Monday, January 31, 2011

More and More Settled In!

Okay, I just have to tell you guys more about the food! At the school cantine they serve fish head! I would never even think of buying something like this, but I guess my friend cheeky would. It is just the head of a fish! I guess I'm not qualified to say too much about the subject (I'm fairly certain I have never eaten fish in my life) but I feel that if you only want to eat a part of the fish it should be the middle. I hate to give you guys a bad visual but they eat the eyes too. Please tell me you American fish eaters out there don't do this. Also for breakfast its bread. Like four pieces of bread. They don't put butter or jam on it or anything haha. For Lunch almost every day I have fried yam in this sauce stuff. Its AMAZING! Also I eat a whole bunch of rice.

One thing I absolutely love about Ghana is that people are always outside. In the morning when I leave for school all the adults are out and about with huge baskets on their heads. When I come home all the kids are out. I would see them out half naked playing soccer and other games. I started to play with Richmond and the other kids would join in. The kids around my home love me! The little ladies come to me wanting to teach me hand games or jump rope games. The little boys want me to swing them around or chase them. Richmond, my brother, can have fun with anything at anytime. He is so cute! Yesterday he found a piece of styrofoam with a string tied on. When I came outside he was kicking it around and twirling it around his head. We played soccer with it and then I tied it up and we hit it like a pinata until it was just pieces. He did not give up though. We then picked up the chunks and hit them to each other using our slippers like rackets. The kids here are amazing.

Walking to school is like walking down a long catwalk. Everyone looks at me. They thinks it is awesome to see a white person wearing a school uniform. The first day when I walked to school they would all shout "Yavu! Yavu!" meaning "white person" and I would wave and smile. A few days later and they would still do this so I started saying "No no yavu. Emefa." Now when I pass they all shout "Emefa! Emefa!" They are so cute!

This weekend was Mary and Emil's first wedding anniversary! Them, Florance, Esther, and Me went to the pool and celebrated. Nobody in my family knows how to swim! So we didn't really swim; we just talked. It was sooo much fun I think I was laughing the entire time. I found out, though, that saying "You are crazy" or "You're so silly" is an insult here. Sorry Richmond! They said they knew I didn't mean anything by it (thank Goodness!). And when they say someone is  big or fat its not an insult, just a description.

Church is very very different. Its about three hours long. It is very loud and people are dancing around the room during the song. At GSLC we have a moment of silence for prayer but here they have moments of noise for prayer. Everyone with instruments play them and people with maracas shake them and everyone prays out loud. Its different but its fun too. In the middle, the different age groups split up and have bible study(like Sunday school). Then we get back together and finish up. I miss GSLC so much but I'm trying to adapt here because I think that once I understand the service more, I will enjoy it just as much!

I just want to say thank you! thank you! thank you! for the letters you wrote and the comments here! I get excited to read them.Ill tell you all about my home once I can upload pictures! I got to talk to my parents and sisters this week! It was soooo good! Love you all!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Huge Update!

I have so much to say but I want to say right away that I am really sorry for no pictres! Thank you guys for the comments!

First I want to tell you about my family. I have a ton of people living at home but some have left and some will leave soon. Anyway Mama and Papa live have five kids: Evelyn, Emil, Florence, Fred, and Esther. Evelyn lives n Accra and went home two days after  got here. She has a baby named Micheal who is one and a half year old. He was super scared of me at first but then he warmed up to me and it was awesome! Anyway Esther boards at the school so I only get to see her there. Emil doesn't live at home but his wife Mary does. I know. I don't quite understand that either. Florence and Fred live at home but Florence will go back to work in a different town in February. For right now she has been showing me around. Also at home is Irene, a house help, and Foster, one of the youth from the church. Emil's son Richmond lives at home to. He is so cute!

Only Fred and Foster go by these names, though. I am the only one who calls them by their Christian name. They also have an Ewe name and a name for the day of the week they were born on. They wanted to give me one of these names but I had no idea what day of the week I was born on so they looked it up. I am Yowa (Thursday born). Later Evelyn gave me the Ewe name Emefa. It means peace. So some people call me Emefa. Some call me Yowa. And a few call me Mackenzie. When I introduce myself  I say I am Emefa Yowa Mackenzie. Super confusing.

Want to here what I've been eating? well Ill tell you anyway. I mainly eat this stuff called banku. Its like potatoish but it doen't taste that way. and you dip it in this really spicy soup. All their food is very sarchy so I try to eat as much as I can but it really fills me up. I don't think I've eaten meat yet but, honestly I have no idea. I think Florence and Irene slip some in sometimes. Also almost everything is eaten with you hands or hand. You only you your left hand. You eat everything llike that, even rice. So you kind of have to mash it up to hold it right. Florence always laughs at me when I'm eating. Also they all want me to eat a ton! I will be so fat when I come home. Also nobody exercises here. They just dance and say its exercise. ahaha

Alittle more about home here is that, in the house, they speak Ewe. They speak english to me but they are trying very hard to teach me Ewe. And people here shower twice a day. Sometimes three times. We wear flip flops(slippers) when in the home. If my feet get dirty Florence has me wash them off.

