Update on Ghana Orphanage Placement

We are now in the middle of our last week at the placement. I have established a routine here, waking up 6:45 every morning to run over the rolling hills in Ghana, followed by breakfast with the other volunteers, playing with the children and tutoring the ones in school, and takingrandom trips to Swedru for fruit, Nutella, and biscuits.Richard still seems to think I may be eligible for the Ghanian men’s soccer team. While I love playing soccer with the kids, I am not a man or a Ghanian, so I do not really understand this. I do feel as though I am getting in pretty good shape running with him in the mornings, although I will never be able to get used to the constant shouts of “Abrunei! Abrunei!” AKA “Foreigner! Foreigner!” everywhere I go.

We still do not have running water, although once in a while it will come on for a few hours . When this happens, we ll scramble with buckets to fill up the water tanks around the compounds so we can at least take bucket showers.

The food is still carb/overload, and although Flo is an excellent cook, all of the volunteers seem to be gaining weight and craving meat. Sometimes we get a small piece of chicken, but the majority of our meals consist of rice or pasta with a bit of sauce or pancakes or oats. Still, it is more than the children get and we are able to come into town to get snacks, although it is almost impossible to buy meats here as well as everything is handpicked by villagers.

There have been a few highlights to my week so far. First of all, I got to experience watching one of the childrens favorite films, basically something that toddlers would never be able to watch in America. The film basically consisted of villagers in China kicking eat others asses in a variety of ways as well as blowing each others brains out. I found it a bit horrifying as there was not one moment of non-violence, the kids had a blast watching it, jumping up and down, wrapping belts around their heads to look like ninjas, and pretending to shoot each other. I can’t lie I got into it as well, creating fake stick guns with some of the little boys and pretending to shoot them. When in Rome…

Another highlight of the week was when Isaac, one of the older boys who is about 11 or 12, went snail hunting and cooked Steph, Demet, and I some delicious snail for lunch. He came prancing into our bedroom all excited, holding something that resembled a mushroom with a head on a stick. “Eat it! Eat it!” he kept shouting. I felt bad because he had cooked it for us, even though I know he knew he wouldn’t like it, so Steph and I took a small bite, while Demet counted to 3 and swallowed the whole thing. Isaac ended up eating the rest of my portion, and when we gave him a Sout Patch Wtermelon from America, he gagged and said it was disgusting. Ironic.

Aside from playing with the children, I have also been able to begin helping them with their English and assisting them in studying for their subjects. It is great how eager they all are to read, and if I start reading with one child, a bunch of others will run over, shouting words our in English. They are all very smart. I helped Isaac and Eman study science and math, which they are both really good at, and also Moral Education, which is a class that you would never find in America. It is basically teaching the children about the important of God and prayer and the roles of men and women in the family. For example, women should cook, clean, and be obedient to the husbands, while men are expected to provide for the family and discipline the children.

Oh yes, and Steph and I picked up our dresses. I feel very traditional in mine. While the pattern is really pretty, the seamstress for some reason added a frilly belt and bow, which I plan to somehow cover up when I get home. I am also having shorts and pants made, so I am excited to see how that goes.

Well, I am off to play with the children. Until next time…

Note: If anything is mis-spelled or incorrect punctuation it is because the keyboards here do not work the same as America, and if you backspace on a Ghanian keyboard you must be prepared for the computer to freeze.

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Jessica Festa is the editor of Jessie on a Journey as well as Epicure & Culture. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and living with a family in Ghana.

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