run. Then we headed over to the ministries. The ministries are basically the government offices. We went to a bunch of different buildings as we kept getting redirected. I was looking for information for my friend Kathy and her organization about bringing over medical supplies and how to get them tax deduction through the government so when they arrive there are no customs charges. Yet another project I hope to be involved with. I also found out information about how to ship all the books over here and how and where to channel them through different schools. Even though the schools in Accra don’t have many supplies, the schools in the rural areas are even worse. There are schools that don’t have any books, classrooms, etc and they teach by using the trees and scratching stuff into them.

We walked probably the entire city today. I swear I walked maybe 10-15 miles today. It was exhausting and the sun was scorching down. We ate at Frankie’s, a restaurant popular for foreigners. It was the first place besides the girls here that I saw white people or other foreigners. I stopped at the internet café which is extremely slow mind you. I’m writing these from my laptop and then copying and pasting them into the blog because typing a sentence takes 10 seconds at least for it to appear on the screen. Well at least at the café I was at.

I walked back to the house by myself and there were some girls in front of the house walking home in the school’s uniforms. They saw me and immediately yelled "Madam, what is your name?!" They were so excited to meet me. They asked what my name was repeatedly so they could remember and made sure I remembered all of theirs. They also asked what class I would be teaching and told me their grades so hopefully I would teach their class. They were all so amazing and I only spoke with them for a brief moment.

I spent a lot of time with the Abwoeges tonight as well. Mr and Mrs Abwoege are lovely people. They have six children, three of whom are at the home right now. Kwame is the grandchild. He’s 4 years old and a little shy until he warms up to you. I gave them all their gifts tonight and they were all very appreciative. Kwame opened his art kit of markers, crayons, pencils, oil pastels, glue, etc and the only thing he pulled out was the ruler. He was so excited to have a ruler. He kept walking around to all the family members saying "Look I have a ruler! Look at my ruler!" One of the adults joked that they were going to keep the ruler and he yelled quite loudly "No, that’s MY ruler!" and quickly snatched it back. It just opened my eyes that out of all the colorful fun things in there, he was so excited over a plain clear ruler. Most American children would be ripping out all the art supplies and wanting to go crazy, caring less about a ruler. He bathed and came out in his pajamas a little while after and curled up in the chair next to me and starting nudging my hand. Eventually I turned around and held his hand and he just laid there sucking on his fingers being sleepy. He is four years old and still has some toddler habits such as whining and sucking on his fingers (almost like sucking on your thumb) and likes to be spoon fed or he won’t really eat.

So far things are great though! There is a big grand opening at the school tomorrow with a computer lab and library with a huge celebration (I Think I mentioned it). Hopefully the children will be dancing like they did today. Rachel showed me a video of the children drumming and dancing almost break dance style in a circle on the playground today and it was adorable! She had a picture of one of the girls I met outside of the home today as well. She is a gorgeous bright spirited little girl. I was kind of drawn to her so I hope she is one of my classes.

We leave straight tomorrow from the school for our weekend trip and it should be great fun! I really hope I see an elephant!

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photo by: qophys