Semester at Sea

This semester I will be on a ship taking classes and traveling to different countries. I will visit Cadiz, SPAIN ~ Casablanca, MOROCCO ~ Takoradi, GHANA ~ Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA ~ Port Louis, MAURITIUS ~ Chennai, INDIA ~ SINGAPORE ~ Ho Chi Minh City, VIET NAM ~ Hong Kong/Shanghai, CHINA ~ Kobe/Yokohama, JAPAN ~ Honolulu/Hilo, HAWAII ~ San Diego, USA.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

So the rest of my time in Ghana…

Day 2
We got up, ate breakfast and got ready to go to Egyam Orphanage. It was POURING rain...but I liked it because it made it a lot cooler than the first day and it made me feel like I was in the rainforest or something. Haha. Anyway, long story short, our first driver ended up getting lost (the orphanage didn’t have an actual street address), so after half an hour of driving we got out of the bus and took taxis the rest of the way. It was ok though because it was like we got a driving tour of Ghana. Once we got off the main road, we had to take a dirt road for a few miles. It was crazy because the potholes were huge, and at one point, the water was up to the door handles! I was very impressed with the cars and the drivers!

We were a little late, but we finally got to the orphanage. We had originally planned to do some sort of service work for them (paint walls, cook, etc.), but since it was raining, they told us we could just play with the kids. First, we got a tour of the home. It was modest but the children seemed to have what they needed. It was really cute because a few of the kids followed us and kept peeking around doors and grinning sheepishly. When we finished the tour, we sat down in the main room and the kids came straight to us…some even just came up and sat in our laps. They didn’t speak English very well, but we got along. They all loooved our cameras. They ran around taking pictures and then laughed so hard when they looked at the pictures of themselves. My favorite little boy was an 11 year old named Thomas. I asked him what he wanted to be when he was big, and he said a pilot. He said he wants to fly to the Netherlands, Canada and Spain and see all of their football teams. He told me he has a twin (who wants to be a footballer) and an older brother (who wants to be a banker) at the orphanage too. I was so impressed with their big dreams. There was also a little girl named Theresah who came right up, sat on my lap, and didn’t get off until we left. We stayed for a few hours and then went back to the ship when they were getting ready to eat dinner.

Day 3
The first day was fun, but the second day was even better because it was more organized. When we got to the home, we walked over to the village school. First the directors told us a little bit about it (it’s a public school but there are 760 students and only 13 teachers), and then we split up and went to different classes. The teacher introduced us and then the students introduced themselves. It was a little sad though because there were a bunch of empty desks. The teacher said it was because the students had gotten their uniforms dirty in the rain (they could only afford one uniform) and so they weren’t able to come to school. Once we were done with introductions, the teacher said we could finish the day with our lesson…I guess he thought we were there to teach. Haha. We obviously weren’t prepared for that so we asked if we could just hang out and talk with the kids. They were all very shy, but we mingled throughout the classroom. I asked them all the same questions…how old they were, what their favorite subject was, what they liked to do outside of school, what they wanted to be when they are older, etc. They were either really shy or didn’t understand me because I got a lot of blank stares…they were all really sweet though!

When school was over, we walked into the courtyard where all of the students were streaming out of the classrooms. The kids from the orphanages ran right up to us; Theresah grabbed one of my hands and a little boy grabbed my other hand. We walked back to the orphanage with them, and then got out paper, crayons and markers to draw. They really seemed to enjoy it. Of course, their attention span didn’t last long though so then we played some games. I played soccer with a few of the boys, but it was difficult because the ball was torn and flat; they didn’t seem to mind though. Eventually we had to leave, and it was really hard to say goodbye. All the kids gathered around the car and waved as we drove away.

Day 4
On our last day in Ghana, I was up bright and early to go on a SAS trip to the Father’s Home Care Ministries. As we pulled up, the kids ran out of the house and waited to greet us. First the director told us about the children’s home (it’s an orphanage but they call it a children’s home because they said being called an ‘orphan’ comes with a certain stigma that they don’t want the children to have). Then he called the children in and we did introductions. There are about 30 kids at the home and about 12 ‘moms’ and ‘dads’. The oldest is 21 years and the youngest is 16 months (he and two other boys at the home have special needs).
I was sitting next to a girl named Mercy and after I told her that I liked her headband, she didn’t leave my side for the rest of the day. She was so sweet. At one point, she took my hand and said she wanted to show me her room. It was cute because I could tell how proud she was of her space.

We spent the morning coloring and drawing pictures. Then one of the older boys started playing the drums. It was so cool! He gave a few people lessons, and then some of the other kids started dancing.

We left at midday to go to lunch. It was at a really nice hotel, so I felt a little weird eating there knowing what the kids at the children’s home were eating.

We went back in the afternoon, and it was what the director called ‘play time’. One of the older girls tried to teach me a game called Rummikub, but I didn’t really understand it. There was more drumming and dancing, and then a game of soccer started. Mercy made me play, but I had flip flops on so I didn’t play long. I held the baby for a little bit (he was soo sweet), and then it was time to leave. We took a group picture, and the director gave us a sincere thank you and farewell.

Mercy kept giving me hugs and wouldn’t let go, so again it was really hard to leave. I got the address of the children’s home, so I’m going to send her postcards. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back someday!

By the time we got back to the ship, it was too late to get off again. There are so many other things I wish I had had time to do in Ghana, but I’m thankful I saw all that I did. I really just loved all of the people. Yes there is poverty and many other problems, but it is a country of such hope and joy.

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