Remember how yesterday I mentioned the water being turned off in the hostel yesterday? Well, I had the pleasure of finding out last night that this includes the toilets. As in none of the toilets are working. None. Of the toilets. Are working. What I have discovered so far is that a nice, clean, working bathroom is a luxury. (There’s also typically no toilet paper to be found. We were told to pack our own.) Even at the bar I was at last night, there was a single outdoor stall with a broken toilet and then, I guess, a little pee corner by the fence for the guys? I am already pretty used to the fact that men just pee everywhere here, whenever they please. In fact, I think it’s not fair. It’s either some kind of natural born advantage or a sick cosmic joke played on women. If I wanted to go pee outside because the toilets aren’t working, the clouds would open up and a booming voice would say, “Sorry, Gabi, you’re going to make a mess of yourself and ruin your shoes. But at least you can shower afterward! NOT! The water is still turned off hahahaha #problem?” You win this time, boys. Anyway, we were all a little discouraged by the water disappearance. I think I can speak for my group when I say that we are pretty evenly caked in a layer of airplane sweat, followed by another layer of sweat from the Ghanian heat/humidity, followed by a layer of mosquito lotion.
Thankfully, we received some good news later in the day that the water was back! But not before our group discovered that there was a working water tank downstairs that we could use to fill up buckets for whatever we needed. A few of us decided to take “bucket showers,” which basically consisted of using our hands to splash bucket water on ourselves in the shower stall. The water was more or less room temperature, but because of the warmth of the humidity, it felt ammaaazzing. It got me thinking... I only needed about half of a bucket (which I imagine holds about 2-3 gallons of water) to clean myself more or less. To think that one requires only so much water for a shower, compared to how much water I normally use when I take showers at home is pretty ridiculous and I don’t think I need to say why.
After my initial bucket shower, I layered myself in what would become my daily regimen of sunscreen and mosquito lotion. I then joined the group to have lunch and then head down to orientation where we received our school schedules and a pep talk on health issues and appropriate cultural etiquette. My schedule, I love. Mondays will begin with my Twi class (pronounced roughly like “chwee”) from 7:30 am - 10 am, where I’ll learn to speak some of the local dialect. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I’ll have my Social Service Delivery class between 1:30 and 4:30. Throughout the week, I’ll be volunteering at a local school helping teach/tutor kids in grade school as well as being available to run errands for teachers. Sometime during the semester I’ll be able to organize some kind of creative project of my own for the kids. Teaching has always had a little corner of my heart, so I can’t wait. I’ll be serving at the school about 11-12 hours a week.
Finally, we finished off a day at the mall where we were able to buy some commodities at what seems to be like Ghana’s Wal-Mart equivalents, Game and ShopRite. We had a very limited time to spend because we were really only there for essentials like exchanging money and buying cellphones/modems, so I hope to go back sometime. While investigating ShopRite, I discovered that they had my absolute favorite Lays chips! Sour cream and Onion, baby. Broke into those puppies immediately. Ghana, I’ve never tried your sour cream or onions before but they must NOT be like the States', haha. Still tasty, though! But you sure got something right; the bag is packed to the brim with chips rather than a deceptively disappointing half bag and puffed air combination that I’m so used to at home. But hey, whatever takes me home for even just a moment is fine by me :)
Till next time!
Means “walk well” or goodbye in Twi.
P.S. I’ve started to take a mosquito bite count, for kicks. It has begun.
Mosquito bites: 4