and have started this new year off right!!! I am back in croatia after my
trip to ghana and wowowowowowowow....what an experience....here in croatia
it's cold...we actually had a snow day this week with school, plus one day
we started two hours late...it was a nice easy way to start work again...
one bad thing that happened this week was that i got food poisoning...not
in ghana...but here in croatia...i think it had something to do with pork
in my meal that i didn't know was there....its been about 14 years since i
have had pork...so i don't think my system liked it....anyway...
some folks have been asking of we have gas here in croatia for heat...the
answer is yes we do...but i am not sure how much....and the ukraine and
russia are still not letting the gas flow....so could this become a
problem....yep, it sure could....but someone told me the other day that
croatia has its own supply of gas...so now i am confused....i will try and
find out what the deal is so i can pass it along at some point....too bad
my croatian is still not so good....if i could understand the news reports
i would be able to tell you more....oh well...
ghana....what can i say....what a vacation....i had a few firsts...my
first warm xmas and new years....even went swimming in the atlantic ocean
on january first....my first "black" santa...and he was a hoot...and my
first really mellow and relaxing oriented trip....i was visiting friends
greg, di, kelsey and alysha...they have moved to ghana for teaching and
are quickly adapting and adjusting to the way of life there...which
seems to me to be quite mellow...i read quite a few books...six i think
and slept late, drank coffee and watched some tv....it was mellow...and
i think that stems from just how hot it is during the day in ghana and
how you have to drive everywhere from their place....
my friends live in a teacher's compound with guards...and not necessarily
for personal protection...more for personal items protection....i have to
say i felt very safe...and even though most houses/compounds have guards,
its to protect stuff...many people in ghana have nothing and so things
getting stolen is common if you don't have security...the other big
difference between ghana and here is that everyone is black....i think i
was one of ten white folks on the plane down to ghana....its not
necessarily a tourist oriented stop...it doesn't have big game parks and
safari....but it does have amazing beaches...but they are working beaches
and have not been set up for tourists....but man, are the ghaneans
friendly....and everywhere we went people wanted to say hello and welcome
us to their country....
we really did stick out...which at first can be rather disconcerting...
especially if you have no idea what will happen when people are staring..
in china when people stare, they do not smile and its what they do....
in croatia when people stare and you wave and smile they turn away
quickly realizing they have just been caught staring....but in ghana when
people stare and you wave and say hello, they break into huge grins and
wave back and say good afternoon sister...or welcome uncle....its really
i have decided that when you are in a place where people have nothing,
many times they are able to make due with what they have and seem to be
happy....of course they want to better their situation...but they deal
with what they have been dealt....i've seen it in cambodia and ecuador
and china and tibet....and they deal...and they smile and they enjoy what
they have....if you have never been in a poor country and experienced this
it makes you truly understand the human spirit and gives you a sense of
what humans could really do without all of the materialistc aspects of
life...if everyone has nothing, than everyone deals with their situation..
i also think it has to do with the weather....the warmer, the easier to
deal...that's what i think, but of course its an opinion....
okay....enough of my soapbox...let's just say i was really happy to be in
ghana and happy to see people pleased and enjoying their lives....i did
take lots of pictures, so this update and the next will be pictures from
ghana...i have tried to put in a mix of what life is like there....enjoy
this first set of pictures will be of , the capital and ...
a large town north of accra where the largest market in western africa is
located....we drove there...about 5 hours one way and when we were driving
there it was also the day before the presidential election - so it was
like a holiday...two men were running....and this was the second round....
as the first time the election was held many did not vote....they felt the
same man would be elected again...he was, but with a very low voter
turnout....so ghana decided to vote a second time and this time most of
the country voted....and what a race it was....
when you vote in ghana you get three days to accomplish this...one to
travel to your hometown...one to vote with your thumbprint and one to
travel back....people were very excited....
house....you can buy anything....and i mean anything on the side of the
road...clothes, furniture, food, water, cleaning supplies....anything....
i found this to be cool....whenever we were stopped in the car, there would be men and women, mostly with items on their heads, at the window to
take care of us....it amazed me how much they could hold on their heads...
a picture or two will show you....
the second shot is of a termite hill...this one is about 3m or 9ft....they are huge and found everywhere throughout the country...
all of the kids....he loved coming to our table because we would sing the
12 days of xmas wth him....especially the 5 golden rings part :) too
the next bunch of pictures are from the kumasi region...the first is the
market in kumasi....it was a very mellow day...as it was sunday and
everyone was at church and then went to vote....there are tons of
missonaries in ghana....so religion comes in many shapes and sizes and
jesus and god is everywhere....in the names of stores, on the backs of
buses and trucks, in names of restaurants....its wild...in the market
shot...people live in the part higher up...and the stalls are covered
because the sellers were not there....we were the only white people in
the market and our arrival was spread loud and clear....people really
wanted to say hi and meet us...it was wild....the cry "abruni! abruni!"
white person, white person.... could be heard everywhere we went....we
learned how to say "black person" back and did with a smile...which put
everyone at ease and laughing....it was wild....
i loved the title of the next shot....read the fine print carefully...and then realize the store sold asian made electronics....gotta love it...
around the grounds....this was one of the many murals on the walls....its
a great shot of ghana and all that makes it up....music, artwork, beads,
tribes...its a great representation....
kumasi is also known for its kente cloth....and we got to see the men weaving it....yes, the men are the weavers....and its amazing stuff...they make strips and then put them together as big pieces...
as you can see in the shot with one of the main weavers....cool guy....in the picture the black and red kente cloth is for funerals....it was my favorite, but not really appropriate to wear on a daily basis....at least not in ghana :)
the last two shots from kumasi show some banyon trees located at the
largest man-made lake in ghana...
election....in the end it took a few days to call the winner, because in
the end atta mills only won by 2% of the vote....and no...they did not
hold a recount....it was wild....along the road we saw this guy in
this costume celebrating the future president....
plus people were out selling food and bread and drinks....as you can see the three women selling food to make sandwiches with...on their heads...incredible...it was like the country was having one big party...even though a winner at this point had not been called in the election...it was a cool experience
the last three shots are back in accra....the first is di with the two
little girls that come to visit my friends every night they are with
their dad...he is one of the compound's guards....they come into the air
conditioning and watch the tv and sometimes have some dinner....its
something very different for them and di loves to play with them....
the second shot is the aussie/african xmas tree...notice the new golden stool
greg and di picked up while we were in kumasi....it is the style of stool
the king of each tribe sits on....the symbol of theirs is "except god"...
not really sure how to interpret that....
the final shot of this long story is me....with a ghanean beer....very light and not really good unless its really, really cold....but we were at a cool bar after shopping at a market and it was vacation....
okay...that's the first round of pictures....the next update should be
out in the next week with the second set of pictures from ghana....if you
can't tell, i really liked it there....was even offered a job...but i am
not the type who breaks contract....maybe something will be open in two
years....you never know....
in ghana...they are really excited about barack obama there....every time
i said where i was from people would dance and shout obama, obama....there
was a song we heard on the radio every day about him and his picture
was everywhere....its a world wide thing this time and it made me proud
to say i was from the country that had elected him....i know some people
are not excited...& i sure hope he can work with what he has been left...
but it is cool to think that people around the world are excited for this
as well....its an exciting time....i hope tuesday goes well for the man
and his family....and i wish him well on his quest to improve and re-
vitalize america....its gonna be a tough and long road....but he's a
will just be pictures and explanations about them...again, i wish you
all the best in 2009...and thanks to those who sent me holiday greetings
its sooooooo cool to get mail...you guys rock my world :) and i'll be
back in the next week with some more pictures....