Posted by: devonhamilton | October 27, 2010

HIV/AIDS Awareness

On Monday Lisa and I led a workshop for the first year students on MDGs 4 (reduce child mortality), 5 (maternal health), 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases), and 7 (promote environmental sustainability). We ran a few short activities and games to promote each activity. Unfortunately, this meant that we didn’t get a lot of time to spend on each goal, as each workshop is only an hour and a half.

For MDG 6 we did a high risk/medium risk/low risk activity. To begin, you write those three categories on the board. Then you hand out pieces of paper with various activities on them (ie. Sex with a condom, mosquitoes, hugging, sharing a toothbrush) and students place each activity in the category they believe it corresponds with. We learned a few things for this activity, including the fact that the students didn’t know what the word “risk” meant – which we of course found out at the conclusion of this exercise. For the most part this activity went well but we found that the students hold a strong belief that HIV can be spread through saliva, and that activities such as sharing cellphones or sharing cups are high-risk activities. We spent some time explaining the ways HIV is transmitted and emphasized that it cannot be spread through kissing, sharing cutlery, or mosquito bites. However, our post-test from the end of the lecture shows that the students didn’t absorb this as the majority of them continued to classify sharing plates as a high-risk activity for HIV transmission. Regrettably this was our last workshop with the first years so we won’t be able to get into more detail with this; however, another YCI group will be working in Takoradi in January so perhaps HIV is something they will be able to focus on.

Yesterday afternoon I taught English to the third year class with Kelly and Steph and we distributed a reading comprehension exercise that focused on HIV/AIDS to tie into their next MDG workshop. This class was very informed on the ways HIV can be transmitted, and said that they have had workshops focusing on HIV/AIDS in the past. A previous YCI group that was in Koforidua in January created an HIV/AIDS teaching manual which we have found very helpful!

My love for the animals here is a bit of an ongoing joke between the five of us – everyone else is obsessed with the cute kids and I’m running over to look at the goats (who are also cute kids!). There are always dogs and chickens running around the school and yesterday when we were teaching English a couple of chicks came into the room and started running around, which I of course loved. However, I guess this is more of a nuisance than anything to the students who are completely accustomed to this, and one of them started CANING the chick! I let out a yelp when the chick got caned because it squawked and feathers flew everywhere. Kelly said that the student turned to her and said “This doesn’t concern you” which we found fairly amusing. The bottom line is that they managed to get the chick out of the classroom… and it didn’t return.

This weekend is our last weekend in Takoradi and our plans are still up in the air, although we have just been informed that we are invited to a Ghanaian wedding on Saturday! Our custom-made clothes by our tailor should be ready on Friday so hopefully we can wear them. We also have plans to go out dancing on Saturday – which reminds me that I should write an entire blog post on dancing in the near future.

In other news it is getting hotter here and I would even say that yesterday’s heat bordered on unbearable. Even the Ghanaians were commenting on how hot it was! Apparently Christmas is one of the hottest times of the year here. Unfortunately for us, once we move to Koforidua we will be without the benefit of an ocean breeze!

PS: I have been asked a few times what my “new” address will be when we move to Koforidua, so I would like to say once and for all that my address will be the same. The YCI address is a post office box at the airport in Accra and that is the only place mail can be sent to, no matter where I am! I haven’t received any mail yet but am looking forward to the prospect!

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 25, 2010

Last week in Takoradi!

This week flew by for all of us – I think we really hit our stride. Dividing the workshops between the five of us has been a big help because it means that while we are giving a workshop, we know someone else is planning the next one. Week 4 is now officially our last full week in Takoradi. We will be giving workshops everyday this week, and then our final report on Takoradi is due on November 3rd. November 4th is our travel day to Koforidua and we begin workshops there the following Monday (November 8th). For those who don’t remember, Koforidua is two hours North of Accra (see a map under the “Where I am Staying” tab).

