Okay, I lied there are a few words in this post but mostly pictures. I feel the need to go a ways back and update you all on some fun things and not so fun things. I did not have any energy while I was sick, so I apologize for the lapse of blog posts. Now that I am feeling more myself and only struggling with an annoying cough, time to get back at it. Enjoy!
Before we both got sick, Kate bought a jump-rope at the market and we went and hung out with some of our neighbors. This sweet family brought a smile to my face. Two boys and two girls in the family. The bottom right is little Solomon, he looked so fly in Kate’s sunglasses we just had to snap a picture. We played, we competed, we sang, we laughed, the kids enjoyed taking pictures with our cameras and phones. It was fun to meet them because they literally live directly behind my house.
Sweet Lisa & Kate introduced Laura and I to Krystle’s, it is a great pastry and smoothie shop. The bonus is there is a lady who sells sugar popcorn and salt popcorn for only 1 cedi (50 cents) right next to the smoothie stand. Then you can sit and enjoy your smoothie, popcorn and company. I had the passionfruit & pineapple smoothie and it was UHHHMAZING!
I finally was able to string up my hammock that I brought with me. It was glorious and I was very thankful that I had the extension straps as well because our pillars at our house are very far apart. Christy and I both got some good use out of it (I also got a massive mosquito bite this night, which leads me to my next photo).
Sadly After round 1 of medicines and tests, Becca and I went back to get tested again to make sure we were in the clear. We also took Kate with us this time because she was not feeling well either. This began the decline of the majority of AIS staff. Within a matter of a few weeks more than 12 of our staff and a few students had Malaria and some sort of other combination. My friend Kim said in her four years here she had NEVER seen this many staff with Malaria. This was Kate and I getting our results back stating that I still had Malaria and that she had come down with it herself. Also after a week of Malaria and finding out you still had it, I was needing some electrolytes and my buddy Pete came through in the clutch and hooked me up with a massive bag of gatorade, which I ended up making about 4 liters out of that one bag. It was glorious.
I only took one day off from school and spent the weekend recovering. Then it was back to school on Monday and pressing on. We had student counsel elections. A few of my seniors that are in my College Prep class were running for various positions. The twins (Fanny & Fabrice) who are in the bottom left picture, ended up sweeping the President and Vice President for student counsel.
Things started going up from here. My body finally began to feel like itself again. The only thing I am still dealing with is an annoying cough. I am trying to get back into good condition, where I am not out of breath hiking to my 5th floor classroom when I have to teach my College Prep class. I will get there, I need to get there, because I am starting to play pick-up basketball on Tuesday nights. I can’t be “that girl” who is out of shape. Worst case scenario I will take a few hits of that inhaler the doctor gave me. No worries though I am taking it easy and working my way back into things.
So we were all told that we had to have these Ghana Identification cards. It apparently was super important, but there was a lot of confusion on who needed them and why. Then the day before the deadline to get them, we were informed that it was a must. It costs each one of us employees $120 American Dollars. We took turns all making trips to the National Identification Authority building. Once you got there it was like organizing a cat parade. It was awful, mass chaos, all kinds of random people and lines. Luckily when I went, I went with out director, she is a lady who handles her business well. She marched right back to this back room, where we sat down, waited and waited some more. Her face must read to the Ghanians “You better call my name next” because she had hardly sat down and they called her and her daughter back to get their cards. I unfortunately must have had the wrong thing written on my forehead that morning because I sat, and sat, and sat some more. The people watching was at a prime. Two nuns walk in, 2 Ghana military personnel walk in to the room, 6 Asians, 1 Russian, and 3 Americans, no no people this is not a bad joke…THIS WAS REAL LIFE. I promise you. Finally I was given my card. I am official. Officially a non-citizen of Ghana, and I need a card to tell people that (As if my porcelain skin does not already tell them that I am not a citizen), but hey what the heck it is a cool looking card at least.
All of these updates bring me to this past week and weekend. We took a bus tour Saturday all over the city of Accra. One of our teacher’s husband is a professor and great lector. He gave us a tour of the city and explained the history behind a lot of Accra.
This is Mallory, Emily and I before the tour began. Love these girls. So blessed by the laughs, honest chats, and good times we share.
We drove on to the University of Ghana’s campus and went to the top lookout point. You can look out and see the entire sprawling city of Accra.
We drove all over the city. The good parts of town, the not so good parts of town. We literally drove through the Makola market. Which is even more bustling and busy than the Madena Market. Dr. Tawiah said the girls on the top right of the picture travel from their villages into the city to work. They get paid to carry things on their heads for people, you can hire them to do so. He said many of them prefer the city life and working hard in Accra, rather than their villages.
We then traveled on to Jamestown. This is a coastal city. The same coastline that all of the waste from the city of Accra is dumped into the ocean. Yep, we saw that area, and smelled it to. It explains why that beach area is dirty looking. We passed the famous Jamestown lighthouse. Saw some of the historical salve trade ports. We drove past the James Fort Prison that was used a very long time ago.
We ended up at a hotel in Jamestown, that we stopped and ate lunch at after the tour. The restaurant was called Tribes and while we were waiting on our food (which takes a while in Ghana), we decided to go exploring down by the beach (No worries this was down quite a ways from the dumping grounds).
A few things I love about the picture above. Kate and her romper, also doing a ninja jump off of that concrete square (what you don’t see is the fact that there were like 4 other british kids doing the same thing. Kate felt the need to join and I felt the need to photograph this experience. Also I love the picture of Lynn, Emily, and I. I will get up to more trouble with these two than the rest of the bunch, I can tell already just by our weekend shenanigans. Exhibit A: This picture. It took us about 50 attempts to get this final shot. Lynn promised to finally get in the picture with us “as long as her feet did not touch the poop water,” well unfortunately after we landed the tide had rolled in and our feet were covered with waste water from the ocean (despite the actual waste dropping site being a lot further away from us than where we were for this picture). Luckily none of us had open sores on our feet or legs so we were ok to have the water touching us. The top left photo is the perfect depiction of Emily and I’s friendship.
Last but not least, after church yesterday we went to a great Italian restaurant, and then went to Frankie’s for ice cream. I honestly could have skipped the pizza lunch and just ate this ice cream. We split two larges because it was 8 scoops for 12 Cedi or 2 scoops for 8 Cedi. I am not great with math but we were like why not split the large and pay 6 Cedi and we get more ice cream. WINNING! So we had two pales of ice cream and sampled away at all the flavors. Between the two larges we had strawberry, chocolate, stracitella (chocolate chip), lemon, coffee, mint, dark chocolate, and I am sure there was one more in there, but who knows. It was delicious and made up for the lack of good desserts in Ghana.
I hope this has brought everyone up to speed. My sincerest apologize for not updating sooner. I feel like a piece of me was missing when I was not blogging updates to you all. Thank you all for the kinds words, prayers, encouragement, and love from all over the world while I was down with Malaria and what I like to call the black lung a.k.a. Bronchitis. I am still trying to get over the cough part, and I do still need to return to get tested to make sure I am in the clear for Malaria. However my theory is that if I am feeling myself again and the symptoms are gone after two rounds of heavy meds, then it is time to Rock and Roll and get back to life. In the words of the great philosopher M.C. Hammer (and most certainly with the Lord’s hand of protection) “CAN’T TOUCH THIS!” Time to get back into the swing of things for me.
Love & Prayers.