Friday July 27, 2018
We have all arrived safely to homebase for delicious lunch. After the last of our group arrived we had some dinner and learned who was in our mentor groups.
Getting ready for lights out to begin tomorrow’s activities!
Saturday July 28, 2018
The day started with breakfast, where we had delicious pancakes and fruit prepared by Justine and her helpers. We ate our meals where we eat every meal, on a covered deck that sits on a platform up above the lagoon. We don’t regret wearing long pants as the chilly morning winds move blow the lagoon, but we know that once the sun rises a bit more the heat will come.
After breakfast, we had orientation. During this time, we learned everyone’s name, including all of the local staff members. We ended up playing a name game, but even after that some of us were still unsure of how to say some of their names.
Next, we all learned about the customs here in Ghana, and what to expect when we meet the local people. On behalf of all of my group members here, I can definitely say that the potential marriage proposals stood out the most. But parents, don’t worry, your son or daughter probably won’t come back with a ring because when these proposals happen, they are always in the name of fun.
After the swim test that we all gracefully passed, we had time to shower and get ready for lunch. After lunch, Tigo and Boots gave a presentation on service and sanitation. During this presentation they had us walk in the shoes of those living around us to give us an understanding of the things that we might take for granted. From this we’re able to understand the importance of sanitation and our service. We were taught the history of Meet Me There Lodge, Dream Big Ghana and of the program that we are participating in. Being a part of something this great, where the demand for these compost toilets are really needed, can be overwhelming. I think we’re all excited to see the impact we make with our own eyes. Interestingly enough, this is the only GLA program where we complete our projects from start to finish, building it up from the ground.
Later in the day, we went on a community walk where we walked around some local farms. We learned about the agriculture. We saw shallots, onions, tomatoes and other crops being grown. What makes this farm different to all of the other farms that I’ve seen is that all of the crops are growing in the sand. I never thought that sand had enough nutrients to sustain the growth of all of these crops. But here is where our contribution comes in. After 8 months of using the compost toilets, manure is the result of all of the waste. Local farmers can use this manure to help grow the crops.
It’s only been two days and we have already learned so much. Tomorrow we start service, so we’ll all need our sleep tonight.
Sunday July 29, 2018
I am Olivia and I will be your student blogger for today, Sunday the 29th!
Today was our first day of service and we were all super eager to start our toilets. For breakfast we had omelette with plantains, sausage and peppers, it was delicious. We then headed out to our service sites to see the foundations of our toilets (there are 3 sites in total). We spent about 4 hours out at the sites. The foundation has two sides (chambers) so one can be getting filled and the other can be decomposing. We made mortar, did our first layer of cement bricks and plastered the inside of the chambers. It was tiring work but we all had fun!
When we got back we had wakye, a traditional Ghanian rice and beans dish, with noodles, salad and 2 different sauces. It was also delicious. After lunch we had a public health discussion, where we discussed what public health is and what we can do to improve public health abroad and at home. We watched a documentary about the an area in Accra, where they burn electronic waste to get the metal and sell it. But, they have to burn lots of rubber and plastic making it very toxic in this area. This opened our eyes to a different part of the country we are in.
We had fish and chips for dinner that was delicious as well. This evening we have an Ewe lesson and a mentor group activity! Miss you all but we are all having the best time!
Monday July 30, 2018
Waking up was a struggle and it was colder than I thought it would be. We started with a quick yoga stretch before heading out. Everyone is healthy and helping with the service project alongside our service coordinators.Knowing we are helping the locals boosts our morale even more. Making concrete was difficult but we also get to practice our Ewe with all the kids around site. While at homebase, we pass the time by playing ping pong and Will is the undisputed king.
The food is great and will hopefully stay that way. After stopping and eating we headed to the local medical centre. The staff showed us around and we were able to learn more about healthcare in Ghana with a visit from the Public Health Nurse, Rose.
Surprisingly we get more free time and await dinner. After eating we will set up camp for the night, wish us luck, goodbye.
Tuesday July 31, 2018
Hey. It’s Eryk. I tried thinking of a good start but that was the best I could do. I’d love to say I was on the adventure of a lifetime, surrounded by the things we all think of when we think of Africa.
