Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday night in Ghana and I'm... staying in!

Sorry, rather anticlimactic. I don't think tonight is supremely important to my experience as a whole, but what I love about blogging is the immediacy and the potential for mis-representing anything. It's life-like that way. Sure, I can edit my grammatical errors, but this is a cool medium because I might look back at the end of the month and think, "Friday, January 7 was the absolute lowest point of my month! Too bad it's on my blog, cause I've had a great time." That would certainly be a surprise because I'm pretty content right about now.

I'm exhausted. I got started on my work early this morning, with the express intent of taking a little extra time for dinner, or for myself, tonight; however, that was not to be. I worked on new designs of a necklace and ornaments all day! Again, I'm amazed that I'm doing this right now, but to be completely frank, working on designs is slightly frustrating. I finish one, send out a photo for feedback, and then try again. I made five ornaments today, and one got the go-ahead; we're also on a strict deadline (Saturday) for items that are going to be shipped to New York for the New York gift show. (This is evidently a huge deal, like, it's the biggest gift show all year or something.) I'm not really emotionally invested in this work, so it doesn't bother me too much when designs don't work, but I do know it's important for products to be developed and then sold to support the women of Global Mamas. Anyway, we'll see what happens tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow, hopefully I'll have time to at least kick back and watch a movie, or maybe go out for a drink, though probably not the latter. You see, I'm the only volunteer staying in the Accra house right now; my supervisor also lives here, but she's pretty busy with her newly adopted son (not to mention this catalog deadline!) I feel more comfortable walking around the nearby streets everyday, but I just don't know about nighttime. Where could I go? How do I get there? Do they speak English? Is it safe to go alone?

Many people told me, "don't go anywhere alone!" but I've had to revise that to not walking anywhere alone after dark. Also, the public transport system is confounding, to say the least. I haven't asked many questions about it, but in the city there are taxis and tro-tros. Taxis are self-explanatory, but they're more expensive to begin with and are notorious for ripping off obrunis. The tro-tros... imagine a Volkswagon van without glass in the windows and extra seats jammed in it. It sounds like there is a schedule, or at least routes for these crazy vehicles, but it's Greek to me! Actually, funny that should come up, I might understand everything better if it were in Greek. That whole 'everyone-speaks-English' thing is not quite accurate. It could just be the area of Accra I'm living in, but just buying food requires ample pointing (with your right hand only, cause doing anything with your left is offensive!), grinning, nodding, and repeating, "how much?" as many times as possible. All this is to say, I'm in a foreign country!

But I think what I have slowly realized this week is that 'going abroad' has multiple meanings. This trip is basically the opposite of my Interim experience in Greece, January 2009. I traveled with 28 other Oles, a professor, and a Greek tour guide; in Ghana, I'm flying solo. In Greece, every dinner was planned and plated resulting in too much food! So far, I'm fending for myself as far as meals go, and that, unintentionally, is resembling a diet. In Greece, I did very little work for the class (other than full days spent at museums and ancient sites); whereas today, I started working at about 8:30am, took about 45 minutes for lunch and 30 for dinner, and worked til about 10pm. Full circle here, if I didn't go out for drinks and cigarettes when I was in Greece, it was a lost night. Each night this week I've been drinking one Ghanaian beer from the 'Honesty Bar' (drink now, pay later) at the house, just to relax.

Honestly, I don't miss the glamor of my Greek adventure. At the time, that was a great trip for me; it taught me to loosen up. Right now, this is the perfect trip for me--meaningful, challenging.

So while students everywhere are 'tipping back' a few this evening, I'm ready to hit the hay. It would be great to be with the friends I love right now, but I know that there's a reason for me to fly solo this month. I'm content to figure that one out later, so for now...

Good night, dear readers!


  1. Liz, how awesome it is that an ornament design of yours was accepted. You are serving a great purpose! hope you had a relaxing Saturday. Stay safe :) God Bless!! Mama

  2. Liz, I'm following each entry with interest and excitement. The bead work is beautiful and such a great contribution. Take care, and I look forward to reading about more discoveries.

  3. Some pretty significant revelations made by a great woman and student. I'm really excited you've been given this opportunity.

    Keep up the good work, Liz!