Friday, May 21, 2010

Email Home- "Greetings From Ghana!"

Hello Everybody!

I am in much better spirits since I last wrote.  I feel bad, that morning was the day that I woke up going "what... have....I...done."  Things are very happy now.  I'll just kind of go through and start listing.  There is so much!  It is so overwhelming!

Okay, for starters, I am safe.  Alive.  And well.  Our living conditions sure are different, but that is a good thing.  Esther (our landlady) has a niece named Christiana that comes over and helps us cook and teaches us the ropes.  She cooks us dinner Mon-Thursday, so tonight we are on our own, which could be interesting.  This morning we tried to cook oatmeal... which turned out rather... interesting...

Okay, and this is just kind of funny to me, but we drink water out of little bags of water called saches.  I bought a brand that tastes like warm summer hose water.  Not my favorite flavor.  Anyways, you just bite a corner off and have at it.  I have managed to spill mine on several occasions, including squirting it in mine, and the person next to me on the tro tro's eyes.  Everyone likes to sit next to me.

Food is good.  I was scared at first.  There is nothing familiar about it.  No chips.  No oreos.  No chocolate bars.  No Noodles and Company.  Even the bread is weird.  But the bread grew on me, and I found some fried dough that is naturally bad for me, but it tastes good, so I am good to go on snacks.  Maybe I might even learn to cook.  Gain the patience to cook.  Yes.  This could be a very good thing.

Oh and do we have bugs.  Not just any bugs though.  These are straight up biology text book bugs.  The first night there was a black spider the size of my palm outside of my room.  It was disgusting.  I keep looking for it everywhere I turn in the house now.  But yeah.  I am getting better at squishing them.  And Nate, one of the boys with me, is really nice about taking care of them. 

We do have electricity, but only about 10 percent of the time.  So far, we have only had it for one night.  No fans.  And my favorite part?  No water.  Granted we don't really use the water for anything but showering, and bucket showers are fine, but Esther had an obruni (white man) flushing toilet instaleld for us.  We are all very worried and unhappy about this.  First of all, this is not a typical toilet.  No toilet paper can be flushed down.  But if you have no water, you have to try to flush it with buckets of rain water.  It works maybe 1 out of 5 times.  I quite enjoy the hole in the ground.  It is fast.  Reliable.  And I know exactly what I will get back from it.  No surprises.  Needless to say, my bathroom phobia is also going away.

Another interesting thing here is everyone wakes up at 5, and goes to bed super early.  We have been averaging about 9 PM bedtime.  It is the only time in the day when it is cool though, so everyone is up and ready.  I'm not sure I have ever been okay about waking up so early.  We have roosters that start going off at 3 and 4ish though, so that hour of sleep does not count.  A few of us have started exercising in the mornings.  Running and such.  Today was yoga, and it was quite nice.  I might get more into that when I get home.  Maybe I might learn to relax. :)  (PS, Okasan and Daddy that positive thinking journal is turning out great!  Thank you again!)

Laundry this week was also one of the highlights of my week.  It is such a humbling experience, and so intimate.  It is one of the perks that got lost with the modernization of the washing machine.  It takes a few hours to do everything, but you have so much time to sit and talk.  They are so careful with water usage too.  The whole batch of clothes only took two buckets of water.  When we were finished, Christiana actually mopped up the spilled water from the concrete and drained it into the flowers.  They have big buckets that pick up the rain water and everything.  No water goes wasted here.  (Do you remember that lectura in Spanish Roberto?  yeah.  These things happen!)

Lets see.  I got a mosquito net.  But it keeps falling in and knocking me on the head at night, so that is fun.  It is blue, as well as the walls, so everything is this neon cobalt color.  I really like it.  There are so many bright colors here.  I cannot wait until I am comfortable enough to get my camera out.

Also, my research is coming along nicely.  Well.  Relitavely.  Yesterday was my first day at the secondary school.  There are 2,000 students there.  Hardly what I was expecting.  I felt like Brittany Spears or something.  Everyone swarmed us.  Stared at us.  Turned on the fans for us when we came in.  Touched our skin, felt my hair.  It was crazy!  I have had to change my name to Shelley at the school too, because no one can say Rachel, and the other girl working there is named Rachel.  It is odd trying to change your name.  I keep forgetting.  Anyways.  The school rooms were very interesting.  Teachers can cane their kids here, which is different.  And the desks look like little antique desks that you would fine in the pioneer village at Lagoon.  It was such a great experience.  I can't wait to get to know the teachers better and start teaching creative writing.  To make the celebrity day even worse, on my walk home three kids came up to me and asked for my autograph.  Then, each grabbed my hand and kissed it.  How does this even happen, that some nobody can come over here and be the biggest thing in town?  It is kind of weird for someone who does not like attention, but yeah.  Intersting.  I think i expected more hostility or something, especially with Cape Coast and those monstrous slave castles just miles down the road.  People are not like that here though.  I feel very safe, and I am sure this will be a great experience for me.

Thank you for your love, emails, and support.  I love and miss you all!

Oh, and I have had my first proposal, which was eventful. 

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