After long journeys from Chicago, London, New Jersey, and China the whole group finally arrived at home base in Dzita last night around 9pm, just in time to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Mama Rita, Giftie, and Jennifer. Shortly after dinner, everyone went to bed to make sure they were rested for our first full day of activities.
Today we got to know each other a bit better and visited the market to purchase fabric and complete a scavenger hunt.
Here is a photo of the whole group from earlier today! We will be updating the blog again soon!
Today marked the start of the soon to be infamous 7:20 wakeups. It was a noble day that saw the GLA inner five initiate operation toilet installation. Packing up Tigo’s car at around 8:30, the inner five shipped out to take on the white throne. The inner five accomplished saw a great days work close out at about 1:15, with the assistance of Ballo, Boots, Tigo, Jasper, and Kendall. Right after, the inner five hiked back to Home Base due to the consideration of Tigo (obviously he was thoughtful enough to realize that we had not worked on our cardio today) and made it back for lunch. After a two-hour rest period, the inner five went to go meet a local herb doctor who took us on a walk and showed us the various herbs and plants used for different ailments. One herb was said to have the ability to cure a victim from poisoning, and if used correctly, could kill the assailant without physical contact. Talk about instant karma. Once the walk was over, the inner five played three highly competitive volleyball games with the staff. As of right now, everyone is lounging and relaxing before another incredible dinner. All is well for the inner five, and it looks to be smooth sailing on the horizon.
The GLA inner five has had a very fun time so far! We just came back from a long day filled with awesome activities! In the morning, we were with the local children. The boys played several rounds of World Cup Soccer Style with children, and it was very intense! The girls passed around the ball, played volleyball and basketball, and ran around with the kids. We took a lot of water breaks. We also tried Kendall’s electrolyte chews, which surprisingly were very tasty. The weather has been beautiful so far. It’s hot and sunny, but parent’s don’t worry we always have our sunscreen on! In the afternoon, we went to a traditional African funeral. It was very different from western funerals. The funeral was a time to dance, sing, and celebrate the life of the one who passed. Matt, Yili, and I danced in the center with the locals. In my opinion, the funeral was interesting because it wasn’t a time to be upset , it was a time to be happy about life. What was most interesting to me was the different ways people mourn. Overall, this trip has been full of new things and new people! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the GLA trip will be like!
Sunday morning had come, and it was back to work for the Inner Five.
We woke at 7:30 AM, groggy as ever, and certainly not feeling
particularly excited about resuming our project so early in the
morning – especially after such an action-packed Saturday. The
previous day was one free of work, spent playing football with some of
the staff members in the morning, and attending a traditional Ghanaian
funeral in the afternoon; blending a familiar activity with a more
novel one. The funeral was nothing short of spectacular – the main
event was a massive dance circle defined only by the large crowd
viewing the procession from the sidelines. At random intervals,
certain (more excitable) partygoers could be seen being carried away
from the dance circle, most of them fully unconscious, as the result
of being “taken by the spirits” – or so we were told. Overall, it was
an eye-opening experience, especially for those of us that were coming
from the Western World. This was an approach to death that was
entirely unfamiliar to us, and it provided a great talking point in
our reflections that night. While it is impossible to declare one type
of funeral to be “better” or “more productive” than the other, it is
clear to me that a celebration-type approach has many key advantages,
and could perhaps teach us a thing or two in the West.
I am a Chinese student who can’t speak English very well. At first, I was worried about going to Africa with all foreigners speaking different language. However, when I arrived I found all GLA people friendly and kind. They encouraged you to speak and to try new things. You never have to worry you can’t fit in. We built compost toilet every morning. I can’t imagine that a compost toilet can help 30 people. My tiny strength can help people a lot. People here are all very friendly. They say “hello” to everyone and help everyone, even though you are foreigner. During the trip I met a lot of kind people. I met an old kind woman who set up a school here. That was the first time I felt so badly to help people like her. We also enjoyed some traditional performances here. Traditional funeral is totally different from the sad one we know. People celebrate it and dance together. I don’t know why but I really like the atmosphere. I think maybe because funeral give people an excuse to gather together. Anyway, you can always find surprise here with GLA.
The students have been taken to the airport safely!