We’ve found out that in Koforidua three of us will have our own rooms, and two of us will be sharing a room – quite a change from sharing one room between the five of us! Koforidua will be a different experience from Takoradi in that it is a more rural setting than the urban setting we are experiencing here; we will also be working extensively with “peer mentors” there who are in our age group, who have been trained in various topics previously, including HIV/AIDS from the last YCI group this past summer. From what we know they are interested in learning more about proposal writing in order to secure funding for future community outreach projects.

We continued to do workshops on the MDGs, with a focus on MDG 1 (eradicate poverty), 2 (universal primary education) and 3 (promote gender equality). At OIC we gave our general MDG overview to a new group of students, and then presented workshops on proposal writing and project management to the teachers. I was nervous about the proposal writing workshop because there is a lot to cover, and we only had an hour and a half. We also needed to go over a logical framework analysis (LFA) during this workshop, which is something we spent the whole year perfecting at school! The teachers were interested and understood the LFA enough to ask us some questions about it at the end. According to our post-test they would like us to cover the LFA in more depth, so that is something we will have to look into for our last workshops there this upcoming Friday. Our post-tests are also showing that a lot of the information from our workshops is being absorbed by the students so we’re happy to see some of the impact we are making.

On Saturday we took the day off and visited one of the hotels on the beach here in Takoradi. You can pay a small fee there to use their pool (12 cedis) and generally just lounge around, and I think it was worth it! The food there was really good too (although more expensive than what we are accustomed to), and between the six of us we tried snapper (grilled & barbeque), macaroni & cheese, and the beef burger. Part of the day was overcast but luckily the rain didn’t come until after we were finished dinner. We’ve also been playing a lot of Hearts, but I still need to learn Euchre.

We were invited to attend a Presbyterian Church service on Sunday. The service is in English from 7am-9:30am and a Twi (pronounced “chwee”) service from 10am-12pm. The Twi service would have been interesting to see but we were more concerned about knowing what was being said, so we went to the early service with our friend from the community, Augustine. There was singing and of course some dancing. We also had to come to the front and introduce ourselves to the entire congregation; so I am “Devon” but my Ghanaian name is “Esi” as I am born on a Sunday (as are two of the other girls). All the women at Church were wearing such nice traditional clothes that it made me wish I had ordered something more traditional than just a skirt from the tailor here! The clothes we are having custom-made are not going to be ready until next Friday. He had a sample skirt that I really liked (with pockets!) so I’m having that made and apparently I have enough fabric for a shirt, too. Pictures to come soon!

Other news: I had my first bout with sickness this week, as I was up all night after eating spicy rice that tasted a little fishy (literally). Lesson learned – if your food tastes suspicious, stop eating it. I was lucky in that it only lasted overnight and I didn’t have to take any medication. I’ve also finished both “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl who Played with Fire” and I don’t understand what all the hype was about. Does anyone agree with me here? Every 5 seconds the characters are described as “frowning” or having their eyes “darken.” It just didn’t do it for me. In all fairness they did keep my attention and I finished them pretty quickly, but at the end I just felt “meh”. Now I am on to “Eat, Pray, Love” which I have also heard mixed things about. Other ways we are entertaining ourselves: We have watched all of Season 1 and half of Season 2 of “The Big Bang Theory.” We also have gotten our hands on “Bored to Death” but we’ve only watched one episode so far. I have also enjoyed texting with some of you at home – if I haven’t texted you it is because I don’t know your cell number by heart. I know you all have my number, so text away!

Last time I saw a TV it said that it was 33 degrees in Accra, so I would say that’s more or less the temperature that we’ve been experiencing. The rain made it cold enough last night for me to put on the long sleeve shirt I hadn’t touched since Amsterdam, and didn’t think I would touch again until I return to Amsterdam on December 13th. Hope everyone in Canada is well – we’ve heard from friends who have already had to put on their winter jackets or had snow (so sorry to hear that).

