Monday, May 4, 2009

Adventures

Vacation was great! I had so many incredible experiences! Here’s a brief recap:

After exploring the castles at Cape Coast and Elmina, surviving the canopy walk at Kakum, and going on my first and second date with a Ghanaian man, I headed north. I spent 13 hours on a bus from Accra to Tamale and another two hours to Mole, where I went on my first African safari and saw more wild elephants than I ever dreamed of (and baboons, antelope, warthogs, monkeys, and crocodiles)! I went on a canoe ride in this little village; it was a genuine jungle cruise. I spent an incredible night under the stars in Larabanga, which ended all too soon with a 4AM bus ride back to Tamale and another 3-hour trotro to Bolgatanga. After depositing my luggage at a hotel, I took a shared taxi with my new friend and travel buddy, Molly, to a town called Paga. At Paga, I sat on the back of a live crocodile! I also had a tour of a traditional village compound with all the mud huts, which was interesting, and walked through a former slave camp, which was sad. The next day I left the hotel at 6AM, and traveled the whooooole day, finally arriving at my house in Haatso at 11:30 PM. I rested for a day at Haatso with the intention to visit a monkey sanctuary and waterfalls in the Volta Region. (I had planned to stop at the monkey sanctuary near Techiman after I went to Paga, but decided to go to the other monkey sanctuary in the Volta Region instead.) Again, my plans were changed... my bags were packed for my trip to Tafi Atome when I decided to save the monkey sanctuary for midterm break. You see, Sister Juliana’s younger sister was getting married on 2nd May, and I was invited to the wedding! On Friday, I rode with Fred and his sister Ruth to Homase, the village where Sister Juliana’s family lives. It was so wonderful to be with the Gyamfi family again! They’ve become my adopted extended family in Ghana. They all call me by my Ghanaian name, Yaa Asantewaa, and treat me as a special guest. On Saturday, they had the engagement ceremony in the morning, the wedding in the afternoon, and the reception in the evening. They also had second reception on Sunday morning, and afterwards, Fred dropped me off in Kumasi so I could visit the Cultural Center. When I had finished there, I took a trotro back to Accra and arrived at the convent last night at 8:45. I was asleep by 10. What a vacation! I fully intend on writing about the highlights in further detail when I have the time. If you want a sneak peek and a look at the pictures, I’ve posted pictures of my Safari and of Larabanga & Paga. Enjoy!

School reopened today. It was nice to see some of my students again. Only half of Class 4 showed up, however, so it was a bit quiet, which was probably a good way to ease back into this whole teaching business. I realized that I’m leaving in 12 weeks from today! That’s nothing! It means I have less than 60 days with my students. I only have 12 more weekends. There is still so much to do and see in Ghana before I leave!

Today was fine except that literally every teacher at school told me that I’ve grown fat! Every one! “Wow, Kate! You’ve gotten fat! Your vacation must have been good!” In Ghana, fat is considered beautiful, so they all meant it as a compliment, but all I could think about was how NOT a compliment that would be in the Western world. If my coworkers are surprised by how fat I’ve become in the past 3 & 1/2 weeks... what will my family and friends say when they see me after 9 & 1/2 months? So, I’ve resolved to lose weight in the remaining 12 weeks I have left in Ghana. This is weird because I haven’t bothered about my weight at all in about 3 years, and now I’m suddenly very self-conscious, and it sucks. My goal is to leave Ghana with everyone here telling me I’m too thin and everyone at home telling me I’m just right. We’ll see how this goes!

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading more about any of the above mentioned adventures... stay tuned! More to come!

2 comments:

David said...

Ghana is certainly famous for its appreciation of full-bodied folk. For example, here is the runaway winner of Miss Ghana Beauty Pageant 2009 enjoying a light snack.

DeeDee said...

I'm glad that you made it back safe and sound from your vacation. The pictures you posted are wonderful! I have something that I'm going to send to you that I hope will be a nice reminder of your safari. Be on the lookout for it!