Sayin' Goodbye Ain't Easy & Last Thoughts
Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
17Trip End Jul 21, 2012
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What my family & friends didn't know for sure before I zoomed to Ghana wuz dat there wuz a problem aroused in Hohoe. There wuz an escalation of violence between Muslims and town people of Hohoe where my volunteering placement wuz. There were dead people, burnt shops, and soldiers' watch. If my folks knew about it, they’d not let me to fly off. I learned about it from my friend, Scott, who is with the Peace Corps. I asked my volunteer program coordinator about it and why she didn't inform me about it. My safety wuz supposed to be prioritized.
One of my siblings wanted me to give him a physical address of the home-base where I stayed 'cos he didn't want the Post Office Box address. I told him I'd give him the right one once I arrived there. But things diverted my attention and forgot all about it. Of course, he wuz worried and hinted me in Facebook until I got his inbox message. When I read his message sayin' dat he cried so hard on the day I left for Ghana. It broke my heart and I didn't weep in front of the volunteers in the dinin' room. I hid in the bathroom and allowed my teardrops to fall like the Wli Waterfalls. I wrote him right back and apologized for not stayin' in touch w/ him. When I returned to the U.S.A., he said he hoped for me to stay here for good.
In Ghanaian culture, when a visitor is present while people eat their meal, they ask him to join for their meal
I didn’t like the capital, Accra, as it reminded me of Rome and New York City. Too many people, dirty, mass of transportation, pollution, smell, and Ghanaian people give non-Ghanaian peeps, or Yevu, pressure into buyin their stuff when they’re sellin’. They came up to me at every vendor I passed. Luckily I’m deaf and I tried to ignore ‘em but sometimes it’s hard when they confronted me. I often gestured w/ my hands tellin’ ‘em I’m deaf and no thanks. They even tried to gesture back to me! On the positive note about Accra, they have Lebanese, Indian, and American restaurants; and they do sell many nice things such as souvenirs. To be honest w/ ya, I was not motivated to order the American foods. They looked unhealthy to me as opposin’ to the Ghanaian foods. Besides, they cost more, too. I wuz accustomed to eatin' the whole Ghanaian foods, not processed foods
I bought 2 Ghanaian cook books and tried to find right spices to bring ‘em home. My interpreter, Mawusi, knew where to get ‘em. When we got to the ‘food vendor’, the lady showed me different spices in a plastic wraps but didn’t have the labels w/ the names of the spices. I tried to smell 'em and figured what they're. I decided not to buy ‘em for I fear they’re the wrong ones I wuz lookin’ for. I regretted not takin’ a cookin’ lesson as they offered in Ghana. Next time, I definitely will!
Volta School for the Deaf didn't have an infirmary or health center for sick and injured students. Often I see them with wounds in their toes and legs from playing soccer barefoot. They pointed to the wounds and showed 'em to me. They also had several round wounds in their heads (most of the students' hair were shaven or cut very short). They're a lil' gross to look at. I asked staff what happened and they said it's from ringworm. One guy was limping and he looked painful. I cudda see the swelling on his leg. It bothered me a great deal and told him to put the ice on it, which he did. I asked my interpreter to take a look at it. Good enough, the boy was sent to the hospital and a few days later, the boy felt much better. I sometimes brought band aids to give 'em to injured students. I think the residential dorm staff have 'first aid kit' 'cos I see the blue iodine on the students' wounds and it keeps flies away from being too attracted to the wounds.
I very much want to return to Ghana because I felt my volunteer work is not complete as there's much more to do
I got ride to VSD from my home-base, to the market and shops in Hohoe, and to other towns in Volta Region. I got familiar to my surroundings and peeps. I felt safe to walk and ride taxi alone in Hohoe. The peeps were very respectful, helpful, and friendly. My folks were worried about my safety. I think the media had to do with its influence. Not all places in Africa are dangerous. Ya gotta read about the countries first before coming over. My volunteer program, Cross-Cultural Solutions, won't send volunteers to dangerous placements. Ya gotta get yourself immunized, or ya get really sick. The website of World Health Organization is a good place for you to read about current health news and which immunizations you need to take. Just always prepare for your trip and be resourceful...in advance. In addition, it wudda be very helpful if ya have friends or befriend with peeps in 'other country where they give you right tips and guides. I'm grateful to have met them via Facebook and friends in Austin who happened to know 'em in Ghana. Some folks thought I wuz crazy enough to go abroad alone to the third world but look here I've achieved. Not only from their help, but I strongly believe in prayin' and dependin' on God for His help. I didn't allow my fear take me over 'cos I knew God (and my dear mother) were w/ me all the way. My mother wudda have been proud of me and she does have an influence on me in bein' of service
So, I have become myself familiar with Ghana and VSD and I will be more than ready to return there. I want to stay there longer than 4 weeks. I'd love to start volunteerin' at VSD right away 'cos I have gotten myself oriented; and staff & students were very welcomin'. In addition, I really want to travel to other regions in Ghana dat I missed out due to insufficient time when I wuz there. I wudda love to visit other deaf schools, other towns dat I've heard about, and see more exotic animals in the wild like at Mole National Park. I don't care if it takes forever to travel on the bumpy road but I just know for sure it will be worth it. I also hope I'll be able to attend Leadership Camp for the Deaf hosted by Peace Corps dat I missed when I had to return here. I also am leaning toward Morocco, too, even though the CCS doesn't have a placement for me where I can help deaf children but they said they'd find sumthan' for me to volunteer somehow and somewhere. I'd like to explore and get an insight of Morocco for one or maybe two weeks, after spending time in Ghana for 6 weeks. I'd love to learn more about Muslims, their culture, foods, and have a great sightseein' of beautiful artwork of mosaics in buildings and mosques. My dream is to ride a camel in Sahara Desert and camp out there. Wouldn't it be adventurous? Now, I understand why my friend, Scott, who is the Peace Corps volunteer, has fallen in love w/ Ghana and didn't want to return to the U.S. In conclusion, I have re-enrolled the CCS program to return to Ghana in summer of 2013 and started to save money. The longer I stay there, the more money I gotta save.
Lastly, I want to share my friends' comments of what they said about me as a volunteer
www.etsy.com/shop/OurTalkingHands?ref=seller_info Mostly things are made from deaf students, so feel free to visit it and make an order. I also bought several bead bracelets and necklaces dat I cudda not resist. I have a weakness for beads. I used to make 'em as one of my hobbies but I stopped. My teacher, Lydia, said to me when I said goodbye to her, "Thank you and God bless you." She also gave me a lovely bead necklace. Robert, my deaf friend in Ghana who helped guide me around, mentioned in Facebook, "One thing I like about you is you adopted the Ghana way so fast." I had to get myself immersed there, or I wudda not have learned & remembered nor shared my stories w/ others. I also got a surprise later this summer from deaf students at Leadership Camp for the Deaf. They sent me thank-you cards to thank me for my contributions to Our Talking Hands and the camp
Please do consider to volunteer and be of service overseas or in the U.S. I can guarantee you it will be an eye-opener and change your life completely or in some ways. Ya gotta experience it, or ya wudda miss out. Thank y'all for makin' donations for my trip and makin' my lifelong dream come true. I also want to express my gratitude for those who included me in your prayers & gave me their encouragement to make my mission possible. :-) :-) :-)