Claire Fletcher


Claire Fletcher

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood."

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon November 24th 2010

(If your money's small, your say is small.) To begin, I’d like to apologize for the long delay in posting. It’s been a busy month, but not THAT busy. I’m happy to report that my health is good, I’ve managed to avoid getting malaria so far, and there’ve been a few days of rain breaking up the “dry season”, so the heat isn’t too bad. And now to recap five weeks’ worth of happenings. Back in mid-October, the week after Kirk left, our CIEE group went to Kumasi, capital of the Ashanti Region and arguably the biggest cultural hub in all of Ghana. My Twi professor, Prof. Kofi Agyekum, swears that one cannot truly say s/he has been to Ghana without first paying a visit to Kumasi. Of course, he’s from Kumasi, so he may be ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon October 13th 2010

29/09/10 Last weekend, I went to Togo. I went with another girl, Stella, from my CIEE group. We both spoke enough French to get around so we thought, “This will be fun!” We left at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday morning to catch a cab to the STC Bus Station at Kwame Nkrumah Circle. We stood for about half an hour in the wrong queue before I asked someone if it was the wrong queue, and was quickly redirected to another queue. We didn’t trust the queues anymore, so we went instead to the information desk. For once, the information desk actually provided helpful information. We were at the wrong bus station. Fortunately, the bus going to Aflao, the border town close to Lomé, Togo, was leaving from STC Bus Station to the Accra Station so we ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon September 22nd 2010

True to the old Chinese curse, I am living in interesting times. I went to the market Saturday before last, looking for cream-colored silk fabric with no pattern. Ha. Such a thing is not easily found in Ghana. Almost all of the material I saw was cotton or synthetic. The few swaths of silk available were in bold, vibrant floral patterns. Dresses here are certainly not boring. It didn’t help that many traders in the market places speak somewhat limited English, especially the older women. This meant that I often had to gesticulate or find another girl to translate. Fortunately, Carolyn came along and was able to help me through my fool’s errand. I was not successful, by the way. Not even with Carolyn’s help. Ghanaians really like to party. The Friday before last was Eid ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon September 8th 2010

Saturday, September 4 On Saturday, I went to the small village of Dogombo, near Adan. The CIEE students helped make water filters to put in the school and around the houses because their only source of water in Dogombo was heavily polluted by animal waste, parasites, and dirt. They drank from a muddy pond with perennially brown water. In the dry seasons, the pond dries up and they have to walk three miles to get water. Children don’t start school ‘til after 11 a.m. because they have to spend the morning walking to fetch enough water to live on for the day. There wasn’t much we could do about that problem with the resources we had, but at least we were able to improve the drinking water in the pond. We stopped in Adan to drill ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon September 8th 2010

08/28/10 It is midnight between Saturday and Sunday, and I’m currently typing a blog entry while Carolyn is explaining the concept of wizards and witches in an African context . Ghana is a very mystical place, with signs all along the road advertising herbal and spiritual healing. Witch doctors offer alternative remedies for everything from malaria to tooth decay to HIV/AIDS. I almost want to go to one of them to see what it’s like. Apparently, the homeopathic malaria treatment is fairly good, although if you get the quantities wrong, you’re likely to poison yourself. Not a risk I feel like taking, considering I’ve already invested in every precaution to avoid falling sick with it. Speaking of malaria, Grandpa Asante had a terrible case of it this week. Over here, because every Ghanaian who’s lived to ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon August 27th 2010

Another update on Saturday, 08/21 Ugh, I apologize for taking so long to update my blog. Internet is not consistent and the computers I manage to access internet on are certainly not reliable. It has been two weeks of power outages, faulty USB ports, slow internet, inability to access the site itself, and swift dwindling of personal internet time. David, Helen, and Albert, the dynamo, left early this morning for the U.K. It’s much quieter in the house now. I have finally gotten to meet Mrs. Asante. She arrived in the middle of the night bellowing “MENA!”, or “mother”, which is the summons the Asantes use when they are in need of Carolyn’s assistance. She brought with her one suitcase of luggage and two enormous buckets full of live crabs and dead tilapia. The crabs struggled ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon August 26th 2010

08/13/10 So much has happened in the last three days! On Tuesday, we did a load of…orientating. The Ghanaian way of speaking is like a narrative. They tell stories to communicate lessons and ideas. My program director, Kwasi Gyasi-Gyamerah, kept us all laughing for hours with funny stories about his family, and about life in Ghana. The food in Ghana is EXCELLENT. There are lots of spices and lots of starch, so you stay full for hours, until time for the next meal. We went to the mall on Tuesday night. I missed the shuttle, so I caught a taxi at the gates of the hotel. All I had was a large cedi note, and so I asked the driver if he could make change (rather without much hope). To my surprise, he took me to ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Accra August 9th 2010

Hello! I'm writing this travelblog from the lobby of the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra, Ghana. The weather is wonderful and I've met a fluffy blond dog named "Cookie", who likes to walk around and make people feel welcome. By the way, "Akwaaba" means "Welcome" in Twi, the most commonly spoken African language in the Southern region of Ghana. When someone says "Akwaaba", it is appropriate to reply, "Medase", or "Thank you". Our room is very nice. The program coordinators are keeping us in rooms at this hotel for two days during orientation. I am pleased to say I have gotten into the homestay program. I don't know my host family yet, but I will be introduced to them on Wednesday. Right now, I am rooming with a very nice girl named Stephanie. She's from Maryland. ... read more

Africa » Ghana » Greater Accra » Legon August 5th 2010

Three days until I hop on a plane for Ghana, and I think I'm prepared for any and all contingencies. I have mosquito repellent, malaria pills (doxycycline, for those who care to know), sunblock, sunblock plus mosquito repellent, a razor, Neosporin, anti-diarrheal meds, Tums, band-aids, cough drops, cough medicine, pain killers, etc, etc. I still need to start/finish packing but rush. I've been vaccinated for yellow fever (mandatory to enter the country), typhoid fever (not 100% effective but it's better than nothing), and polio, as well as all of the hepatitis viruses. I think I'm covered, but I'll find out pretty quickly if I'm not, I guess. I don't know how soon I'll have access to the internet once I arrive. I fly from Indy to Dulles in D.C., and from there straight to Accra, ... read more

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