It has been exactly a month that I have been here in Ghana. I am frequently asked, “How do you see Ghana?” as in how do I like it here. I see Ghana as a an ever changing atmosphere of some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Throughout the day, you can see the city slowly rise with the crow of roosters. People begin the hard days work early before it gets too hot. The city slowly turns into a hustle and bustle atmosphere before you know it.
When I respond to people of how I see Ghana, I tell them how much I am enjoying my time here. I love the that the streets do not have names, I love how people are so interested to speak with me and tell me how much THEY love Ghana. I love the food so much. I love that we eat mainly with our hands because it really indulges all of your senses. I love the little kids who yell to me “Obruni! Obruni!” (which means foreigner, or white person). I love responding to them with “Obibini!” (a non-slandering word for black person or African).
When I go to my internship at the Beacon House Orphanage, the kids and house mothers are as happy to see me as I am to see them. They have warmed up to me so much and so quickly, but even more so because they know I will be here longer than most of the people that pass through. I am by no means a teacher, but the kids see me as one and everyday they show me more and more respect. Something I believe is earned and not given. It can sometimes be stressful because I am the only volunteer there currently, so I have a lot of my plate as far as what needs to be done. Thankfully I can consider myself a jack of most trades, so anything I do I can do well. The other day, they had a water tank delivered. I knew before coming here how precious water was, however I did not fully grasp that concept until I saw how excited everyone was for that water. The kids, the housemothers, they were all jumping and screaming. It really put things into perspective for me.
This weekend, I traveled to Cape Coast, the capital of the Central Region, to visit the Elmina Slave Castle. The castle was built by the Portuguese and also used by the Dutch and British, and was the last waiting place for slaves before they were smuggled to Europe, South America, or now the US. The castle was used for 3 centuries, and it was quite the experience to see where millions and millions of people were held for months at a time in horrendous conditions. Some were even placed in solitude to die of starvation and dehydration. Female slaves were forced to have sex with the guards, and if they refused, they were tied to a cannon ball in the middle of a courtyard to be beaten and tortured. It was so quiet there.
I also had the opportunity to visit Kakum National Park. Here they have a 7 bridge canopy walk. I am not particularly afraid of heights. However being held up so high about the earth on nothing but rope and planks was an experience that made me think about how little we need to rely on in this world. It also made me realize that everything in life serves a purpose. We are all part of a greater universe and interdependent on one another whether plant, animal, human being, or one of the elements.