Friday, July 3, 2009

Soccer, Rainbows, Kumasi, and Cars


Here's the update for the past few days:
Wednesday was a holiday for the Republic of Ghana so all the kids had off of school. Unfortunately we had some car issues so we did not make it to the Cape Coast. However, we took some of the kids to a soccer tournament at a stadium down the road. It was really interesting to see the intensity of the players as well as the fans. There was a group of men running around with noise makers and one of them had a pot with flames on his head! The kids told me this is done to try and distract the goalie.

After the game we went to Adullum to play relay games with all the kids. It was really great to get everyone involved! I also learned some "ghost" stories that the kids told me. It is very interesting to hear their take on things. For example, they told me never to pick up money or handkerchiefs from the side of the road because bad people put them down and then curse you! At the end of the day Curtis came home, which we were all really excited about! All in all it was a great day and to top it off we saw a double rainbow over Adullum.

Thursday morning we woke up with the game plan of heading to Kumasi to drop off our friend Emelia at school. Unfortunately we ran into a few issues: our driver showed up 2 hours late and then decided he didn't want to drive us! Luckily we were able to find another willing volunteer and head to Kumasi. We brought about 5 of the older kids and stopped at the cultural center there. We went into the museum (and I use that term loosely) and learned a bit about the history and culture of the Ashanti region. After grabbing some fried rice at a local restaurant we headed to bring Emelia to school. We sat in traffic for a while and finally arrived around 7pm! We had to meet her headmistress and explain why she was late getting in. Then we also got a tour of the campus (the power was out so it was hard to see but what I managed to see from the moonlight was nice).

Today, Friday, Janie and I woke up and went for a quick run. We didn't get chased by too many dogs. Then we headed to the orphanage to pick up the older boys and watch Richard play at soccer game. The game ended up being at an elementary school so we got to meet some new kids as well as talk with some of the teachers there.

The days are flying by- I can't believe I'm leaving in a week! Tonight we're supposed to go to a prayer service with Pastor Nelson and tomorrow we might go to the zoo!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Market Day along with Fufu

Monday morning we woke up and headed to the orphanage. I spent some time playing with the toddlers who had not gone to school yet. I was also able to help a boy named Michael with some of his reading skills. A few hours later we headed to the market to do some shopping. We stopped at Obuasi's only super market and had a great time picking out ice cream and foods that were all in the same isle. After that we went to the market to get more supplies for Adullam. As always, the market was full of people and various smells (some good and bad). We had lots of help from the locals at finding all we needed. By the end of the day we left with lots of corn, eggs, oranges, rice, okra, matches, baby formula, kitchen knives, and peppers (just to name a few things that we got).

Today, Tuesday I have been hanging out at Adullam with the kids. I brought nail polish which all the girls loved! Micheal and I went across the street to help pound fufu. This consists of taking a huge wooden pole and dropping it on top of yams and plantains until they are mushed up. It is very hard work and I have to say I am pretty bad at it!

That's all for now. Tomorrow we are heading to the Cape Coast with the older kids which is going to be so much fun! We are really excited because we have never been but also because the kids have never been either! (It's about a 5 hour drive from Obuasi so we have to get up early!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nyame Adom

Hello again! Sorry I haven't written in a while but we have been busy!

Thursday morning we woke up early and went to Patrick's house to eat our goat. Michael had the honors of killing the goat and then we were all able to watch (and smell) the processes involved with preparing it. Once the meat was cut and boiled in a pot we made kabobs and grilled them with some spices. The meat was pretty good but I had a really hard time eating the skin- it's kind of hard to chew! The obibonies had a fun time watching us obronies (white people) try to eat certain parts. Laine was bold enough to try the heart and I tried out the lunges and testicles! I'm not too keen on trying that again.

After our barbecue we headed to the orphanage to meet the women who runs it. This meeting was so beneficial and really motivational. Luis told us about the new improvements at Adullum, including a new bath house and new electric work in all the dormitories. We are very excited to see the changes! We also learned that foster care will be introduced into Ghana and unfortunately of the 92 orphanages in Ghana, only 40 will remain open. Luis told us that Adullum will set the standards for how Ghanaian orphanages must be maintained, which says a lot for the hard work that she puts in to taking care of these kids. Luis also gave us a list of supplies that they need and we will use the money we collected to purchase them.

