Published: January 31st 2011January 26th 2011
As soon as I stepped off of the plane, my hair grew a halo of frizz. It was hot, humid, and dusty. I was tired, and had just been on a seven hour flight with about 3 hours of turbulence that brought me dangerously close to puking all over the place. But I didn't so it was all good. The airport was all decorated for Christmas, which was bizarre because it was so warm and smelled so much like Africa (cooking oil, dust, and other, less distinct odors) and so little like evergreens or cookies. We picked up all of our stuff from baggage claims, and then we met our program leaders, who helped us load into a van to set off towards our hotel. At this point I was past being tired and was simply excited.
We went to a hotel, where we had two days of orientation--getting to know each other, getting used to the heat with AC in our rooms, and generally learning a lot. We moved to campus on the third day, which was fun, but no one was really around. In my dorm, known as "pentagon," everyone got placed in a room with another CIEE person. I was placed with a boy named Sam (seemingly because my name is Evan,) which obviously wasn't going to work, and was a little stressful for everyone in the beginning, but after a couple of days of living in temporary quarters, I was put in my permanent room. I successfuly talked people into rooming me with a Ghanaian, which is what i wanted in the first place, so really the whole thing worked out in my favor.
My room is bigger than my dorm at AU. It has its own bathroom, kitchenette, and balcony. It is really nice. The only things I would change are the lack of airconditioning (although now I'm pretty much used to it, so I don't even really want to change that) and the amount of dust that is in my life. When I moved in I mopped the floor three times to get all of the red dust off of the floor.
Campus is beautiful, and I'll definitley have killer legs when I get back home because everything is pretty spread out and you walk everywhere. (Also I'm taking an West African Traditional Dance class, which should help as well.) The buildings are generally really nice, and I love the markets that are tucked in a couple of corners of campus--you can buy basically anthing you need, and it is generally very cheap.
Classes are starting today, and although the registration process was frustrating and involved me walking around to each department multiple times, I'm pretty much officially registered. I'm excited to meet people in classes and know that I will be interacting on a regular basis. As of now, most of the Ghanaians I've met I'm not really sure how much I'll see, and we've had pretty much surface interactions. So I'm excited to start making more friends.
The food is generally spicy and full of meat, but that's ok because there are other options. I've been drinking a lot of Burkina--this yogurt drink that has millet in it--it is really good-- and eating a lot of mangoes and egg sandwiches. I am pretty sure that my diet will be centered around those foods, alond with peanutbutter, crackers, and laughing cow cheese for the rest of my stay. But that's ok. I'm not burnt out yet.
On Saturday I went to a pristine beach about two hours away from campus. It was so beautiful--you cross a small lake to get to the beach, which is sandwiched between that lake and the ocean. I didn't take my camera, but if you google Bojo Beach you can find pictures of it. It was amazing. I got burnt, even though I put sunscreen on four times, but it was worth it.
Yesterday, I on a tour of Accra with my group and then we went to one of the Ghanaian students' uncles houses. His uncle is the Artistic Director for the National Theater company, and he also makes traditional drums. We learned how to make drums and ate lunch. I am hoping that if I can't find someone to teach me mask carving while I am here I can learn to make drums from him.
Anyway, sorry this is sort of long and rambly--hopefully I'll be more coherent next time around. I hope everyone is doing well at home! I think about you a lot!
I'm having a hard time uploading pictures right now, but I'll do that soon.