Alright I also want to tell you about school! I just started on Monday but wow have I got a lot to say. haha. The campus is probably the same size as Parkway South's but Its made up of about 6 buildings. They are about 3 stories high and the classrooms open to the outside. There is maybe 9 classrooms per building. There ar boarding houses too but I don't go to that part of campus. At school there is just over 1000 kids and all but 100 board. I have my niform which is blue and white. The main differnce is that teachers chose when they want to show up and when they don't feel like it. The first day Ihad all my classes except one because the teacher didn't show up. On the second day, I went to all my first two classes but then my next teacher didn't show up so we went to lunch. After that we found out that the boarding students were in trouble for something so they just called off schoool. It was so weird. So I just hung out with Esther until I went home.

I can't wait to tell you about today in school. It was so painful. I went to my first class and then the next two teachers didn't show up. Then we found out they were all at this meeting. It lasted till the end of the school day! We just sat there the whole day. Well I mean we talked and read and stuff but I thought I would die. school is from 7:30 to 3:40 and classes are about 70 minutes but neither the students or teachers ever get there on time. Also the classrooms are very loud even when the teachers talking, students are talking.

Ho is a very pretty town. There are no trotros here. Only taxis. Florence and Max, an AFS volunteer have been showing me around. I met with their friends, went swimming, and saw traditional things like kente clothe weavers.

Again I would like to point out my realization that I am white. Usually little kids smile and wave when they see me. One time, though, a little girl looked at me and her eyes got really wide. She looked like she was two or three but she trys to save herself and her older sister but running out and pulling her sister. Her sister wanted her to come see me though so she picked he up and put her closer to me. The little girl burst out in tears. I felt so bad!

Lastly I want to talk about my birthday!!! It was awesome! I went out with Florence and Max and another friend, Yowe. They gave me a necklace and bracelet! Very pretty! Then I went home and the whole family was gathered there. We toasted with juice and then they sang and prayed for me. Then we danced!  haha They tryed to teach me to shake my booty  like a Ghanaian but Im ust not very good.

I want to thank you guys soooo much for my letters. They make me laugh and remind me of home! Love you guys! Oh and I've been taking my malaria pills every day! Yay for me! Again I love you guys!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sorry Buddies!

This will be a short post today because I don't have much time and people are reading over my shoulder so I hope to update more about everything in a few days. Also I don't have my notebook that has what I was going to write haha. sorry guys but anyway I wanted to say that everything is going really well and that I just finished my second day of school! I get to wear a super cute uniform and everything! I am extremely sorry I can't post a longer post!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm Here!

I have so much I want to say its ridiculous! First I want to tell you about the orientation in New York. The orientation itself was pretty standard but the people were amazing. They were extremely nice even though I'm pretty sure they thought I was insane. We got to meet some exchange students that were coming to the United States! They seemed excited but a bit nervous too. I took billions of pictures of everything I'm talking about but I hate to say theat you might not get to see them until next week. I will post a few then.

Anyway then we got on the plane to London and I had a four hour layover and then I was off to Accra. We left New York at night and it was sooooo beautiful. It was breathtaking!  In London I was on my own so I got a bit nervous but I'm here now so its okay! I got a window seat on both flights! Yahoo!

At the orientation in Accra I met the more wonderful people. There was 11 people, mostly from Belgium and Germany but there was also one from Canada. Of course though, he was from Quebec and spoke French. haha it was okay though. My roommate was amazing so I hung out with her a lot. The first day of orientation was soooo much fun! We went to this beautiful beach and guess what! I met Acadia and Dabney! The waves were massive! Anyway I didn't have a phone until, well, today so I couldn't call mom and dad. I promise you that there has never been a time I wanted to call home so badly. I didn't sleep so well that night. But the next morning I was off to my family.

On my was to Ho this is what I observed:
  • goats and chickens are EVERYWHERE
  • Driversin Ghana fly over speed bumps
  • I am white. People pointed it out to me many a times.
I am at my host family now. They are amazing amazing amazing! I will tell you more regarding this and my birthday in my next post. I love you and miss you all so much. But know that I am also having so much fun!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On My Way

Tomorrow morning I will be on my way to New York. Right now I am feeling excited, scared, curious, nervous, and anxious. I am so grateful for that extra day I had. I had alot to do and it was amazing to see a few of my friends again. It also made me realize just how much I will miss my family while I'm gone. I've been so comfortable here at home but I'm ready to get going!

I leave home at 7:45am. I am not a huge fan of airports so hopefully I can get around okay. I'll be in AFS's hands soon enough so I don't have to worry about it too much.

Another big thing I have to do tomorrow: start taking medicine :( I cannot tell you how scared I am of my malaria medicine. I am absolutely horrible at swallowing pills and these ones a huge! for my standards anyway. Mom says it will be better than getting malaria though.

I'm not sure the next time I will have a computer so it might be a week untill there is another post. Thank you for reading! I'm excited to share this adventure with you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


There was a snowstorm in New York so my flight has been delayed a day. I now leave on Thursday the 13th. I'm not sure whether I am happy or sad. I just cannot believe it! I guess I thought the 12th was pretty final. Now I have more time to be with family and, of course, to organize!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Can't Wait!

I can't believe I'm leaving in just five days! That sounds crazy!

Here's how I'm getting to Ghana:
First, I'm having a pre departure orientaion this weekend. I leave for New York on the 12. There I will meet up with other AFSers for an orientaion. From there I leave for London. My plane lands the next morning on the 14th and I hop on a flight to Accra! I arrive in Ghana on the 14th where I have another orientation in Accra before meeting my host family!

And, of course, we have been packing away!

Mom is amazing! Shes been helping me to make sure I have everything I need and more. Thanks mom!