Saturday, June 30, 2012

In Sickness and In Health

Bout a week since our last post--time for another update! Annelise and I are still having a blast, experiencing new things everyday, and treasuring every moment here in Ho, but I have to say there were a couple of days this last week that we both wished we could've pushed the fast forward button. But let's start with the good stuff! Last Saturday we went on a daytrip to a stunning town, high in the mountains, called Aburi. We traveled with the other volunteers, as well as our Ghanaian friend, Linda, who cooks for our house everyday, and another volunteer from the US, Mike, who works right across the street at an orphanage. Funny sidenote, Mike is a VMI alumni. Small world! Anyway, we all left bright and early as usual and roadtripped it via Tro Tro for about 3 or 4 hours. Our first stop in Aburi was the Botanical gardens, which were beautiful, with giant trees, lots of flowers, and an old helicopter that had actually crashed there some twenty or thirty years ago. Today people just take pictures of it and climb around inside.One of the trees in the garden was taken over by a fungus and hollowed out, so now its possible to climb inside the tree and look up all the way up to the sky--you can even climb up the trunk from the inside! Also, I thought trees in S.E. Alaska grow pretty big but there were a few in Aburi that would have put them all to shame.

So after exploring the botanical gardens, we all rented mountain bikes and were lead by a Ghanaian guide on a route through the town and the rainforest to another gorgeous waterfall. Swimming in the water felt sooooo good after the long, hot ride. I'm definitely not a very experienced mountain biker so adjusting to the rocky, uneven, and steep terrain took a little while. It was pretty fun though once I got the hang of it and got over my initial apprehension. And the lady that rented us the bikes had cold fresh pineapple waiting for us when we got back---best surprise EVER. Another highlight of the trip was the fact that we found a place that served real pizza and burgers. REAL PIZZA. AND BURGERS. with CHEESE!! Haha the food we've been eating as been quite delicious for the most part, but we've certainly had to adjust our diets, and I swear that burger was one of the best I've ever tasted. It was a good end to a great trip.

On Sunday, the whole group traveled out to a village near Ho, called Saviefe Deme, where a large portion of the volunteers are stationed, who aren't working at McColin's. The village was celebrating Children's Day, and the students put on a big performance for the whole community. It was really sweet and very fun to watch. They sang, danced, and recited poems and bible versus. The mothers of the town cooked food and brought produce to auction off as a fundraiser for the school. Then they came up and sang and danced themselves, inviting us to join in. It was really cool to get a chance to see a community that was so close-knit and so invested in their children. Getting there was really fun too, as first we all took a half hour taxi ride, and then we all hopped on the back of motorcycle "taxis" that took us the three miles down the dirt road that most normal taxis won't drive down. It was a beautiful ride the whole way, as the city faded away and we moved higher and higher into the mountains.

On Monday we had a good day of teaching and coaching basketball, but on Monday night both Annelise and I started feeling really sick. We were up most of the night and by Tuesday morning we both felt really weak and really miserable, and were showing symptoms of malaria. Since we both got sick at the same time though, we figured it was probably something else, so we just stayed home and rested and drank a ton of water. I can honestly say that it was the sickest I've ever felt in my life, but luckily I was starting to feel better after about 24 hours. By Wednesday we were both feeling much improved, so we think it was probably food poisoning of some kind. We took it easy the next couple of days, returning to school Thursday, which was a shortened day due to a PTA meeting during which we were introduced to all the parents. We went back to Saviefe on Friday because McColin's didn't have classes, so we got to see more of the village and experience more of their unparalleled hospitality.

We are thankful that we were able to recover quickly from our illness so that we could continue to have to have these wonderful experiences!

The children dancing during Children's Day at Saviefe Deme

Children's Day

John, the Ghana ACT program director, and Enyonam at Children's Day

Jumping out of the (crashed) helicopter at Aburi

Molly climbing up the hollowed out tree at Aburi Botanical Gardens

McColin's PTA Meeting

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