A sprawling sub-Saharan landscape filled with lions, zebras, and giraffes; maybe a small shack in the distance. But these traditional beauties that people visit Africa to see are not what I have experienced. What I have seen so far has been so much more beautiful. Dzita has around 10,000 people living in it and when you are in it all previous misconceptions of Africa disappear. On the work site, people bustle around doing their jobs and work to support their families. A mix of traditional African culture and Christianity has provided for kind welcomes and thank you’s by all that pass us. Kids surround us: watching, helping in any way possible, and yes, pointing out the visibly apparent fact that I’m a white guy. These comments do no hurt, however. In fact, it is impossible but to smile when surrounded by people living such a life.
The natural serenity is different from anything I’ve ever experienced. I don’t need a dazzling landscape to desire more of Ghana like I have in so many other places, (although the beach offers it). Instead of Africa being the place I have traditionally viewed it as; a place of impoverished people with no tools provided to them to support themselves and their families, I see a place with people who are content with what God has given them. Where people love each other more than they love themselves. A place full of beauty, even if it’s not what most people would call it.
Wednesday August 1, 2018
Today, half of us went on a health walk shadowing Rose, a public health nurse. They went around to different houses, and watched as Rose advised new mothers to vaccinate and protect their children. The other half of us went to our sites to continue work on the toilets. We worked hard and soon the others joined us.
After service we went back to the lodge and ate. Later we left to go to the market and went on a scavenger hunt. We needed to find certain items and buy them at a certain price with bartering. Then we bought things we wanted and went to a seamstress to have clothes made. We watched a documentary after dinner. So that was our day, cya later parents.
Thursday August 2, 2018
Today’s adventures began at the local clinic. It was baby weighing day! We split in to pairs and spread out around the clinic. Some went to the dispensary to record data and distribute medicine, a few went to the public health unit to weigh babies and observe immunizations that were administered, and others went to test patients and watch the locals communicate with their nurses. The clinic has no computers. Everything is written by hand into books that are falling apart.
The babies are weighed by wearing “weighing pants.” The best way to describe these is by imagining a cloth grocery bag with two holes for legs in it. The baby is hung from a hook on a scale by the handle of the pants.
We then came home for lunch and had a mini ping pong competition with Ballo, one of the staff members. Long story short, Will is still the undisputed ping pong champion. Soon after, we left for the Keta slave fort. We were taken on a tour of the women’s side of an old slave fort created in 1784. For a break, we stopped by the lagoon resort for some soft drinks. Next, off to the light house! The view from the light house was beautiful but most of us only stayed up there for a few seconds… it was very high up. A few people found out they had a new fear of heights. So hey, you learn something new everyday!
Once we arrived back at the lodge, we watched (and participated in) a cultural performance put on by a local music/dance group. All in all, today was quite an eventful day that will definitely help us sleep soundly tonight.
Friday August 3, 2018
Today we woke up at a ripe 6:45 to Kaydean’s beautiful singular pitched voice saying “wake up, breakfast is in 15 minute.” After hearing these inspiring words we walked to breakfast at a brisk pace. At the breakfast table, our band of brothers and sisters awaited the joyous arrival of Justine who nourished us with good food. Following this we headed down to do our intense work constructing the extravagant toilets designed by our two favorite people: Boots and Tigo.
After our merry gang finished doing our work we headed back to Home Base on the Tigo Mobile which has become a beacon of controversy as campers fight for the backseat. Before lunch we had a short break to cleanse ourselves of the debris that attached to us as we worked on the toilets.
We then headed towards lunch following Kaydean’s second of his three daily reminders he gives us as the sacred time keeper. At lunch we refueled for the afternoon, chatted, and had a wonderful time. Following lunch we saw the graduation of students at the local learning center, where they learned to do batik (a skill that has to do with crafting
We then headed to the local school where we “learned” the Ewe alphabet and attempted to play football (aka soccer). This resulted in the ball flying far outside the field onto the property of one of the local’s. We then headed back to Home Base and had an intense game of volleyball that lasted many hours and resulted in lots of diving, yelling, and local Ghanaians showing off their athletic supremacy. Following this we had a solid dinner and an even
more solid night activity that was lots of fun, and helped us build leadership skills.
We ended the day by celebrating Sophia’s birthday as Justine brought plantain and vanilla ice cream, concluding day 9.
