When we first stepped out of the airport in Accra, one of the first things we heard was the Ewe word for “welcome.” Every thing we learned after and including that has been reflective of our time here: “thank you,” “working hard,” “how are you?” The Ghanaians we’ve met, and even the Ghanaians we’ve simply waved at on the street, are always excited to interact and welcome the “yevus” into their villages. The first couple days were full of bonding and exploring the beautiful MeetMeThere Lodge, complete with a lagoon and the most delicious food. The first couple days of work were not exaggerated: we left our sites grimy, sweaty, covered in wet concrete, but glad to be making a difference.
Ghana Blog – July 30
These past few days have been a flash of adventure and fun. Saturday was one of our few days off from work, and we spent it playing football with some locals from the village. The field was made of stark white hard packed sand and the goals were sticks of bamboo with the remains of a net hanging between. We picked teams, mixing the yevu with the Meet Me There staff and the local boys who came. The competition was fierce and the final score of 3-0 didn’t reflect the level play. The game MVP award would have to be given to the legendary Mr. Wildlife, for his impressive goalkeeping skills in the first half and brilliant goal in the second half. After we finished our game we said goodbye to our new friends and returned to Meet Me There. We had a bit of free time and a brilliant lunch from Justine and the rest of the kitchen crew and eagerly anticipated the next portion of our trip, the Volta River boat ride. We drove to the end of the road and hopped out. A long wooden boat was tied to the dock. Everyone packed in, with three or four to a row, and we were on our way. We were lucky enough to have the Black Man Drumming Group provide us music for the entirety of our journey. We left our protected section of river and approached the Volta estuary. We emerged from the mangroves and we were indulged in this grand scene. Behind us was the beautiful mangrove jungle, teeming with with it always seemed as if some creature was moving in the leaves. To our right was the massive Volta River snaking farther inland towards Lake Volta. Ahead of us the colorful deep sea fishing boats decorated the far bank of the river. To our left was the powerful Atlantic Ocean, its enormous waves crashed on the sand bars making a cacophony of noise and seeming sealing us into the Volta. The strength of the Atlantic was confirmed with the sight of a large metal boat wrecked on sand bar. We dropped off some of our passengers and turned around heading back to our final destination, Papa’s Beach Bar. We arrived and each purchased one of the world famous coke floats. Soon the group dispersed, some participating in several volleyball games, some joined in the dancing and drumming provided by Black Man Group, and some sat at the bar befriending local children and engaging in conversation with more friendly Ghanaians. We wrapped up our games and headed back to the boat. The sun was setting and the sky was dyed purple. Our return trip was fun and we were sad to see it end.
The time-lapse of our return journey from Papa’s Beach Bar:
We disembarked and loaded into taxis heading back to Meet Me There. After dinner Josie leading an amazing workshop on creative writing (with the ulterior motive of coaxing a second blog post out of us). Then we had a great late night talk with Alison and Amber and headed off to bed.
On Sunday we got back work plastering the outside of our toilets. We returned, exhausted and covered in mortar (some people had trouble aiming…) but we were quickly rejuvenated by Justine’s Ghanaian style pizza. The Kilele drumming group lead us in a great drum and dance workshop and by the end of the session we could perform a traditional dance and play the accompanying drum part. After the session a few of us talked with several members of the group, Weezy, Cephas, and King Mo. They shared their knowledge on a large variety of topics including but not limited to: Lil Wayne, American rap in general, reggae, Bob Marley’s legendary status, Jamaican slang, American culture’s strong tie to Ghana, Rastafarianism, dreadlocks, hygiene, their impending tour in the U.S., love and marriage, the difference between Ghana and American, and King Mo’s style of English. We had dinner and began the celebration of our birthdays for today. Amber was turning 27 and Ballo was turning 23. As per Meet Me There tradition they were to be covered in water, covered in flour, then thrown into the lagoon. Amber was hesitant but accepted her fate and was quickly soaked, covered in flour and took a reluctant late night swim. Ballo took more convincing, we cornered him in the kitchen and tackled him. Ballo (and everyone holding him) was soaked with dish water. We picked him up and slowly carried him to the deck. He splashed into the water and quickly swam to shore. His birthday hazing was over. We ended the night with a song and a special birthday ceremony lead by Weezy. We reached passed around a cup of sugar and water each saying a blessing to Amber and Ballo and taking a sip.
Amber and Ballo celebrating their birthdays:
We cut the cake and told fable style stories until we all went to bed.
It is Monday morning now and we are all finishing breakfast and our tea and coffee. We are all prepared for our last two days of work to put the finishing touches on our toilets, including the stylized number seventy-five on one of our toilets to honor the privilege we have to provide the seventy-fifth toilet to these communities. We are sad to be leaving so soon but are focusing on or time together now.
Akpe from Ghana and talk to you soon.
Hello from Ghana! We are ten days into this adventure and there’s simply too much to tell you. Ghana is a country that is rich in culture, happiness and of course, fabulous style. Recently, the ten of us visited the local market to find fabrics that we’d like made into clothing so as of Wednesday we will all be dressed to the nines in traditional local clothing measured and tailored to our sizes.
