For all those of you who werent aware of my new travel adventure,I have returned to Africa,volunteering wth an organization that supports small businesses for women in Ghana; womeninprogress.org. I will be photographing the women as they do tiedye,and clothing construction as well as input into new fabric designs and photo images for postcards.
I originally was flying directly from Seattle to New York and then,immediately on to Accra,Ghana. As I was boarding the plane for
Ghana,assured I could get my visa when I landed, I was informed of the recent change in rules and could I please go into New York city and come back in two days with my Ghanian visa. So I ran acrosstown,uptown and downtown,got my visa, saw friends and got my shot of New York.
My frequent flyer miles put me in business class,treating me to a reclining seat,steak,shrimp,crabmeat and very unsocialable seat mates.
As the plane touched down in Accra,the landscape reminded me of a huge village of low slung buildings,half of them still underconstruction.
This was soccer week,Ghana was playing the Cote d’Ivoire,the streets were flooded with cars and visitors. A decent hotel was $120 a night,so I chose to camp out in the volunteer quarters behind Renae’s house, the American woman who started Women in Progress 6 years ago. I had 4 bunk beds for myself so I had some big decisions to make. Cold showers are really okay in Ghana with 99% humidity. Renae treated me to a cappuccino and crossant for two with mounds of whipped cream. The bill came in at $11; the Ghanian CD is almost one to one with the dollar. Dairy is non existent except for imported boxed milk,the individually wrapped sliced American cheese from our childhood and questionable Ghanian ice cream. The local food is high carbo,usually casava and yam boiled along with spicy rice. I was told by a taxi driver that some people eat field rats. My diet is extremely limited as most of the food is extremely unappealing. The second day I left Accra for Cape Coast where I am based. The volunteer house here reminds me of a youth hostel I stayed at in the Sudan in 1973 so I opted for a home stay with a family. Forgetting to mention that as a volunteer, I must pay a specific amount of american dollars,depending on how long I will work with the organization.. I choose 5 weeks so I am contributing
about $1500 to a good cause.Since I rejected the group house, I am paying my Ghanian family $100 a month for my own room and private bath and a great opportunity to learn about the culture.. There are 3 sisters, two brothers and mom and dad..all are going to or graduated from university..which costs about $1000 for 4 years. Almost the entire family works except the 23 year old brother who is always fighting with his dad who is very controlling. The oldest daughter is 38 and is not married. It appears that finding a good guy is universally difficult. I am amazed at how easily I fit in with the family.
The most difficult aspect of my life here is that I am starving for decent food and I am sweating from the moment I get up until the cool of the evening around midnight. The ocean is not swimmable in town,the beaches are full of garbage so I am treating myself to a weekend holiday at a beach resort 2 hours away. I will resume
my report from Africa next week…