Thursday, May 5, 2011

My suggestion is to cross your legs

Today, I shall write about my bathroom adventures. Trust me when I tell you I am using the term "bathroom" quite loosely. First, the key is to use the restroom in the hotel and then do NOT drink fluids. Tricky, cause it is hotter than the hinges of hell, and sweat runs in rivers down the back. Smell isn't all that great either.

So, after lunch I found myself in need of the facilities. They were out back...yes, very similar to an outhouse. In fact, it was pointed out to me through a window. I asked which door is the girls...and they said either. Turns out left door was for pee, right door for poo... Luckily Andrea had already gone, so she was able to guide me through the process. It looked like a shower, but one stands on the "edge" of the shower and squats to pee. There were pipes that get turned on to flush out the pee. Turns out, unlike Andrea who was able to pee perfectly into a two inch square hole, I can't make pee in a shower stall.

The day progresses. By late afternoon I have to potty again. I'm obviously drinking way too much water because I've pretty much been peeing once day up until now. So, back at the admin building (where I know there is at least a toilet) I've accepted the fact that the toilet paper gets thrown in the trash and that this is the land of squatting, but at least it is a toilet.

I am ready to pull my pants down, but I have sweat so much that I don't actually have to unzip. Suckers just come down. Then I get my Charmin and the stuff sticks to my hands cause I am dripping. In the meantime my skivvies are all sticking to me. It was a total Charlie Foxtrot.

But, I am back at the hotel, freshly showered and thanking the good Lord for American restrooms.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Couldn't forget this

So tonight we FINALLY get the internet. Skype is our friend and calls are made. I'm ready for bed, getting snuggled down when Andrea, on skype, talking to Michelle starts telling of some of our adventures. I really need to video her telling our adventures. It brought tears to my eyes to hear them aloud.

The next time anything good happens, I'm making her tell the story and then I'll just upload it.

Life in Ghana

We have had NO internet at the hotel which totally annoys me. We are supposed to have wireless, but it isn’t working, so Edna said something to them today, and they have gone to purchase a modem for us to use. In the meantime, I have the phone international calling, text messaging and data plan, but ATT seems to be terribly confused because out of about 10 calls to them among us, about half the calls said yes, this works in Ghana and the other half say no it doesn’t. So, I could end up with a totally outrageous bill. No telling.

This is a dirty country. I mean this in several ways. Literally there is dirt everywhere. And it is that red dirt. Flies in the air, and gets on everything. They also just throw trash down. So, there is trash everywhere too. Andrea noticed, that the floors everywhere are usually tile and very clean. I guess that’s the only portion they have control over, so they want to keep things clean, but dust is everywhere.

People dress really nicely. It is weird. I mean men in suits, women in really cute clothes. They don’t even have closets near as I can tell, where do they keep the clothes? I’m taking a ton of pictures, but it is impressive. We’ve been told “traditional clothing” is being made for us to wear on Wednesday, as the photos show, their traditional garb is “bootilicious” so I’m not all that thrilled to find out how tight the clothes are going to be.

In the new hospital we were walking along and I looked up at the ceiling tiles. Bright white. All with finger prints all over them. It made me laugh. Obviously their hands were dirty when they were placed…well, either that or weird shit was going down on the ceiling.

I can’t imagine driving here. There seem to be some general rules of the road and what the strategy is for driving, but it is mad chaos. There would be pavement occasionally but then it would be dirt roads. Then there would be random bumps on the road which forces everyone to slam on their breaks to hit the bumps and then pick up speed again.

I have been so careful about what I eat that I have had no problems food wise, Thank you Jesus!

The people are beautiful. Such dark, clear skin and just handsome people. No fat people either. Occasionally a large woman but nothing like Americans, and mostly very lean.


We slept till 9. It was beautiful. We went down to the hotel restaurant and got breakfast. They serve contintental , but not like European which is good. So we had fried eggs and bread. So yummy.

Manfred and Andrews came by at about 12:00 and brought CD’s (Ghana money). We had to count the money (no, I was not involved, yes, I am perfectly aware that I should never be in charge3 of counting.) It was a little bit of a comedy of errors, but we finally got it all figured out. I’m now loaded Ghana style ; ) And we talked some more about meeting the chief and what our day at the school would be like. Then we headed to the store to get more safe food for me. And Edna forgot her toothbrush. Don’t ask me what she’s been doing in the meantime in that area.

