Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Welcome to Wegbe, Melissa

Nicole: - After somewhat of a long drive, we made it to Accra. We had to battle some traffic and close collisions. The drivers here are quite aggressive and competitive. It is quite scary at times as we came extremely close to other vehicles and passed other cars with just enough room. We drove through the crowded city and made it to the Art Market. We walked through the center, passing numerous boutique type shops selling colorful, bright things ranging from fabric to jewelry to wooden sculptures, and more. Each and every shop owner that saw us walk by called out to us, telling us that we should come to their shop and look at their wares. They would show us some of their products and tell us how nice they were and that we should buy them.

We followed Raymond’s lead as he suggested that we first window shop and then go back and buy what we wanted. This didn’t last long as he led us to a shop full of wooden carved pieces. The owners were happy to have two white girls in their shop and told us that we should look around and see what we wanted to buy. It didn’t take us long to start finding pieces that we wanted. The owners set out a table and told us to put everything we wanted on the table. They told us that after we picked out everything we wanted, then we would negotiate good prices. We left this part to Raymond as he is pretty good at bargaining. He helped us substantially reduce the price of all the pieces we bought. The price that Raymond negotiated for us was perfect as it was all the money we had on us. Actually, Melissa made it known that she had 4 Cedis left but I informed her that in this particular shop, that amount of money wouldn’t get us very far.

As we were out of money, we left the Art Market. We were very happy with our purchases which were wrapped nicely for us and taped so well that they will not be opened until we return home. We ran a few errands while in Accra including a short stop at the Accra Mall to get plastic Ziplock type bags and then headed over to Raymond’s uncle’s house. We were warmly greeted by his family. Sammy was shy but after awhile, he got more comfortable with us and remembered who we were. We gave them some fruit as a way to say thank you for all of their hospitality and then started the four hour drive to Hohoe.

The drive was a bit uncomfortable as the tro tro seats aren’t the most comfortable things in the world and really start to hurt one’s butt after awhile. We wrote some of this blog along the way but had to stop once it got dark and the potholes and other bumps in the road started throwing us around. For this reason, it was difficult to sleep or even sit comfortably. The drive took a long time – I got a bit restless towards the end but Melissa was content with her ipod.

Upon entering Wegbe, Melissa and I were dropped off at Raymond’s house. Even though it was raining a bit, I wanted to take her to meet Raymond’s wife and son and some of the other local children as I know how much she has been looking forward to seeing all of my African babies. I introduced her to some children who were very happy to meet her. Yaira was most excited and grabbed Melissa’s hand, telling her to come to her house. Yaira introduced Melissa to her family. They were all excited to meet Nicole’s sister, someone who I had told them about.

I was holding Cynthia, a little girl who has some attachment issues and cries whenever I put her down or try to return her to her mother. Melissa was handed a baby who started crying upon being put into the hands of a white person. I warned Melissa that this may happen and that there are children here in Ghana who are scared of white people and would cry when they saw her. After meeting Yaira’s whole extended family, we said good night and returned to Raymond’s house. While Melissa and I were with the children, Raymond and the driver went to get our dinner. They quickly returned and we headed to the hotel.

Alex, the driver honked as the gate was closed. Makafui, the cook at the hotel who has been very excited to meet my sister was so excited that we were back and came running to open the gate for us. When I left a few days earlier to go to Accra to pick up Melissa, she tried to get in the tro tro and come with me. She gave Melissa a big hug and welcomed her to Ghana.

After the excitement calmed down, Melissa and I started to unpack. Melissa showed me all the stuff that I had requested she bring to me as well as some more supplies for the orphanage that didn’t fit in my bags. As it had been a long day, we ate our rice and salad and then went to bed.

Melissa went to bed excited to meet the children of Christ Orphanage the following morning.

Melissa: - So our next project here after we finish Christ Orphanage will be to fix the roads heading to Wegbe. They are crazy. There are pot holes every two feet that extend across the whole road. It is seriously insane and I don’t understand how Alex and the other drivers drive on it. Nicole and I both agree that we never want to drive in Ghana and with my past history of a few car accidents; I think driving here would just increase my number of accidents. As we were driving, Alex did run into one of the bigger pot holes and the car turned off. Wonderful right? Two seconds later it turned back on, thank gosh.

It is still really surreal that I am here and in the town that Nicole rants and raves about. It’s hard to explain and describe what everything looks like here but Raymond lives in a little house with a small 6 by 6 ft looking living room and a little bit bigger bedroom. It is insane to me that people live like this here but they are so content with it. People in America and especially in LA would never ever think about living in such a little dirty house. To me it is already normal though, this is the way they live here and although I don’t necessary want to live like that I understand that they are happy to even have a roof over their heads and food to eat.

Meeting a few of the little children was amazing. They are so precious and seriously love you from the moment they see you. As Nicole said Yaira took my hand the moment I met her and took me to meet her family. She wouldn’t let go of me and showed me off to her family and neighbors. It was probably the cutest thing ever. I enjoyed meeting my first bit of Ghanaians but was happy to go back to the hotel because it had been a long day.

At the hotel Makafui, the cook was so excited to see me and told Nicole she could go back to Accra because I had arrived. She obviously was joking but it was funny. She told me I was her new best friend and told me I should sleep in her room for the night. She asked me if I would rather sleep with her or Nicole. I just stood there, not knowing what to say because I didn’t want to be rude. Nicole spoke up though and told her I would be staying with her. As we went into the room Makafui told me to have dreams about her and tell her what they were about in the morning.

All night Nicole and I itched our dumb black fly bites. They are seriously driving us insane. They are all over my ankles and knees and even though we are not supposed to scratch them its so hard not to.

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