I am hoping that we have our final report on Takoradi completed one day early (November 2) so I can spend my birthday on the 3rd sitting under a palm tree before the big move to Koforidua. We’ll see what happens!

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 19, 2010

Week 3 begins

On Saturday we headed to Busua Beach which is about 20-30 minutes from Takoradi. It was absolutely gorgeous there! Hopefully we can head back again while we are still here, because I don’t think one day was enough! It is too bad I don’t surf because the waves were massive!

On Sunday we were back into the swing of things, running a workshop for the Rotaract of Takoradi at night. We presented our MDG workshop this week and we are going back next Sunday to present on proposal writing and project design. The current project they are working on involves the children’s hospital, but unfortunately it does not begin until November 13 and we are due to be in Koforidua by then. The meeting this past Sunday was informal, and they told us that we need to be very dressed up for the formal meeting this upcoming Sunday. The vice-president was kind enough to guide us through the market in Takoradi so we have all picked out some gorgeous fabrics to have made into dresses! There were so many fabrics to choose from and the one I chose ended up being 12 cedis for 4 yards (when I left the exchange was 0.70 CAD to 1 cedi, I’m sure it is more or less the same). On Tuesday afternoon we are going to the seamstress to design our dresses, which is expected to cost around 10-15 cedis. Needless to say we are all very excited! I will definitely have to post pictures of the end result.

This week should be a bit more interesting because we are covering a few of the MDGs in-depth whereas last week was an overview. Last week we surveyed the students on which MDGs they were most interested in, so hopefully we can have some good discussions. I should add that I learned a lot about Ghana, the MDGs, and possible courses of action from the students last week when we divided them into groups to brainstorm solutions.

We are still teaching English in the afternoons but this has presented its own challenges, especially in terms of engaging the students! We weren’t given much guidance as to what their English level was at, so it has been hard to design lesson plans. We know that they need to learn essay writing for their examinations, so that is what we have been trying to focus on. Doing back-to-back workshops is tiring, especially when we have to work extra hard to get the students to participate.

I have been feeling very tired the past few days and I am sure our diet is a huge part of that. Every day for breakfast, which we eat at the Worker’s College, we have toast with jam and some fruit with either tea or coffee. We usually don’t eat another meal until dinner which we have between 2pm and 7pm. We never eat after dinner because the portion sizes are fairly large and we are always really full afterwards! I have been eating a lot of chicken and rice but I am finding myself craving VEGETABLES all the time. I’ve been taking a multivitamin but it’s supposed to be taken after every meal (on a full stomach) and the only “full meal” I eat is dinner so I’ve only been taking it once a day! I can’t complain about the food though, even though we only eat at a handful of restaurants they are all very good!

Our midterm report for Takoradi is due on Friday – can you believe it? My stay in Takoradi will already be half over as our current date of departure is November 4. I think we will know by the end of this week whether we are extending our stay here or not.

Running water is out again but I am enjoying the sunshine!

PS: Thought you all might like to know I’ve been trying to learn some full sentences in Fante. It’s not easy because so much of it is dependent on which syllables you put emphasis on. So far I have mastered “I’m full” and “I like little goats” (I think I have previously written about my goat obsession). I can also say “black person” – I know that sounds incredibly offensive but when people call you “obruni” (white person) its perfectly acceptable to say back! I’ve definitely gotten some kids to laugh with that one!

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 15, 2010

Our accommodations

This week I have had more Internet access than expected because we keep coming to the Internet café to do additional research for our workshops. We have two workshops with the teachers at OIC today but instead of all five of us doing both, we have split into teams. I am doing a Leadership workshop in the afternoon. Tomorrow is a day off so I think we are all looking forward to that!

Yesterday I posted some pictures from around Takoradi. Today I have taken some pictures of my room and accommodations so you can get a better idea of what my life is like in Takoradi…

My room: Technically all five of us are in one room together but there’s a half-wall dividing it in two. My bed is by the front door and Lisa is in this half of the room with me.

