Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Trip to Ghana Part 1

Saturday/Sunday, March 7th/8th

I left for Ghana. I flew from SLC to Chicago. My brother lives in the Chicago area, so his family picked me up at the airport and we went out to lunch. It was nice seeing them for a while. I flew from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany. Then from Germany to Nigeria, then on to Accra, Ghana.
I have never experienced such bad turbulence in all the time I have flown. There was a thunderstorm in Accra. We had to circle Accra for over an hour in the turbulence. It felt like we were free-falling. People on the airplane were screaming. We started to land, but just before touching down, the pilot pulled up back to 5000 feet. He got on the PA and said that there was too strong a tail wind and we had to turn around and land the opposite direction with a head wind. So, more turbulence. Everyone on the plane applauded as we finally landed.

I met up with Kingsley. By the time we made it to the school, all the children were sleeping. I would have to wait until morning to meet Lilly.

Monday, March 9th

There was no water when I got in Sunday night and still no water Monday morning. Because of the rain the day before, no one had filled buckets either, so there was no chance of cleaning myself up. I did the best I could with wet wipes.
We had to leave at about 5 AM to get into Accra before the traffic. They woke Lilly up to come with us, since we had to get her medical exam and labs done for her Visa. She was very quiet in the car. She fell asleep about half way to Accra. Kingsley dropped us off at the Acai House Clinic, then took Stephanie to the airport to pick up her husband. Lilly warmed up to me at the clinic. All went well with the exam. We finished and then went for a walk and bought a soda to drink as we waited for Kingsley to come back for us. We also had to go to another clinic for her labs. It was a long day in Accra. We ate dinner at the "Triple X" restaurant near the school (not the type of restaurant you are thinking based on the!)

We didn't get back to the school until after dark, but the children that live there were still up. It was fun meeting them. They are so friendly and love meeting new people. It was quite the warm welcome! The water and power were working, so I finally got a shower!

Tuesday, March 10th
We went to the embassy first thing in the morning. Stephanie and Friderick had an appointment. I did not, but was hopeful that they would see me anyway. Steve emailed for an appointment the day before, but hadn't received a reply.
The guards at the embassy know Kingsley, so they allowed me entrance. They told Kingsley to have me wait until 8:30, then go to the window and see if they would see me. I went to the window at 8:30 and they pulled my file, had me pay my $400 Visa fee, then had me wait to be called to see the Consular.
When I was called by the Consular, he looked over my paperwork, took my originals, then asked me for my medical results. Since the tests were performed the day before, they weren't ready yet. He gave me a return appointment to bring in the test results.

We returned earlier from Accra because Kingsley had to meet with the Attorney and Social Welfare to fix some wording in our adoption decrees. The decrees did not say the children could leave Ghana even though it states the children may reside in the jurisdiction of the adoptive parents. My Consular didn't say anything about it, but Stephanie's did.
It was nice spending time with the school children. I really enjoyed all of them. It is fun watching them play games and sing. They are such happy children.

I especially like Patience and hope she is adopted soon. She is 11 and adorable, if anyone out there is interested.

I spent some time with Kobi. I just love this little guy. He followed me around, calling me "mother" in Fante. He took a liking to me and cried when I tried to give him to Patience so I could shower. (There was no running water, so I had to shower from a bucket.)

I also spent time with Lilly's mother Ruth, grandmother Celina and Celina's sister Doris. I also met Celina's daughter Doris.

(First picture below: Lilly with her Aunt Doris. Second picture below: Left to Right: Ruth, Celina, Doris-Celina's sister. Front: Lilly)

I tried to do my laundry, but Gloria just laughed at me and said white people don't know how to do laundry in Africa. I worked along side her, but anytime I washed something and put it in the rinse bucket, she rewashed it for me the "right way." She is very funny and a nice woman.

Wednesday, March 11th

Today was our 14th wedding anniversary. I never would have dreamed we would spend it on 2 different continents. Steve set his alarm for 1:00 AM so he could wish me a happy anniversary before I left for the day. What a great anniversary present! It was so nice to hear his voice. I didn't think we would get the chance to talk since Kingsley was not going with us to Accra, so I wouldn't have access to his cell phone.

We spent the whole day collecting things for the embassy. I only needed Lilly's medical report, but Stephanie needed some other documents as well, so we went on the "paper chase". We were so grateful to have her friend Abraham's help. He arranged transportation for us and made sure we got everything we needed.

This was the first day I experienced public transportation in Ghana. We rode a tro tro (van for about 20 people) to Accra. The first tro tro broke down not far from the school. The second tro tro decided he was not getting enough riders to continue his original route. The third tro tro took us to a busy open market in Accra. Abraham's brother is a taxi driver so he met us and took us around Accra to collect the documents we needed.

We couldn't get into the embassy to turn in our medical reports because it was Wednesday and our appointment letter said it was an open appointment for Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.

We rode a bus back to Luckyhill, ate at the "Triple X" and then walked back to the school.

Here is Steve's favorite Luckyhill child, Vida age 11. She is so fun and a hard worker. If you are interested in adopting her, Steve is requiring that you live within an hour drive of Tooele ;) I saw her carrying the laundry on her head and then Kobi wanted her to pick him up, so she reached down with one hand, scooped him up on her hip and kept walking. By the time I got my camera to take a picture, she had put him back down.


Nicole said...

Wow Narda I feel so in awe of what a special experience this has been for you and your family! Thoes children are so beautiful and they just glow!
Is kolbi needing to be adopted as well?

Steve and Narda said...

Yes. Kobi needs to be adopted. I would love to adopt him myself, but haven't received the answer that it is right. So, I hope the reason our answer is no is because he is someone else's son. I hope he finds his family soon.

Nicole said...

My sister cannot have children and has been thinking about adopting. I told her to look at your blog and contact you if she had any questions. I hope that is okay.

Lois said...

Priceless photos! they will mean a lot to Lilly for yrs. to come. I love Vida and Patience, my Lilly has begged for us to adopt them ;)
I would adopt them all if I could!

Ginny and Ben said...

Oh my goodness! Kobi is so big and even cuter than I remember him! I am having so much fun reading all about your adventures (and misadventures) in Ghana and at Luckyhill.

sandybaby5526 said...

narda and steve, God really bless you for wht u did. i hpe God grants u eternal happiness and peace and i knw u ll provide a wonderful home for these kids. i am Ghanaian too.