I wrote this on Saturday night when we arrived, but had no chance to post it:
I am writing this from a bed in a hotel in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. I don’t quite understand how my mind is working, and I don’t really have a grip on where I am. Here’s what went down in the last 27 hours:
I have not experienced stress like I did throughout the entire Friday the day I left for Ghana. I finished my edTPA (a brand new, rigorous teacher certification test) two hours before I left for the airport, and just in time to pack everything and leave for my 11pm flight. Upon arriving at the airport, I sat down for a well-deserved, celebratory beer with my dear friend Emmy, who is also taking the trip. I am not too close with any other students yet, but we have six weeks in Africa to take care of that.
International flying is the coolest. Not only did my seatback have a television with a ton of new release movies (I watched Monsters University), but international flights means international people – in my case, a girl named Emma from England, who had the best - well… a real - British accent. When I thought it couldn’t get better, the lovely flight attendants brought me hot dinner! This was at about 12:30am, which was strange, but certainly welcomed. I couldn’t sleep during the flight, and when we landed in London, I was already exhausted. We arrived at about 11am London time, 6am our time, and although my internal clock said it was time for breakfast, I had frozen yogurt. It was a great choice.
The flight from London to Accra was longer, and I only got an hour or so of sleep. I was so sick of sitting and waiting, and just wanted to arrive in Ghana. The plane landed at around 9pm (Ghana time… I still don’t get it) and as our entire group exited the plan, we were greeted rather warmly… with a thick layer of humidity. This wasn’t too much of a surprise, but it definitely made the trip begin to feel real.
I am in Africa.
Gathering our luggage and exchanging currency was a fairly tedious process; we were warned that everyone moves a little bit slower in Ghana, and that was certainly the case. We waited patiently outside of the airport for a bus that would take us to our hotel for the night. The bus took a long time, and when it finally arrived, all thirteen of us walked outside with our two pieces of luggage each, a carry on, and a backpack. Unfortunately, the “bus” that arrived to pick us and our luggage up, was a large van that, in the end, could barely fit the thirteen passengers, let alone the luggage. We waited and waited for another “bus” to come, but were greeted instead by a pick-up truck. The men who work for the shuttle proceeded to load all of our luggage into the back of the pick-up. As we watched them do this, we held our breath and shook our heads. The men were loading the bed of the pick up and stacking all of the suitcases higher than the top of the truck. No rope, no bungee cords. We thought it was a joke, but to our surprise, the man got in the car and began to drive. We squeezed into the van and anxiously watched the truck that miraculously drove to our hotel about 7 minutes down freeways and unpaved roads without dropping a bag.
I think and I reflect on nearly everything that occurs in my life, and this beginning of the trip already has my mind burning with thoughts that I cannot seem to process. It is 12:30am here (8:30 EST), meaning I have been traveling for about 27 hours. I cannot think, and can barely keep my eyes open.
“Akwaaba.” Hello, Ghana, and thank you for the warm welcome.
P.S. I have no idea if the Jets won last night and it is driving me NUTS.