Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ghana at Xmas - Part 1

March 15th - Beware the Ides of March - especially when you are about two months behind in your blog....this was the update from the trip to ghana this past xmas...there are two parts...enjoy and drop a line if you have any questions
hi there all and happy 2009!!!! hope you all had wonderful holiday seasons
and have started this new year off right!!!  I am back in 
croatia after my
trip to 
ghana and wowowowowowowow....what an in croatia
it's cold...we actually had a snow day this week with school, plus one day 
we started two hours 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 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 could this become a 
problem....yep, it sure could....but someone told me the other day that
croatia has its own supply of 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 
first warm xmas and new years....even went swimming in the atlantic ocean
on january 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 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 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 accra, the capital and kumasi...
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 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 to
travel to your to vote with your thumbprint and one to 
travel back....people were very excited....

the first shot is of a tire store on the side of the road near my friend's 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 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...

the third shot is santa at the hotel we had christmas lunch at...this man, paul, who we met out of costume later in the vacation, was hilarious...and so good with
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 was a very mellow it was sunday and
everyone was at church and then went to vote....there are tons of 
missonaries in religion comes in many shapes and sizes and
jesus and god is the names of stores, on the backs of 
buses and trucks, in names of restaurants....its 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 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 was wild....

i loved the title of the next the fine print carefully...and then realize the store sold asian made electronics....gotta love it...

while in kumasi we went to a cultural center and were allowed to walk 
around the grounds....this was one of the many murals on the walls....its
a great shot of ghana and all that makes it, 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 the picture the black and red kente cloth is for was my favorite, but not really appropriate to wear on a daily least not in ghana :)
the last two shots from kumasi show some banyon trees located at the 
largest man-made lake in ghana...

you also can see the crew i was travelin around with....and mr. thomas was our guide....all ghaneans loved luca...he is the small boy....he had a hard time with all of the attention at times....but people just loved him....and kelsey and alysha and i kept getting marriage was interesting....
on the road back to accra we encountered some people celebrating the 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 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 you can see the three women selling food to make sandwiches with...on their was like the country was having one big party...even though a winner at this point had not been called in the 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 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 never know....

one last thing before i sign was really cool to be an american
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 
strong guy....

okay....enough from me....this one was really time
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 guys rock my world :)  and i'll be 
back in the next week with some more pictures....

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