Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hello from Africa!

After over 36 hours of travel, I arrived at my new home in Hohoe, Ghana. What a long two days! I am feeling pretty good though and made the transition well. I had no idea how much my time in Jamaica would prepare me for this journey. Not that the two places are the same, but it makes Africa feel a little less foreign. Many of the things that are brand new to the other volunteers seem pretty ordinary to me. This is a good thing, but I also have to remind myself to be patient with them. There are currently about 15 volunteers, one gentleman is 61, then there is me, and the rest are in college or fresh grads. I think the next time I do a trip like this, I need to dive into the culture a little more and will probably stay with a host family. It's tough when you're surrounded by Americans. Although, I do have my own bedroom, so that works. Ok, on with the details...

Ghana is absolutely beautiful. Where I am is definitely not a tourist destination, and I wouldn't recommend it to 99% of the people I know. Only because you have to truly be comfortable with saying good-bye to every single comfort from home. It is 100% 3rd world country. It is a totally different way of life, but I am really enjoying it!

The weather is HOT, and we just entered the dry season so it is very dusty. The dirt is red, so your clothes just get caked with the dirt. They say it will start to get very hot during the day and very cold at night, so it should be interesting to watch their season change. Staying hydrated is a task of its own too. They really don't have bathrooms (except in our home), so you have to keep that perfect balance of hydrated, but not to the point where you pee :-)

I had my first day of teaching today. My students are adorable! I will be moving from grade to grade within my school, but am currently teaching 2nd graders. They range from 7 to 12 years old...all in one class. They are full of energy and will prove to be a challenge. Today I showed them pictures of my home, family, and friends. They all want to come home to Chicago with me. They loved seeing what life is like in America, and someone even stole one of my pictures of me and my sisters. So, I am guessing someone had a crush on one of my sisters :-)

I am so happy I did this and am excited to dive into this experience. I need to adjust to living with others, but other than that I'm feeling pretty good about things. The locals are so friendly and really make me feel at home.

I am off to the Cape Coast this weekend with six other volunteers. We rented huts on the beach and will be touring a slave castle and doing a canopy walk above the rain forest. It is an eight hour drive each way, so I am sure I will see a lot along the way.

Internet service and electricity are sporadic, so I do not know if I will be able to check in as often as I thought I would, but I promise I will try my hardest. Also, my apologies for poor grammar and typos along the way...not enough time to proof or edit. Since I am taking in sooo much, it is hard to determine which details to share when writing, so please feel free to ask me specific questions if you're curious.

Love you and miss you!



Kim said...

Wow Jenni! Sounds like you are having the time of your life! I can't wait to see pictures! Should I send more pictures of myself for your students? Just kidding! I love and miss you!

Anonymous said...


Glad to hear you made it safe and sound! I look forward to your next update!--Em