Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lake Volta

As we sat on the porch of our homebase waiting for our tro tro to arrive, two other tro tros pulled up. They were here to take a group of 20 new volunteers to Cape Coast for the weekend. They spent about 30 minutes getting into the tro tros – organizing their luggage and getting seated. Sarah, Mark, and I just sat back and watched the chaos. (Sarah and Mark are both previous CCS volunteers who have returned to Ghana on their own. Mark worked very hard and did a lot of fundraising after his trip here with CCS in January. The money he raised is being used to build a new site for Christ Orphanage -- the orphanage I am working at. I have visited the new site and I cannot wait until they are done building and ready to have the kids move in. The building they are in right now is inadequate and I am so happy that a new site is being built just for them! They will have so much that they currently lack such as a kitchen, health center, bedrooms for the children, additional classrooms, and so much more. I am so glad that I have been here in Africa during the time that these two volunteers choose to return. They have been a great inspiration for me and really prove that it is possible to go home and continue to help out the people they met here. They are not yet reached the set amount of money needed for this project but it is my hope that when I return home, I will be able to help and do some fundraising of my own.) I was laughing at the fact that one of their drivers was the same guy who drove us to Cape Coast four weeks earlier. He was the driver who drove horribly – making many of us nauseous and sick to our stomachs.

Our tro tro was 45 minutes late so we called a cab. We told the driver of the tro tro, Isaac not to come pick us up because he was running so late. He insisted on showing up anyways. Mark was talking to Isaac about the situation as the taxi pulled up. It was quite a hilarious situation but we ended up leaving in the taxi for out hour and a half drive to Lake Volta.

As the bridge to get across the lake has a dip that has recently been discovered and construction is taking place, we drove as far as we could, grabbed our bags, and walked across the bridge. In attempt to fix this problem, the bridge is closed for a few hours each day. During that time, some people sit and wait for the bridge to reopen so they can drive their vehicles across. They can end up waiting for hours. Although the bridge is closed to traffic, people are allowed to walk across. People taking advantage of this opportunity to make money offered to carry our bags across the bridge for us. Taxi and tro tro drivers waited on the other side of the bridge, offering to take us to our destination. We caught a cab and headed to our hotel – only about a 5 minute drive from the bridge.

While at the hotel in Lake Volta, I wrote in my journal with the intention of typing it up and sharing it with all of you. It is for that reason that these next few paragraphs may be in the present tense.

July 19th – I’m sitting on the deck – a beautiful butterfly catches my eye. I feel like I am on the water as I can see the water moving out of the corner of my eye as I write this. Although the ground is wet from the rain, it is an absolutely gorgeous day. This hotel is amazing – I feel extremely guilty being here. I get up to ask if the extravagant buffet set up is the breakfast that is included. I am extremely happy to hear that it is. It smells great – a selection of eggs, pancakes, toast, porridge, and pineapple. I feel like such a tourist with my purse, camera bag, camera, journal, pen, and plate of food neatly arranged on the table. The pancakes are delicious. Although a bit different than the pancakes my mom makes at home, they still taste amazing – a nice combination of a sweet and buttery taste. Other yevos are sitting at the surrounding tables. They are speaking in a language unfamiliar to me – perhaps German? It appears as if this is a hot spot for yevos as all the guests here are white.

A few hours later- While I hate waking up early at home, I love waking up early here. I feel like there is so much I am missing if I just aimlessly lie in bed. Out here, on the deck, I am watching canoes go by. I wish I could better explain the beauty to you because I am afraid the pictures will not do this place justice.

The lizards are running across the wooden planks -- I've photographed some of them but my favorite one which has red and yellow on its tail and is bouncing to the rhythm of the drums runs away too quickly for me to snap a photo of him.

I found out this morning that the large group of yevos is a group of 22 people here from the UK. Willy, one of the men from this group came over to my table and chatted with me this morning. He is here with this group to film, photograph, and document life in Ghana. They are here in Ghana for another two weeks and will be traveling to Hohoe next week. Their hope is to make a film following the life of a child here in Ghana. They are also raising funds and developing a new school in Ghana. Besides Willy, I also met Bobo who is the production manager of the film. It was amazing talking to him as he was a very genuine man who grew up in Ghana and whose goal is to help people in need. While in Hohoe, they hope to visit Christ Orphanage.

Some random things I want to share:

Drug stores in Ghana are called Chemical Stores...this definitely confused me the first few days I was here.

In Hohoe, most of the roads are dirt roads...there are tons of potholes which makes driving oh so much fun! There are no stop lights or stop signs of any sort in Hohoe. The only ones I've seen are in Accra, the capital.

Animals roam the streets -- sheep, chickens, goats. The people apparently know which animals are theirs.

The women carry everything on their heads -- buckets of water, things to sell, suitcases, etc. I can't even imagine being able to carry some of the things they carry on their heads in my arms!

That’s it for now! Love and miss you all!
xoxo
Nicole

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