Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Phase one... Honeymoon

6-30-10 @ 9:45pm

I’m looking forward to the memories of right now…

We’ve arrived. We waited on the runway in Atlanta for two hours because other connecting flights were delayed and they wanted to make sure our flight was full. I managed to watch three movies on the way over. That could possibly be the best part about flying so far.

The smell was refreshing when I exited the plane in Accra. A mix of humidity, heat, burning brush, and natural must. When I entered the shuttle to the terminal I was reminded of Jamie Foxx retelling Richard Prior’s joke about being in Africa and the scents. If you haven’t heard it, look it up on youtube.

We’re staying in East Legon, which is about 10 minutes from the capitol, Accra. Everyone feels like they are on Real world. The house is amazing! We’re definitely spoiled. Marble tiles on the floor, huge rooms, and air conditioning, things that we definitely didn’t expect. Our host is the Aya Centre (

Most of us are already in the honeymoon phase. Excited to be here and ready to explore. Maybe even foolishly as we are in a pretty secluded area. Others are exhausted, in bed right now, at 4:45pm Minnesota time. Tomorrow the day starts bright and early with an orientation to the Aya Centre and a tour of Accra and the University of Ghana. Our hosts are Sonny and Alex. They are both 24. I’ve been asking a lot of questions about how the operation here works and keen about learning more. I’ll share as details come along.

Yesterday, pre-departure, my brother gave me great advice: he told me to be eager to listen rather thinking about my next sentence. I suppose that is difficult for someone that loves to talk. But now it is my challenge. I was also reminded how I extremely blessed I am to be here. I cannot thank a higher power enough. The blessing of traveling to 3 continents and 6 countries around the world is not even a thought in many peoples’ lives my age.

Well, off to walk around the neighborhood. I’ll try and be better about grammar, thanks to Ms. Walters. ☺

The life and times of amo…

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Days before departure

These are just my thoughts ladies and gentlemen!

A little over two days before departure. I’m lying on my bed wondering who and what I will miss and how much. Drake plays in the background… I think back to the travel clinic when the white nurse told me that some African countries should still be colonies… HMMM…

How will Ghana look, smell, feel? Will it be like Kenya or South Africa? Or neither. I worked a Bar Mitzvah today at the Varsity Theater. I can only imagine how much money was spent on a 13-year-old boy. I’m not knocking tradition or religion by any means. I have been contemplating how many pairs of shoes to bring to Ghana. Which ones I don’t mind messing up or leaving at the end of my time in Ghana. Thousands of dollars on a Bar Mitzvah, multiple shoes to select from, and then the thought of people who don’t have food to eat and I’m worried about messing up a pair of shoes.  I’m excited to witness the amount of happiness people with so little can have. It is amazing to see where and how people find happiness. I’m excited for the simple (maybe bad word choice) life.

I anticipate the 5 stages of culture shock; honeymoon, distress, re-integration/angry, autonomy, and independence. I am juggling how to deal with them myself and how to guide the group of students I’m traveling with through the staged. And often times it is worse when one returns home from abroad.

I watched the Ghana v. USA game today. I have to admit that I found myself cheering for Ghana until the very end when I realized it was actually going to be over for the US. I can’t deny that I espouse the notion that the US is the greatest nation in the world. I have yet to find a place that I’d rather live. Deep down I hope that I’ll find a place that can fill the void of not being home. But I often wonder why I miss home so much when I’m gone. Is it the city, landscape, definitely not the cold… If home is where the heart is, my heart is with my people. But how come I don’t miss Kenya and my parents live there?

Maybe Ghana will the place that I’ve been searching for. We shall see.

I’m tired, going to bed. Forgive me for the typos and bad grammar but consider this my journal for the world to read.

The life and times of amo…