Since arriving, we have noticed the misconception of Africans and their way of life. They are easily the kindest and happiest people I have come across and wherever we go, we are welcomed with so many smiles and introductions. By being well accepted into the country, we are able to embrace their culture to our hearts content which is an incredible opportunity for ten teenagers.
We have also been included in festivities at the home lodge, celebrating staff birthdays and bonding quickly with the adults around us. We arrived as very jet-lagged teenagers who didn’t really know anyone and we will be leaving as one big family.
Thank you to everyone who made this adventure so brilliant.
See you all soon!
It is Friday. Today was orientation day. That means we were able to just hang out at home base the entire day and get to know the area of Ghana we were staying at better. Today was a very fun and relaxing day. We have just arrived to Ghana. After arriving at the airport in Accra, we drove to home base. It was a long drive- about three hours- but a very nice drive. We drove through the city and through villages. We have explored the culture of Ghana and that was when we first saw how different Ghana was from the U.S.
When we first arrived at home base, we instantly fell in love with the place. It has a non-alcoholic bar, volleyball courts, and a nice beach by the lagoon. We all got along very well from the moment we first met each other. We swam in the lagoon for a little while and talked to one another. Then we played games that would help us know each other better. As we got to know each other better, we got along better. Our first day in Ghana was a wonderful experience.
The setting of the lodge is beautiful. When I heard that we would be in front of a “small” lagoon I immediately looked it up on google maps. It looked quite alright. But then when we arrived the first thought that came to mind was: “WOW this place is Beautifull”.
Ballo is the mason responsible for making sure that everything runs smoothly and is being built in the right way. My team consist of 6 people: Ballo, Kailas, Derek, Bea, Amber and me. And then our site has an “audience”. This audience consists of all the children that are located close to our site because they have their summer break they don’t go to school and because us building their toilet is quite exiting they are very excited and always ready to help.
On Wednesday we went to the local market on a scavenger hunt to complete a list of items we had to buy with only 20 cedis to spend which resulted into a lot of bargaining. After we completed that list we had time to walk around the market and buy things of our own. There were a lot of stands with fabrics. So I ended up buying loads of fabric to make those into clothes. It was really interesting to walk around an African market, you see loads of stuff and food that you have never seen before which makes you want to try it.
While I am writing this we are day 11. Today during work we finished painting our toilet and tiling the inside of it. Also making sure that it looks neat again around the toilet. And tomorrow is our last working day. Then Wednesday we are going to the opening ceremony of the 75th toilet built by Dream Big Ghana. Which will be very exciting. That same day we will also be going to the local tailor to get our new Ghanaian clothes which will be awesome.
Well that was it…. see you next time
Today we started the day off with a nice breakfast at 7:30 am. After we finished, we got ready to head to our sites.
Today was our second day of working on the toilets. It was a hard work day that consisted of carrying many, many, bricks and mortar to build the foundation.
After service, we all went for a refreshing swim in the lagoon, and indulged in a delicious Ghanaian lunch.
In the afternoon, we took a taxi to the local health clinic. At the clinic, we learned about the various issues that are treated there. After we went back to the lodge, a nurse named Rose came to talk to us about her job and the health problems that people face in Ghana. These issues ranged from malaria to diarrhea to family planning.
After Rose left, we ate a wonderful dinner prepared by Justine and all of the kitchen staff. We then all moved to the summer house for our ewe lesson from Professor Boots. We learned a few common words and phrases so that we could make some conversation with the locals. Some of the most important words we learned were “Akbe” (thank you), “E f’oa” (how are you), and “rrotu” (shut up).
After the ewe lesson, we all took turns swallalala-ing papa’s coke floats. After joking around for a while, we all headed to bed exhausted from another long and exciting day in Ghana.
The first day i came in to Ghana 🇬🇭 i was shocked 😮 to see how the people live here. It was all chaos in every way you can imagine. People are driving 🚗 like crazy, everywhere you go there are mosquitoes, and trash everywhere. As my days with GLA in Dzita went by I learned how to appreciate everything and I learned a lot as well for example, that men can have multiple wives. First I wasn’t really fond of this idea 💡. But when the nurse 👨⚕ came and talked about it and said that they actually don’t really care and that it was normal as it is part of their culture. This made me aware that you have to respect the culture.
Another example was that the local people here in Dzita are really happy with almost nothing, whilst the spoiled western people wouldn’t be happy with what they have.
People here in Ghana 🇬🇭 are awesome 😎 and are happy by just giving them a small high five 🙌. I am definitely coming back for the surf 🏄 here because the waves 🌊 are incredible.
August 1, 2017
These words imply that there is a difference between Jasper and I, which I guess there slightly is as Jasper is more capable at what we are doing here in every single way. However, working here in Dzita with Jasper by my side has been one of the greatest things about my trip thus far.
So another tidbit of info is that there are kittens that life here at the Meet Me There lodge. I noticed the kittens the first day. Back then they were in a little area of the garden. Now they have moved out and are everywhere, usually in a kitten clump though. It’s adorable.