My bed: Lots of supplements and I am halfway through “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Calendar: Packed with workshops! The days are going by quickly because we have been so busy.

Other half of the room: Kelly, Jenna and Steph sleep on the other half of the room. This room is really bright with big windows! You can see Jenna and Kelly’s beds in this photo, and Steph’s is on the right (out of view).

Bathroom: This is our shower, when we have a running shower – so far about half the time we’ve been here. The water is cold so it can be really refreshing after spending time outside.

This is my shower the other half of the time. The huge bins are filled with water and you dump smaller buckets or water over yourself. It’s actually pretty efficient and you realize how much water you use when you shower! It can be hard to get the shampoo out of your hair, though!

Hope you are all enjoying regular updates; who knows how long they will last. We tried a new restaurant last night (yay!) which was delicious: I had fried chicken and jollof rice. Tonight we will probably head out for dancing and live music; we went out last Friday and it was a lot of fun. Hopefully we can get a beach day in on Saturday, and we have a workshop with the local Rotary club on Sunday evening before our week at the YMCA and OIC starts again on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 14, 2010

Around Takoradi

This morning we walked down to the harbour – finally! I don’t know how we went so long without going down there… we’ve been really busy! Last night we hit up a new restaurant (we basically frequent the same three) and I had a really good pizza. Not sure if was worth the hour and a half wait, but it was tasty!

We are heading to the OIC (Opportunity Industrialization Centre) to teach the same MDG introductory workshop to a class of about 40 students. On Friday we are going back to OIC but running a workshop for teachers, which will focus on Leadership in the morning and the MDGs in the afternoon. We are looking into going to Busua this weekend and doing some swimming, so hopefully that plan comes together.

In the meantime here are some pictures I have taken from around Takoradi. I love the goats but this is the only picture I’ve gotten of them so far. I will be sure to take some pictures of my accomodations so you can all see where I am calling home for the next couple of weeks.

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 13, 2010

Workshops

Tuesday marked our second day of MDG workshops and it went really well. We went from teaching a class of eight on Monday to a class of 30-40 students on Wednesday. Fred had some helpful ideas and constructive criticism after the first workshop, so we really tried to work to incorporate his suggestions.

This time, I felt a lot more confident while I was speaking and I made sure to include a lot of student involvement, in particular having them read most of the information that I read to them in the previous workshop. During the introduction of our presentation, after introducing YCI, I talk about Canada and ask them what they know about it. It turns out that they are not familiar with Canada at all so I’ve had to come up with a little summary of things that are “typically Canadian.”

Right now we are without a map so I have been referring to Canada as “Barack Obama’s hat” because they know Obama (actually they love Obama, but that is for another blog entry). The first time I explained that we have four seasons in Canada the class wasn’t interested, but during the last workshop they wanted to know all about the seasons. I explained that we basically have two cold seasons and two warmer seasons, and that sometimes it gets as hot as it is in Ghana in Canada, but we call it a heatwave; while other times it is so cold you don’t want to leave your house. They loved this and wanted to know the breakdown month by month. One student even asked if it rains in Canada the same way as it does in Ghana! I wish we had more pictures and resources to show them!

Some students asked me about Canadian food and a “traditional Canadian meal” – but we don’t really have one! I told them about poutine since they eat French fries here, and I told them we eat some other foods that I saw listed on menus here, like hamburgers and pizza. It is challenging to summarize your country in a few minutes!

From the introduction we move on to an icebreaker, which in this case was the human knot. Afterwards we divide the class into teams and quiz them on various parts of the workshop. Instead of having them raise their hands we used a method we used in class: you have to make an animal noise in order to “buzz in”. In this case we had the cat team and the cow team. The students got very competitive and it was hilarious (although I think we may have disturbed some of the other classes!).

