Monday, April 13, 2009

Part 2 (Finally) My Trip to Ghana

OK. I am getting a lot of pressure to continue my blog. I've just been so busy with the transition to life as a family of 6. But I have a few minutes, so here we go.

Thursday, March 12th

Another trip into Accra. This time I had the medical reports and an appointment for 1:00. We didn't make it there until 2:00, but they let us in anyway. They took my medical reports and gave me a blue slip to come back in tomorrow for the Visa!!!

We had the craziest taxi ride from Accra to the "Triple X" restaurant. I had just commented earlier that with all the taxis we had used, we had always had good drivers. Not the case this time. The traffic was horrible in Accra. We got stuck in a big traffic jam. There are always people selling their goods to people in cars. They walk right in the roads and weave in and out of the traffic. They carry things on their heads and I was always amazed at this. It is very convenient to buy things this way especially when stuck in traffic. This was usually how I ate breakfast and lunch. I would buy a frozen yogurt...very yummy!!! Anyway, back to the taxi driver. As traffic started moving again, the street vendors were trying to weave out of the way. Our driver hit a girl and didn't even think twice about it. It was just a bump on her hip, but I could tell it hurt her, but she continued to walk out of the way and he didn't apologize or anything. I was in the front seat and I couldn't even watch for most of the trip. He was always on the bumper in front of us.

When we got back to Luckyhill, we sat outside and visited for awhile. I was hoping for a shower, so I excused myself. There was no water, so I decided to wait until morning and went back outside to continue visiting. Celina saw that I had returned and must have figured there was no water. She filled a large bucket and carried it into the house, then came and got me and told me my shower was ready. She is so amazing. She is such a hard worker and very thoughtful. So, I had my bucket shower and it felt good to be clean again.

Friday, the 13th (my lucky number)

Kingsley works so hard. I can't believe the hours this man puts in. He rarely goes to bed until after 11 or 12 and he is up at 4 or 5 going again. He has done so much running around trying to make sure everything works out so that we (myself, Stephanie and Friderick) can all get our children home next week. He has left a lot of the running into Accra for us to do, so he could go the opposite direction to collect other needed documents. He also is trying to coordinate the volunteer work and construction at Luckyhill. I am equally impressed with his wife Gloria. She has 4 children plus another 20 or so that she is caring for in her home. She also works nonstop cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. They are amazing.

We went to the embassy again today. I got Lilly's Visa!!! I was so happy. The other good news was that Stephanie's boys would have their visas by Monday or Tuesday. HOORAY!!!

We got back to Luckyhill early. Kingsley really wanted to play soccer with us. We got the chance. Fridays at the school is more of a recreational day. So all the children were outside playing volleyball, soccer, and other games. I didn't really want to play soccer at first, but Kingsley talked me into it. I'm glad he did. It was fun, but way too hot and humid to be running around!!! I think I drank a gallon of water afterwards. Here's a video clip of me playing....not so well. Steve likes the part where I try to kick the ball and miss! : )

Stephanie, Friderick and I were hoping to make it to Cape Coast. Kingsley was going to drive us there, but something else came up that he had to attend to, so he arranged a taxi for us. We stayed in a nice resort called Moree Beach House. It was right on the beach and had a restaurant and nice rooms. We did get ripped off by the taxi driver who told us that Kingsley had arranged for us to pay 80 Ghana cedis for the trip...(about $57). We couldn't get through to Kingsley to verify this, so asked the resort manager how much it should cost. He said it is 80 cedis from Cape Coast to Accra. Luckyhill is right in between. We were only able to get the price down to 70 cedis.

We ate dinner then went to our rooms. We had a beach house that had 2 bedrooms and shared a bathroom. It cost 60 cedis for the night ($43). It was so nice to have a shower. It was so nice that I took 2 showers : ) I had to make up for all the missed ones.

Lilly is standing outside our rooms. Ours was the first beach house. This was the ocean view from our front door.

Saturday March 14th

The resort manager arranged for a taxi to meet us at 8:00 AM to take us to some of the Cape Coast sites. First we went to Kakum National Forest. It is a rain forest and was beautiful. We went on the canopy walk. You walk on 7 suspension bridges over the trees. I think we were about 200 feet above the ground in some places. Lilly was a bit scared at first and went really slowly, but she got braver and began walking faster.

After the canopy walk, we went to Cape Coast Castle. It was built in the 1500's and is still in great condition. I really enjoyed our tour of the castle. It is a sad part of history as this is where the captured Africans were held until they boarded ships for Europe, America, or the Caribbean during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. I am glad they have preserved this as a part of Ghanaian history.

In Everlasting Memory
Of the anguish of our ancestors.
May those who died rest in peace.
May those who return find their roots.
May humanity never again perpetrate
such injustice against humanity.
We, the living, vow to uphold this.

When we finished our tour, the taxi took us back to the resort. We paid him $10 cedis/hour for the time he spent taking us around places. He said he would take us back to Luckyhill for 40 cedis if we needed a ride. (Yep, the first guy was charging us double!)
We ate lunch and then played at the beach. Lilly loved the beach. She had fun letting the waves hit her ankles and collecting sea shells.

After a long, but fun day, we were anxious to get back to Luckyhill. Kingsley was planning on coming for us, but that didn't work out, so we had our driver come back. He was such a nice man. On the ride back to Luckyhill, we were talking about adoption and he asked if I would adopt one of his children. It is sad that people have such a hard life there. This country is beautiful and could be a wonderful tourist attraction. Ghana has gold, oil and diamonds and should be a rich country, but I guess the wealth hasn't been well-managed. People who work hard still live in poverty.

On the way back to Luckyhill, the taxi broke down. Our driver tried to fix it, but a belt broke and it couldn't be fixed. He flagged down another taxi who agreed to tow him back a few miles to a service station. This new taxi driver offered to take us the rest of the way to Luckyhill, but he was charging too much and wouldn't agree to split the 40 cedis with our first driver. We called Kingsley and he came to get us.

When Kingsley arrived, he had brought a German man with him. So there were 5 adults and 2 children squished into his little Hyundai. About 5 miles into the ride, he blew a tire. The spare tire was flat. We flagged down a tro tro. Kingsley put the spare tire in and had them drop him off at a service station and we stayed on the tro tro to Luckyhill. I was so tired and just wanted to get back. When we got to our stop the tro tro driver was trying to charge us 4 times the price it should have been. I had ridden on tro tros enough to know the price. I was not giving in this time and he knew he was asking too much. I stood there and argued with him for a while until the other riders finally told him to give in and accept the price I offered. One victory for the Abrunis (white people).

When we got back to Luckyhill, I went straight to my room, thinking the children were probably all in bed. The next thing I knew Kobi was standing in my room wanting me to pick him up. He was in such a good mood and was so cuddly with me, it cheered me right up. The other thing that cheered me up was running water!!! I got a shower, which was great after spending time on the beach.


Laurel said...

It's fun to read your stories and be reminded of our time in Ghana a year ago.

No pressure on the blog ... the adoption transition is understandable.


mama of 13

Melissa said...

i am consistently amazed with your experiences. i have never seen such cool pictures! that castle, the rainforest! thats so sad about all the garbage though, i guess we must be pretty spoiled. :) hope life is settling in nicely :)

Lois said...

Thank you for taking the time to post, you and Lilly will always treasure your photos! they make me homesick for my Luckyhill family...

Diane said...

Wow. I am glad you posted so many pictures. It is hard to imagine what it is like over there. It's so much fun to see you. We should go on a double date sometime. :)