My time in Ghana, the Black Star of AfricaPosted: March 1, 2012
ACCRA, GHANA, W.A.
DECEMBER 27, 2011 – JANUARY 13, 2012
My trip to Ghana was a lot of “firsts” for me. My first experience leading a group abroad, my first time on the continent of Africa, my first canopy walk, my first time eating guinea fowl… Just so many “firsts” in a country that was completely new and foreign to me. Even so, from the moment I stepped off of the plane the country felt comfortable and familiar.
I traveled with an amazing group of people. This part I cannot emphasize enough. Our group was thoughtful, sensitive, considerate, supportive, and in almost no time at all we became a little family. We were a mix of ten undergraduate and graduate students all hailing from VCU, plus me and my magnificent co-leader (School of Social Work alums). For about a decade, VCU has been working with Sovereign Global Mission (via Peacework) to help build a school in Adoteiman (a village on the outskirts of Greater Accra). After the school was completed and classes began, they sought to expand and were able to add a second floor. Our goal for this trip was to help with finishing the second floor in any way that we could, followed by working with the students in class with phonetics, and aiding the teachers. Between our weekdays at the school, we went on cultural excursions, and helped with a feeding program for street children.
I remember arriving on a Wednesday evening; things were busy and hectic from the beginning. We took a wild taxi ride to our hotel, and with the windows down the smells wafted in — a combination of earthiness, car exhaust, and residual smoke from garbage fires. Along the High Road were shacks and shops, splattered with logos and the most recent football scores. Although it was dark, everything I could see reminded me so much of the Caribbean, and between the smells and the sights it felt like a fusion between Trinidad and the Dominican Republic. This stayed with me throughout the two-and-a-half weeks.
We were constantly on the go. Between our work at the school and the cultural excursions, I’m surprised we even had the energy to go out on the town, but go out we did – nearly every night! Our
guides Ghanaian friends (long-time contacts of previous VCU groups) took us out to local bars and clubs, reggae beach parties, local eateries… We got a sampling of everything. It was cultural immersion at its greatest, and made the experience even more unique and authentic.
I can’t wait to share more about my time in Ghana!
Look out for more posts on the food, the culture, the sights, and more!
Yebehyia! (We will meet again!)