We surveyed the class to find out which specific MDGs they would like future workshops to focus on. They are most interested in MDG 6 (HIV/AIDs) although it seems there is some degree of interest in all of the MDGs with the exception of 7 and 8 (environmental sustainability and global partnership). Outside of the YMCA we will also be teaching MDG workshops at the OIC, another school in Takoradi.

We taught English in the afternoon and although we were given a couple of textbooks we had no idea what level the students were at. I had the idea of having them write autobiographies: that way when we read them over we can see what they are having trouble with (spelling, sentence structure, grammar, etc) and also learn about the students.

A large number of students wrote about a game called “ludo”, which from my understanding is somewhat similar to backgammon. I hadn’t heard of this game yet so I’m really curious about it. In the last paragraph we asked them to write about their hopes and dreams, basically what are they studying in school and what kind of job they want to get. Many students wrote that their goals were to support their families and make them proud. We wondered how many North American students would write that as their ultimate career goal!

One student in the third year class is very curious about Canada, and she told me it is her dream to go to Canada someday. I was telling her that there is a Ghanaian community in Ontario and some Ghanaian restaurants in Toronto – but she was mostly concerned about the weather. She wanted to know how cold it gets in Canada, but there is really no way to quantify that kind of coldness to someone who lives in 45 degrees (taking humidity into account!).

I have really enjoyed getting to know the students so far, it has been fun interacting with them. I try to ask them about Ghana as much as I can, especially what things I should make sure to see and what foods I should try. I have been too shy to try my Fante on them but I have learned some new words: goat, dog, cat, eat, rooster, go away (sometimes necessary with all the attention, haha). My wedding ring was noticed today and I was congratulated on my (non-existent) marriage!

We are running workshops everyday for the next couple of weeks so I’m sure they will fly by. Our plans are up in the air at the moment and there is a chance that we will be in Takoradi a week longer than expected, delaying our arrival in Koforidua by a week. Will keep you posted of new developments!

PS: As promised, here are the pictures from Cape Coast castle.

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 11, 2010

Touristy Weekend

We had our first MDG workshop today and it went pretty well. It was with one of the smaller classes so that was a nice start off point for us. We have been asked to teach English in the afternoons so it looks like we will be fairly busy while we are in Takoradi!

On Sunday we were supposed to go to an Internet café to do additional research on the MDGs for our workshops, which start Monday. However, we failed to realize that absolutely everything is closed on Sunday. We designed our first workshop based on the books, documents, and other resources we already had. We met with the YMCA on Friday so it looks like we will be doing workshops there every morning, rotating which classes we are teaching.

On Saturday the principal of the YMCA, Emelia, invited us to join her and some friends on a sightseeing trip. We caught a bus around 8am and headed to the Canopy Bridge. This is one of only four canopy bridges of its kind in the world (the others are in Peru, Malaysia, and somewhere else that I can’t remember). I was a bit apprehensive about going on these bridges due to my fear of heights, but I did well! There are seven bridges and they range in height up to 40m. I am glad I did though, as the views from the top were absolutely stunning!

Afterwards, we toured the Cape Coast castle, a UNESCO site. This is where Ghanaians who were forced into slavery would be held for up to three months before they were put on ships to the Americas. They had an extensive museum on the history of the “Gold Coast” which we were able to view before our tour. The exhibits included the shackles used on slaves, the branding irons, and blueprints of the ships and how many slaves they carried. While on the tour we stood in crowded chambers with three small holes for light and ventilation and were told that 200 men at one time would occupy one of these chambers – and it felt crowded with our group of 30 or so. You can still see scratch marks on the floor and walls from people who were desperate to get out. We also saw the women’s quarters as well as the punishment cell for the women who refused the advances of officers, and for men who tried to escape. The men in particular were held in a small cell (all together) and were not given food or water until they died. We walked through the “door of no return”, where these men and women would go through to board the ship, to never return – many did not even survive the journey in these ships or “floating coffins”. Our tour guide was excellent. This was on the top of my list of things to see while in Ghana so I am surprised and happy to have crossed it of so early! (The pictures are on someone else’s camera since they charge an extra fee per camera: will try to post later!)