Friday morning we woke up early to go to Kumasi and see Curtis and find out how his tests went. Amelia and Issac, two older kids from the orphanage, came with us to see him. It was really nice spending time with them and catching up! Curtis is still sick, but he seems to be in better spirits. We got him a prescrpiton to fight a virus along with some vitamins but he still needs more tests done before they diagnose him. A nutrionist is going to see him and come up with a diet so that he can start eating again.

We headed back to Adullum and played soccer with the older boys- I managed not to get hit in the head with the ball! It was really fun to watch them get so into the game and it was really nice to cool off and play in the rain! After the game we went home and rested before heading to a prayer service. Pastor Silvester holds this prayer meeting every Friday from 10pm-4am! We managed to last for about an hour and then passed out as soon as we got home.

Saturday was a very exciting day. Michael, John and Laine went to the market to get the supplies for the orphanage and the rest of us spent the day at Adullam with the kids. It was so nice to spend the entire day with the kids. I was able to talk with some of the older kids, play some games with the younger ones, and help feed the babies! Of all the wonderful things we are doing here spending time with these kids is my favorite!

We went out later that night and went to a local lodge. We were all very excited for some pizza, but didn't get our hopes too high! It was a lot of fun to have some semi-American food!

Sunday morning Michael and I woke up to walk to the 7am Catholic mass. We got there and found out that the mass didn't start till 8am. So we went back home and slept for a bit before returning. We went back at eight and learned that mass actually wasn't at the church since it was under construction and the service was held at 10am at an entirely different location- such is Ghana! Later we went to the Sunday service at Adullam. The kids were so cute playing the drums and singing and dancing to their church songs. After mass we went home and used Sunday as our day of rest to catch up on sleep. It was really good that we stayed in because it really started to pour! I have never seen or heard rain come down as hard as it did!

Later that evening 3 kids from Adullam (Richard, Issac, and Amelia) came over and we made them dinner as well taught them to play spoons! We had a great time but defiantly wore out the kids because they were pretty much falling asleep on the way home!

That's all for now!
Nyame Adom Elle Pa (by the grace of God we are well!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you miss the ball DON'T miss the bone

The past two days have flown by:

Tuesday morning we woke up early and headed back to the hospital in Kumasi to bring Curtis' insurance card along with a women from the orphanage to stay with him (the pastor spent Monday night with him). He looked a little better when we got there and Pastor Nelson told us that he ate breakfast. Unfortunately he didn't keep it down for too long. We waited around the hospital while he got some x-rays done and tried to sort out some issues with the insurance card. The good news is he does not appear to have TB but now the doctors must check for other reasons as to why he is so sick. We also ran into a few problems with the insurance card, like the fact that it says he was born in 1937! We had to head back to Obuasi with Pastor Nelson to get it sorted out. He took a bus back to the city with the new card. Along the way we experienced first hand what not to do while driving in Ghana and that is go over a curb. We were pulled over by the police but after about ten minutes we were able to continue.

Once we got back to Obuasi we headed to Adullum. One of the older boys, Richard, started my 'formal' lessons in Twi. I learned a bunch of new phrases and am practicing every chance that I get. I also taught him and some of the other boys a few words in Spanish. We also watched the kids play an intense soccer game. I commented on how brutal the kids were with eachother and Richard told me that they play by the rule "if you miss the ball DON'T miss the bone". That pretty much sums up why I'm not too keen on playing!

We left the orphanage and went to the store with a women from the local church, Evalyn. While the ganag went into the store I handed out stickers and talked with the kids from the neighborhood who were excited to see the "obronies". They all loved the stickers and sang me a song. We then headed home to make some eggs for dinner. We expericend a power outage (so did the rest of town) but it only lasted for about 45 minutes. Luckily we had a bunch of flashlights.

Today, Tuesday, Janie and I woke up to go running with our friend Wisdom. Unfortunalty he didn't come by so we just went back to sleep, but we can't say we didn't try. Once everyone woke up we went to the market and bought a fan for Sammy's mom to have since her room is very hot. We went to visit with her and the rest of her family.

