Thursday, September 20, 2012

Orientation in Ghana

 I have safely arrived here in Ghana. I apologize for the lack of blogposts, but internet is not an easy commodity to come by here.
We flew via London to Accra. On the plane, I sat in between Emily and Sarah. We were all alight with excitement as we landed and headed down the stairs just like in the old version of "Parent Trap" into Ghana. We walked inside and waited in a long line for immigration and then headed to the hostel where we were staying for orientation.
The next morning we were told to grab a little bag for an overnight since we were headed to Cape Coast! It was great to be able to see some of the country. My initial reaction was excitement over everything. Everything was so beautiful and so African. Everyone really does carry everything on their heads, wear wonderfully vibrant colors, and there are villages with traditional huts. There are animals roaming the streets, herds of sheep, flocks of chickens, and stray goats all foraging for food. The sad thing is there is trash everywhere. 

When we got to Cape Coast, we toured Elmina Castle which was beautiful, but gave everyone a shock since there were these people who talked to us briefly before we entered the castle who later on, when we exited the castle, they pounced on us. They handed us these shells with our name on it and demanded that we give them money. I was thoroughly scared and just walked to the bus. Even when I got on the bus, he wouldn't leave me alone. When he finally realized I wasn't going to give him money, then he wanted his shell back which I was more than happy to give to him since the only reason I kept it was because it was in my hand and I didn't know what else to do.

The view from the top of the castle was so breathtaking. Pictures do not do it any justice. The sun enhanced haze made the picturesque village seem so unreal and so alive at the same time.

That night, we ate supper at a resort that was right on the ocean. While we were waiting for our meals to come, we were able to run barefoot through the warm waves together. I was so excited since many a time on cold winter nights, one dreams of the balmy tropical beach with white sands and palm trees. That night we stayed at a very ritzy hotel. Expecting a similar beach to the one we strolled on the night prior, Emily and I woke up early and went for a morning walk. To our dismay, the "beach" was ridiculously trash ridden.

After a delicious breakfast, we traveled to the Kaukum Canopy Walk which was amazing!! I was on cloud nine. I could not believe I was actually up in the air over a jungle in Africa. :)

After we toured Cape Coast Castle, we returned then to Accra and that night I was able to connect to the internet long enough to skype with my family and Arden <3 The day of orientation was what I expected this whole orientation to be: workshops, which it thankfully was not. We went to the US Embassy that morning which was super exciting and the charge d'affairs spoke to us! After that we walked around Accra a little. It was super exilarating to dive into the streets with the constant noise, smells, and sights so completely different from anything I had ever experienced before. After our walk, we went to the AFS office for workshops.

The Kids From Belgium

The AFS Bus that took us to Kumasi

The next morning, we said our goodbyes to the exchange students staying in Accra and Teme and boarded the AFS bus to Kumasi. En route to Kumasi, we dropped of my roommate in Kfuradura and two other girls in Nkrauwkrauw, a beautiful city nestled in the mountains. We then headed the rest of the way to Kumasi, which will be home to 5 exchange students this year. When we arrived in Kumasi, we said goodbye to the two exchange students going to Suyani, which is even further north than Kumasi, and met our host families.


  1. I had a similar sea shell experience in Elmina back in 2006. I guess some things never change:-/

  2. Looks wonderful! Have fun, remember it all....Hadley

    1. Thank you so much! I'll try my hardest to keep up a good memory.