On the way back we were taken to meet the chief of one of the villages. The meeting was very traditional, although they were kind enough to explain and narrate the process for us. I had read about the protocol of meeting chiefs so I knew some of what to expect. We couldn’t speak directly to the chief, but through linguist, and he spoke back through a linguist – so we never spoke directly. After making an offering to him, we introduce ourselves and tell him why we are here. Then we all drank some sort of gin (made of palm?) from the same glass to symbolize our acceptance of each other and willingness to work together. Before taking our drink we pour some on the ground as an offering. Afterwards, the chief offered us beverages to welcome us into the community. We were offered either Star (beer) or Malt Guinness (non-alcoholic) and we all made the unfortunate choice of Malt Guinness which must be an acquired taste! We were also treated to dinner afterwards which was delicious: rice, chicken, vegetables, and fries! It was my favourite meal I’ve had here so far.

We saw another cockroach last night and they are surprisingly large. Right now I am too afraid to kill them (someone else does it) but maybe by the end of my time here I’ll be able to! I’ll need to get a picture of one soon (luckily I have only seen a few) but right now I won’t go close enough to hold something up to show some sort of scale. Up until Saturday I had only had one running shower here but our running water miraculously returned Sunday morning, which was amazing. The past week has been full of bucket showers and no running tap. I guess you don’t realize how much you take flushing the toilet for granted until you share a bathroom with four other girls and aren’t able to! We’ve gotten pretty good at flushing it by pouring a bucket of water down the bowl.

We haven’t made it down to the beach yet so I think that is currently our plan for the upcoming weekend. We’ll see what happens!

PS I have located the post office so I will try to get some letters out shortly!

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 8, 2010

Ghana: The Gateway to Africa

After that long layover in Amsterdam, we finally arrived in Ghana on Monday night. When we got in at 7pm it was completely dark, and the humidity hit me like a wall as soon as I stepped off the plane. We spent two days in Accra doing orientation with Fred, our program officer; and Jane, our program manager. Fred is Ghanaian so he has of course been invaluable to us as we have tons of questions about everything.

On our second day in Accra we went to meet the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana! It was interesting to be able to talk to some CIDA staff members about partnerships between Ghana and Canada. After that we had dinner with a Canadian woman who has been living in Ghana for over 15 years to hear her experiences with culture shock, and being a Canadian in Ghana. During this conversation a man came over and asked if we were from Canada. We were surprised that he didn’t guess American first. When we said we were from Toronto he said “Newmarket?” It turns out this guy actually lives in Newmarket so we were both a little blown away to run into each other in a Chinese restaurant in Accra. He also gave me his number to call in case we need anything!

There has been a bit of a change in plans in our project: we are starting in Takoradi instead of Koforidua. We drove to Takoradi yesterday and it took about 4 hours. I couldn’t resist sleeping and listening to my ipod but it was also interesting to look around. People sell things on the street and walk up to your car window to sell you food and other necessities. During this drive we bought “Fan Ice” which is ice cream that comes in a little bag. You rip the corner of the bag off with your teeth and squeeze it into your mouth! It was really sweet – it actually taste like icing. We tried vanilla but I heard that there is also chocolate and strawberry so I will be on the lookout for that. I have been enjoying the local food. The first meal we had we ordered a bunch of dishes and split them so I’m not 100% sure what they all were, but they were really good. I tried red-red which is fried plantain with baked beans and yesterday I had groundnut (peanut) soup with rice. The food I have tried hasn’t been particularly spicy, but I’m not very tolerant of spice so I am still adjusting. Last night we went out for dinner but none of us could resist the pizza and salad on the menu!

