Thursday, July 26, 2012

A few things happen

I've discovered that a few things happen to me when I am in Africa.

1. My tan comes back.

I don't know when, but apparently I've been in the sun long enough for a bit of my tan to come back. The only reason I can tell is that I have a white band around my wrist from where my headbands are kept. But maybe I'm not scrubbing all the dirt off when I shower.

2. The calluses reappear on the top of my feet.

I sit on the floor in India. I sit on the floor everywhere actually. But for some reason, the calluses that I have on the tops of my feet have reappeared with a vengeance.  I'll have to go back to India and scrub them away quickly before I go to America.

3. My hair falls out so much that I get a bit worried about losing all of my hair.

I'm losing my hair at an alarming rate. This happened to me while I lived in Zambia and it has started again here in Ghana. I looked down at the floor around me and there is long pink hair EVERYWHERE!!! I'm the only one with long and pink hair here, so obviously it is mine.

But all in all, I'm having a pretty good time. Today we went out on a visit to STAR-Ghana that gives money to CBOs (Community Based Organizations) and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). We also visited an organization called Gender Centre that was started by a group of women lawyers and works on empowering women to stop the violence. They had 2 interns from Canada and a VSO volunteer there. The group is doing amazing work and really shared a lot about how they go about fund raising and applying for grant money with the participants in the event. I chatted really briefly with the 2 Canadian interns while everyone was getting on the bus. If only we had more time, I could have fully explained the Stop the Violence campaign!! I only had time to tell them to check out the website and give them my business card!!!!

 Here is a picture of me and Alice while waiting to go into STAR-Ghana. 

And everyone playing with my crazy hair!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shop Rite

3 days in Ghana and I've stepped back into the surreal world of Africa!

The training centre where we are staying is absolutely fantastic. They are just finishing up the upgrade and the place is new and clean and very comfortable. I have my own room and my own bathroom!

The first day, no electricity. Fine, no worries, I'm used to it (although it was a bit annoying that we couldn't just put the generator on). Second day, no water. Still waiting for that to come back. But I do have a working air conditioner and internet that appears to be faster than the fast line at Sangam.

Needless to say, I've been keeping myself busy on the world wide web.

This morning we went out to Shop Rite at the mall. I was with Gloria, one of the young ladies who is looking after us, and Marie-Paule, the Fifth World Centre Project Manager. What a trip it was.

First, it was the nicest Shop Rite I have ever been in. There also wasn't many people, despite being in Accra's biggest mall. I suppose everything looks empty when you are coming from India.

As I walked through the aisles, it was strange not to be buying a ton of things to stock up on and haul back to the village. When I walked past the Yum Yum peanut butter, I didn't automatically put 3 bottles in the cart and contemplate a 4th. When I walked past the cream crackers though? I couldn't resist and bought a pack. Shop Rite still has the same crazy plastic toys and even the same hair brush I bought when I lived in Zambia. Apparently, Shop Rite doesn't change.

We walked around a bit more and I bought a Strawberry Fanta from Game. I can't even remember the last time I had a deliciously fantastic Strawberry Fanta. Probably sometime in Zambia!!

The tiny bit I have seen of Accra shows a much more developed country than I was expecting. The roads are huge and I haven't seen sign of a pot hole yet, granted I've only been on one road so far. There are a lot more foreigners around and most of them are businessmen in suits. 

Today is a bit of a day off for us. Yesterday we had a big meeting with a few of the ladies from Ghana Girl Guides Association and we gave them a lot to think about. Tomorrow we'll get back into working on preparation for the meeting and hopefully they'll ask for assistance.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Here I go Again!!!

Never did I think I would be going back to Africa so soon and never did I think I would be doing it from India.

Actually, it has been over 2 years that I have step foot on African soil. A lot has happened in those two years. I've talked about my time in Zambia more and more and feel a lot more comfortable with the things I saw and the things that I experienced.

Some things make me smile, others make me think. Some things make me miss Joy.

So here I am, sitting in the Mumbai Airport, waiting to go to Ghana. I never expected there to be so many Indians going between the two continents, but there are. I thought I would get upgraded because who would be flying between Mumbai and Nairobi? Wrong. A lot of people fly between Mumbai and Nairobi. A lot.

Hopefully I'll have a semi-decent internet connection and will be able to blog while I'm there. So until Africa!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Almost Here!

Another trip into the world of malaria. And today, finally, just 8 days before I reach a malarial area, I'm back on the anti-malarial medication.

I've been awful at remembering that I should go and buy it. I would remember in the morning and forget by the time I was done with work at the end of the day.

Today was an auspicious day - I bought my tablets!

Gwen asked if I wanted anything from the Sweet Shop next door. So instead of asking for something, I said that I would go with.

So we walked the 10 steps outside the Sangam gate and found the Sweet Shop closed. This meant a trip across the street to the shop that is right next to the chemist.

Auspicious time indeed!

I have enough anti-malarial tablets (without a prescription!) to last me through my trip. Then I'll have to buy some more when I get back.

Now for the mental preparation for going back to Africa...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beat This!

Whenever I tell someone how long I've lived here, I get one thing: 'Don't you miss home?'

Not really. 

People always unfairly compare India to America and assume that India is awful because it isn't America. Of course things aren't going to be the same as America, it's India!

Where in America can you do this-send your credit card with Gwen to the Hard Rock Cafe for massive amounts of junk food take away and a take away martini for Michie.

Beat that America!