Saturday August 4, 2018
Today was another fun day in Ghana! We started the day off early and had our usual breakfast at 7:00. After that we all got ready and headed to service.
Today we worked on plastering the last wall and the outside parts of the stairs. It is beginning to look like a toilet. Afterwards, we headed back to the lodge where we hung out and had free time. Some of us went swimming and others just hung out and relaxed. After that we ate lunch and headed off to play soccer with the locals.
In order to get to get to the field, we had to walk through the local community which took us a while. Next, we played two matches of soccer. One game was our group split into two teams, and the other was a tournament with the locals. After we headed back to the lodge. We had a nice dinner and played an opinion game. Overall today was another lovely day in Ghana!
Sunday August 5, 2018
Today we got up an hour early to pull in the fishing nets with the locals, which was really hard to do. We then ate breakfast and went to service. While at service we painted the door and sanded the walls to prepare for painting.
Later on in the day we went to the batik workshop to tie dyed our shirts and learned how to make patterns with wax and dye ( this is called batiking). For our night activity we watched a movie called Girl Rising. It was about girls around the world and the things that happened to them at a young age and we learned a lot. We all had fun today and look forward to tomorrow!
Monday August 6, 2018
Hey parents, it’s Sophia! Today we got to sleep in until 8am, which everyone was happy about. At breakfast, we enjoyed french toast, baked beans, sausage and fruit.
After breakfast, instead of going to service like we normally do, two representatives from Days For Girls, a company which specializes in affordable and reusable female sanitary products, presented to us about problems that women face in developing countries. After this presentation we, learned from Eryk about proper sleeping positions, which made us all want to take a nap.
For lunch, we had jacket potatoes and tuna salad. After, we finally headed to service. We painted the outside and finished the toilet! (besides the roof). We got back and showered the paint off, and then enjoyed our favorite dinner of Red Red.
We ended the day with night activity and mentor groups. Today was another great day in Ghana!
Tuesday August 7, 2018
We started off the day again with a later start at 8:00. Then we headed to breakfast where we had a plantain frittata and fruit.
After we headed to the learning center where Tigo had us paint and decorate some of the walls. We split into two groups and some of us finished our beaded crafts.
Then we went to Auntie’s to pick up our Ghanian clothing. We were there for a while because some people needed alterations, but in the end everyone was happy with the end result. For lunch we had ‘Yum’ Balls (Yam) and a salad. After we had some time to relax and then resumed with our painting.
One group took drumming and singing lessons first while the other group finished. Will truly did sing his heart out and hit the high notes on the ooh. After both groups had finished the music part we joined together for a dance class. We would say that Kaydean was the best.
Then we hung out by the water and took a short canoe ride. It took a long time getting ready for our farewell dinner. It was a meal of jollof rice and goat kabobs. Then we headed to our bonfire where we sang, danced, and celebrated our last night in Ghana!
Shelby & Anna
Today was our last full day. It started with the opening ceremony of our newly built toilets. We all sat through a presentation where our local director, Boots, educated the local families on how to use the toilets. He emphasised the importance of sanitation and personal hygiene. After that, we drove through the market to get to the Volta River. We travelled by boat until we reached Papa’s Beach Resort where we ate lunch and had an intense volleyball match. The girls + Jasper, Papa and Tigo are the reigning champions. For our final activity, we participated in an appreciation circle. Half of the group sat in a circle on the ground while the others went around tapping shoulders. Statements were being read, and the goal was to tap the shoulders of someone you think met that statement. We all left feeling appreciated.
For the staff, the students put on a talent show. Daon showed us how he can walk with one of his legs behind his head, Kaydean showed us his impressive jumping, Eryk “hypnotised” Daon, Will sang Allstar, Elana sang Tunring Tables by Adele, and Julia gave the staff Chinese names. The last act was Sophia, Olivia, Anna, Shelby, and Erin performing the Cha Cha Slide.
This has been an amazing two weeks, and we are sad to leave (partially because we need to leave at 3:30am). Parents, we will see you soon!
Thursday August 9, 2018
Today began our journey’s, in returning home. We are sad to leave Ghana, especially our new family in Dzita! Calling this place home for 2 weeks felt like a lifetime, but we know our hearts will always be here.