I think that my research really helped to prepare me for Ghana, since I read about it extensively before coming here. I also found a ton of blogs on the internet that were incredibly helpful. Even though a lot of it has been what I expected and pictured in my head, I’ve also learned that nothing can actually prepare you for being here. Walking through the busy market yesterday with people selling things and saying things to us in Fante was a bit overwhelming!

We had our last day of orientation yesterday and Monday we will be teaching a workshop at a local school on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). We did a bit of workshop planning today which was helpful. We aren’t too sure what to expect with this first workshop so I’m sure it will be a big learning experience. I’m so excited to meet the students!

I think I am adjusting well. We have experienced power outages and our water has stopped running a few times. I took my first bucket shower today and it was a lot better than I expected – any shower is better than no shower. It gets pretty hot in the day (in the sun) in Takoradi but we are also on the coast so we get a nice breeze which is much appreciated!

Thanks to everyone who emailed or messaged me to ask how I am doing. My access to the internet has been limited/non-existent until this point so that is why I didn’t get back to you. I have my cellphone now so feel free to call, text, or skype it – get the number from Jord or my parents.

And of course thank you for all the words of support and encouragement! More frequent updates to come as I am now settled in Takoradi until November.

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 4, 2010

Layover in Amsterdam

Right now it is 1:46am in Toronto, and 7:45am in Amsterdam. I am currently sitting in the “comfort chairs” watching the sun come up and contemplating a nap. Here is a picture I just creepily took of where I am right now:

Kelly and Jenna went into the city and the other three of us stayed at the airport. I didn’t sleep on the plane at all and I’ll be seeing Amsterdam on the way home for a few days.

I arrived at Pearson in the early afternoon and check-in and security were both pretty quick. Here’s a terrible picture of me with my boarding pass:

Our flight with KLM was really good, I can’t believe how much food they distribute! The plane was absolutely massive too. The flight went by fast – it was only 5 hours and 55 minutes! The airport here is really nice but I couldn’t find free WiFi anywhere! I’m not sure how long I will have to wait until I have internet again so I wanted to make sure to touch base with everyone.

I’m going to try and grab some hours of sleep before our next flight. Talk to you from Ghana!

Posted by: devonhamilton | October 3, 2010

Last Night in Toronto…

It’s almost time! It’s my last night in Toronto… which I’ve been excited about and dreading at the same time. It’s nice to finally be going to Ghana, but goodbyes are never easy! Here are three boys I’m going to miss (in no particular order):

…and of course all my other friends and family too, who I didn’t think to take pictures of today. In leaving my packing to the last minute I’ve also realized I have no idea where my camera charger is, and I’m not sure if I’ll have time to get one tomorrow. My battery is full right now and my computer may or may not charge my camera (?!?!) so I’m just going to roll with this…. I am going with four others so it’s not like there’s going to be a shortage of pictures. So we’ll see.

Bag

My bag is ridiculously heavy but everything fit inside. I’m trying to re-evaluate everything that’s in there, but I think it’s a “learn as you go” thing. The problem is that I don’t want to get to Ghana and have forgotten something (although to be fair everything I have read says that most things are available). I know I overpacked on clothes but they aren’t particularly heavy so I’m tempted to take them all anyway. You live, you learn!

Trust me that bag is heavier than it looks. I won’t be carrying it around much (2 days in Accra for orientation, then 5 weeks in each community) and a good portion of it is toiletries and things I will run out of that won’t be weighing down the bag for the whole trip. I guess I just keep picturing myself carrying that bag uphill and hating myself for making it so heavy.

Jord and I were supposed to go out for dinner tonight but that kind of fell through due to my procrastination (and therefore extreme stress about packing). We’re ordering in instead because I don’t think there’s any way I could have enjoyed a nice restaurant meal tonight – there’s way too much going through my head. We even got to have turkey last night because my Mom made us Thanksgiving dinner!

Looking forward to all my new experiences. Thanks again to everyone for their kind thoughts, phone calls, and overall support. Hopefully you will be hearing from me – from Ghana – soon!

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