It has been a great experience starting my journey in Ghana. The initial adjustment proved to be testy, considering I was coming from Ethiopia – on the first day I felt really homesick (Ethiopia). A little background on that point – I was born in Ethiopia and moved to the United States when I was seven; this was my first time back to my home/family in eight years. So initial my heart was longing to go back and spend more time in my own country, and I was really quiet on my first day in Ghana.
(This was from my trip in Ethiopia to Lalibela)
Once I got over my initial anxiety and homesickness, I quickly started appreciating how fortunate I was to have this experience. I am participating in a homestay program, and my host Auntie Rejoice has already taken the place of my mother. She is a retired Army officer and her daughter lives with her to help with the housekeeping.
My biggest challenge to date has been adjusting to the weather and living without air conditioning. I wake up at all times of the night from the heat in search of cold water. Fun fact: the most popular type of water is 500 ml in a plastic bag ( it costs 20 pesewas = 5 cents). During the morning I am practicing for a marathon and have been going for long runs. Even in the early hours of the morning, since there is a limited amount of sidewalks, you have to compete with cars to find room to move about without being hit. It is an exciting experience and has allowed me to explore various parts of the neighborhood. On the first day I went for a 30 minute jog and got lost; taking me an hour to find my way back home. Since going on that adventure I have been able to navigate well. Slowly but surely my cardio has improved, since I have been here and now I am running 9 miles. My goal is to be able to run a marathon by the time the semester is over.
I recently just got back from my trip to the Northern Region of Ghana. It took 13 hours to get to our destination Mole National Park, a safari park that is home to 600 elephants. We were able to watch elephants wrestle each other and it was an exciting experience. While there, next to the safari, we visited the oldest Mosque in Ghana and a shea butter village. This was a great day of experiences and I was able to get to know members of the cohort better. On the way back, unfortunately, the journey took two days due to a bridge closed for construction. This was my first introduction to the traffic challenges in Ghana and the challenges the lack of strong infrastructure creates. While waiting for the road to open up we got out the bus and explored the area.
This upcoming week will be my first real week of classes; so excited for that journey to start.