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*Grace in Ghana*

Where do I start (forgive me if this is incoherent because I'm writing this at 2:30AM and I'm supposed to be in a cab in less than 4 hours to head to the airport)...

The short version of the story is that I'm going to Ghana for 2 weeks!!

The long version of the story is that I'll be working with an organization called Women in Progress in Cape Coast, Ghana, and will be there for 2 weeks (and yes, I'm using my vacation to work)... I'm going alone, so don't expect me to travel to other African countries, but I'll certainly try to share as much of my time in Ghana as I can. All I can hope at this time is that I packed everything I will need: Pillow (check), malaria pills (check), Harry Potter 5 (wouldn't leave home without it), sunblock (check), $5 sunglasses (you bet, I'm not taking my pimp ray bans)...

Anyway, hopefully, I'll be diligent enough to update this every so often, so check back and leave me messages and tell me how much you miss me! See you soon!


Diary Entries

Friday, 01 June 2007

Location: Cape Coast, Ghana

programming note -

because i'm on this super slow connection, i haven't been able to upload pictures (and i have a ton that i do want to share with you). i'll upload them when i get back to the states.

ps. i'm still showering from a bucket...

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Location: Cape Coast, Ghana

"obruni... obruni..."

Ghanians are funny. They think that there are only two types of people in this world.. the white man (obruni) and the black man. This is a gross generalization because they have Chinese restaurants in the capital city of Accra. But, it's really silly being called an obruni. Yesterday, Kate and I rode our bikes to the Elmina post office, and every single little kid would run to the side of the road and yell obruni at us, and then ask us for money. It's the first time in my life that someone's not yelling saionara or ni hao ma at me.

Oh - And yesterday we finally got into the office to start the volunteer portion of my "vacation". Well this was after I went to the bank and was told that my travellers cheques were stolen because my signature didn't match. I told him to check my passport, and he said well your signature doesn't match your passport either. Well, duh! I know it doesn't because I signed my passport when I was 18! And I told him that I wanted to talk to a manager and he sent a security guard. I was trying really hard not to share very harsh words with him, and I think he was purposely trying to rile me up. But, I finally got some cedis (at a horrible exchange rate) and left. I hope that I won't have to be exchanging any more money. Anyway back to what I'm really doing in Ghana...I'll be working with Kaitlin (a Junior from Shelton Hall) on coming up with two deliverables. 1) We're comparing wages here in Ghana vs comparable countries around the world, which is quite a bit of a challenge because the internet is very very slow. 2) We're also developing (and hopefully deploying) training on how supply chains work. It's not as difficult as it sounds. The women here don't really understand how costs are added as goods are moved through the chain, so we're just coming up with really simple training and a role play situation. I hear they really like role playing.

I only have about a week left, so it'll be interesting to see what we actually come up with at the end of all this...

Monday, 28 May 2007

Location: Accra, Ghana

...the art of bucket showering...

so, it's day 3 in Ghana, and let me just say that it's been very difficult to find internet connection (i think i may even be on dial up). and there are no pictures attached to this journal entry because I can't find the USB port on this computer. other than that my first 3 days in ghana have been great! where do i start? well, i met this very nice ghanian man on the plane (so i thought). he made me take his phone number and made me promise that i call him if i ever got to his town of Tema. he promised me to take me to the botanical gardens - haha. later i found out that many european and u.s. men and women come to ghana to enjoy some time with their native ghanians, and the ghanians go along with this in hopes of a visa back to the europe or the states. i hope this man next to me wasn't thinking that i would actually get him a visa to the states. but, anyway that was my plane ride over.

and of course my first night here, what do we do? we hit up the local bar called duncin's. duncin then decides that he wants to go to "greece". it's called greece because there are these greek columns in the patio of this house. and we take shots of appetiche (local gin). apparently the alcohol gets its bite from rusty nails or centipedes that they leave in the alcohol to ferment. yum.

so, my first shower here is from a bucket. yes- a bucket. i totally forgot how nice it was to have running, hot, water. the first thing i'm going to do when i get home is take a long hot shower. and, yes, i've had to pee in a hole.

but, during my first 3 days i've also spent some time in the other location of Women in Progress, called Krobo. It's this tiny town that's 2 hours north of Accra, and i got to see where the women put together the beaded handicrafts and also got to hang out around the town there.

we'll be heading to my location tomorrow (cape coast), and i hope that there will have better internet connection, so i can upload pictures and stuff. i can't wait until i get to really start the volunteer work because so far it's just felt like vacation. a vacation where you shower from buckets...

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Recent Messages

From Canon sd750
Those photos were taken with a real nice can tell :)
From Matt Gunter
Grace! Glad you made it safely and chose not to help that gentleman with his visa issues. Have fun and be safe! out for Warlords.
Response: it's not the warlords that i'm really worried about ;)
From Big Unni
Hey SU!!

Sounds like a really interesting experience so far!! Your bucket and obruni stories crack me up! Be safe - can't wait to see you back here soon!!

Response: hey BU! How's the wedding planning going? can't wait to see you in your fabulous dresses. xoxo
From Melissa
Hi Grace! I can't believe you're in Ghana, that is mad! It sounds really interesting so far (I won't say good, because I can't imagine showering from a bucket) and I'll keep up with your blog to hear the rest. I hope it all goes well and you have a great time, can't wait to see you when I'm home! love,
Response: melissa!!! hey! i'll be in LA on the 15th of June, will you be around then? is niall with you? hope to see you soon!
From Frank Yoon
hey sis,

sounds like you're having a fun time in Ghana with buckets and all. Send some of that rusty nail and/or centipede beer over this way. well, enjoy your volunteer work and stay safe.

Response: i'll see if i can bring some appetiche back, but i don't think you'll really want to drink it. maybe if you add it to tonic or something...
From Yves
Good luck, and stay safe!
Response: thank you :)
From Jinwoo
WHoaaaa. Ghana. Sounds awesome. I'm looking forward to hearing your stories. Good luck!
Response: thanks!! have you moved to nyc yet?