On the way home we drove up into the hills by a group of mountains to a goat farm. We picked out a nice goat and tied it up to bring home for the barbaque we will be having tomorrow!

Once we got our goat we headed to Adullum where I spent most of my time helping feed the babies and toddlers their dinner. The workers there have so much patience because some of the children eat so slow! I spent the rest of the time playing games and giving out hugs!!

Bye until next time!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Akwaaba! (which means welcome in Ghanaia). We arrived safely in Accra Saturday morning and have been keeping busy since we landed!!

We headed off to the Ghana, Kerri and I were lucky enough to be bumped up to business class. The reclining chairs made the 11 hour trip way more enjoyable than last year! We met Sammy's father and his brother, Patrick, at the airport and grabbed a quick bite of Ghanaian rice before we got ready to head to Obuasi. On the way we stopped and ate some banku at Sammy's aunt's house. The food tastes pretty much exactly as I remember it tasting! We then hopped into the car for our five hour drive to Obuasi. This ride was a bit more comfortable then last year since we upgraded to a 12 seater van. The route that we took this time had many more trees, dirt paths, and bumps! The drive is long but it is so nice to pass through the different towns and landscapes.

We made it to Obuasi and stopped to say hi to Sammy's mother. She is ill so she has to stay with her extended family so that they can take care of her. After seeing her we headed to our new home! The house we are staying at is in a different neighborhood then last year. It is closer to the orphanage so now it only takes about 10 minutes to walk there as opposed to the 45 minute walk we had last year. We got home and started to get settled. I feel right at home sharing a room with 3 other girls and 1 shower with 6 people. Luckily we all got showers in before the water stopped working! We do not have a cook this year and with a few minor setbacks, like no utensils, dishes, and a fridge that doesn't work, we are getting creative with our meals!

After showering and napping we headed to town for a late dinner and to celebrate John's (he's Micheal's cousin) birthday. A bunch of the boys from last year came out with us- it was so great to hang out and see them all again! Then we headed home to pass out for the night.

Sunday morning I woke up early to the sounds of tons of birds and the Ghanaian women chanting as they headed to mass. We had breakfast and headed to the Catholic church with Patrick and Sticky. The first church we went to ended up having mass later then we thought (such is Ghana). After some driving around we went to a beautiful church in town. I love how universal the Catholic church is because even though I'm so far away from home I can participate with all the Ghanaians and we all know the same prayers. After mass we had our first MRE's (that's meals ready to eat for all you who aren't savvy in military terms). Then we headed to the Adullum orphanage. It has definitely been the best part of the trip! I was so happy to see my old friends there and I am getting to know lots of new ones too. The children are so beautiful and joyful- I just want to take them all home with me!!

Sunday night the girls prepared some scrambled eggs and toast- Ghanaian style :) And then we spent the night catching up with some more of our friends.

Today, Monday, we got up at 6 to take Curtis to the hospital in Kumasi. He is a 6 year-old who lives at Adullum and he is suffering from malnutrition because he will not eat. We spent a good portion of the day at the hospital waiting. All I can say is that the people in Africa are far more patient then we are in the US because the lines were huge! As always we made new friends. We even ran into someone from Nigeria and picked up a few phrases! Curtis is spending the night at the hospital so hopefully the doctors can run enough tests to determine what is wrong with him- please keep him in your prayers!

On the way home we were able to visit Patrick's sister Birtha who has gotten married and is now pregnant! It was so good to spend time with her again- she is one of the few girls that we were able to get close with last year so it was great to have some 'girl time' with her!

That's all I have time for now, but I'll be back! I am loving every minute of this trip and I can't wait to see what the rest of it will be like!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trip Overview

This will be my second time going to Ghana with the group, United Students for Africa (USFA). We head out on Friday, June 19th and arrive in Ghana early in the morning. I am so excited for this trip!! We will be returning to the Adullam Orphanage where we worked last year. We will also be visiting two other orphanages in the Northern area of Ghana. We are also going to try and slip in a few more trips to see a bit more of the country!

I will try to keep this updated- but bare with me since Internet access is hard to find and often slow! USFA will also be updating their blog spot with info about the trip :

That's all for now- next time I write I will be in Ghana!!