This morning, I woke up at 6 AM to shower and watch the sunrise. Truly one of the most extraordinary things I have seen here. And you may say a sunrise is just a sunrise. But I feel like it is more than the sight, it’s the atmosphere. There was a slight haze to the sky, although it was clear. The sun held a warm, pale orange glow in the sky as it was rising, which left a gentle gleam behind the trees. With the addition of the lush greenery, the grounds were so serene. Anything could have gone wrong today and it would not have mattered. God sure knows how to paint some captivating scenery, I tell ya.
Anyway, around 7 we all headed down to the canteen for breakfast before our very first day of classes! So, you know how in America, time schedules are extremely rigid and there is much pressure to avoid being tardy? Well, in Ghana, we still have schedules and our group has been very careful to be on time for the bus, meals, etc... yet, we have started every single activity late. I have come to the conclusion that Ghanians here are the most laid-back people I have encountered. They take their time in doing things, it seems. In fact, I was looking through one of Accra’s newspapers and in the classifieds section, nearly all of the job ads said to be looking for someone who is meticulous. I can really jive with that philosophy: to be careful and take extra time if necessary to get something done right. It’s nice to slow down sometimes :)
My first class of the day was my Twi class. My professor’s name is Peprah. He’s a sweet, elderly man, and though we have not seen it yet, something tells me that he definitely has some spunk about him. Twi, he explained to us, is spoken as either a first or second language by a majority of Ghanians. It is actually one of three dialects of the language, Akan, which goes back a long way in time, before colonization and the establishment of country borders in west Africa. Most if not all of the locals here speak Twi, which is why I am so eager to learn how. They seem to appreciate it when foreigners make an effort to learn the language and customs, even if it is just to say good morning (maadye “mah-cheh”) or when thanking a vendor for a purchase or a meal (me dase “meh dah-see”). I really want to get to know some of the students here at the university. Language/cultural barriers can make it tough to understand each other sometimes, but I think it’ll be easier if we both have something to laugh at (like my terrible Twi pronunciation, haha).
The rest of the day pretty much consisted of a tour of the university by the amazing Peter! (He is one of the Ghanian students who has been helping out on this trip) Definitely photos to come. It’s a huge campus and so beautiful. Oh! And on the way back to our hostel, we stopped by to visit a lady selling fruit by the side of the road. I bought a giant fresh mango for 1 Cedi (equivalent to only 50 cents American money!), which she peeled and sliced for me. It was. Literally. Heaven in my mouth. I have never tasted a mango so sweet and delicious. Oh, I am so loading up on those babies while I am here. Those of us doing service learning left soon after to go visit one of the places that we have as an option for our volunteering, an orphanage called Beacon House. The orphanage is currently taking care of over 20 kids, all tested HIV positive. While most of the kids kept a shy distance to watch us curiously, a few of them were so delighted to see us that they were coming up to us and taking our hands. I think it is fair to say that we all left extremely touched. I was hoping to help out here, but the house is only accepting five volunteers, so I opted to do my service hours at the local elementary school instead, which I get to visit tomorrow!
Also, I put up some pictures on my first journal entry! More to come soon!
Mosquito bites: 15!!!!! (Demon ninja insects, I tell you. I have bites on the BOTTOM of my foot. How they managed that I would just LOVE to know. And somehow, I have not seen a single one land on me.)