Today is a national holiday. So lots of places are closed today. The hotel’s pool is open to the public during the day, so music started BLARING from the pool speakers at about 10am. They said the music would play until about 9pm.

It seems every time we turn around, Manfred has someone new meeting us. Today Nancy a head teacher at the primary school came by the hotel.

We then headed out to a grocery store. Yours truly was running out of crackers and we all agreed we didn't want me to have stomach problems in the land of no bathrooms, let alone toilet paper.

Grocery store was an adventure. I'd already bought a ton of baby vodkas, so we got some mixers while there. Trust me, my nerves need the alcohol.

Then back to the hotel, dinner and the long awaited internet drives!! We are deliriously happy to be able to contact our loved ones back home!!


** Have pictures but can't get them to load. Sorry : (

We went to Manfred’s church Sunday morning. There was a wedding and a graduation ceremony. Well, as it turns out the graduates were actually the choir, but what choir wears mortar boards and graduation robes? Come on now, how was I supposed to know? We arrived late, and left early, so we were there for only two hours of what I can only imagine was a ten hour ser v ice. I’m telling you these people could put the Baptists to shame. There were several times that they had some serious dancing going down. It was awesome.

The wedding part was interesting, but even though English is the official language they actually speak something else, so we had no idea of what was being said through most of it.

For lunch we went to Manfred’s childhood home. It is probably middle class for them. OH WOW. Very, very small. Corollary of lesson 3 is drinking water is necessarily because you sweat your ass off, but man, peeing is a problem courtesy of the toilets or lack thereof. Used the restroom there, but no way to flush. Nifty.

It was 700 square feet? Main room , bedroom, small kitchen (more of a counter really) and a bathroom (toilet, tile floor, no shower, just a shower head, so when I went to use the restroom everything was wet. God I hope it was from someone taking a shower.

While at Manfreds I went down and got some pictures of the area. There was an outdoor oven that was shared by everyone? And there was a place to grind corn. We ate the rice, pasta combo that is their mainstay. There was some fish mixed in. The meal set my lips on fire (they like their spices).

After lunch we went to Manfred’s wife’s “compound.” He had told us her family was royalty. So, I guess they are upper class…again. A shock to the system to see how very different things are here.

Our next stop was the post office. Sure, you might think why would you see a post office, but turns out when you live on top of each other mail delivery is a problem, so there are hundreds of PO boxes, and people have to get to them to get their mail.

We met up with Isaac, another guy from the school district and split our happy group up. Admittedly we had 7 people in one car meant for 4. Yes, we looked like clowns in a volkswagon getting out.

Then we went to the palace. It was your basic colonial style home. The English built it to make up for being jerks at some point. Some where along the way we gained more people. I swear we were picking up cars and people as we went.

After that we made a visit to the hospital. Justina, Mandred’s wife worked in the children’s ward. The main hospital is really old, like what we would imagine a pre-war building. No AC, high ceilings, people everywhere. I got a cut on my heel on Saturday (no idea of how) then I wore shoes Sunday that really rubbed it. Glad we went by the hospital because Justina put a bandage on me. : )

We left the main hospital, but one of the girls made a mistake about commenting on the conditions (we are learning there are things that we need to keep to ourselves because they feel an intense need to show us anything we ask about. Not a problem for me because I never ask questions but I’m telling you Andrea and Edna ask a gazillion questions. At any rate, they decided we really needed to see the new high-tech emergency center. It was guarded by some sort of hospital security who were convinced to let us in to see it all. They were going to take us to the zoo next, but thank God Edna caboshed that. So, we finally got back to the hotel at about 5pm. We then had a huge discussion and meeting about the reserve they wanted to take us to today. IT was going to require waking up at 3am driving 3 hours (remember the roads now….) and then driving back. Edna caboshed that too. She was great. We needed to rest. Everything is exhausting. It’s hot, and we still hadn’t gotten great sleep.

We met with Manfred, Andrews, and Manfred’s brother to show them what we had brought and discuss the plan etc. I was beyond hungry at this point. They finally left and we ate at about 7:30pm. Then back to our rooms. We went to bed and slept hard. Our electricity went off at about 9am which woke Andrea and I up (Edna’s in a different room), so we slept for 10 hours. It was awesome.