Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Oh there are the fish gills!"

It was a very emotional day. We began by enjoying our last breakfast together at FairHill. Then we heard the tro-tro pull up. Our driver, Dominic, brought his son, Samuel, to meet his father's "brunyis". (that's us) We gave him a few treats, including a small soccer ball, and he loved it!

We pulled up at Tuwohofo with a massive amount of students awaiting our arrival. We went straight to the library and found many students reading the newly donated books. It was moving to see the students enjoying the books. A few of us quickly teared up as we read to the students and observed them reading books on their own.

Then the Farewell Ceremony began. Mr. Baidoo went all out once again! There were tents set up in between the two buildings and the local radio station was there. Speeches were made and gifts were presented. Each one of us received a strip of Kente cloth and Dr. Clerico was presented with a 12 yard cloth, the traditional male African attire. The level 1 teacher sang a Farewell Song to the teachers. She couldn't make it through the song and broke down into tears. The rest of us followed her lead and began crying. Saying goodbye was so difficult. Many of the students were crying and all of us were crying. It was so emotional. The students who were not crying kept repeating, "Don't cry madam. Don't cry, you make me sad and make me cry." We even learned how to say don't cry in Fante, "Men so".

Eventually, we all made it back into the tro-tro. We went back to FairHill to enjoy our last lunch on the patio. We said our goodbyes to the staff, which was also very hard. We have developed a close relationship with them and cherish their friendships. A few of the cooks started crying when our bus pulled away.

We were so sad to leave Cape Coast, but very excited to see Fuseini! We rode in the bus back to Accra. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Sun Lodge Hotel. The girls went for a quick swim. We are all having mixed emotions about going home. To quote Dr. Clerico, "I want to go home. But I don't want to leave."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our last day at home :(

Tonight is our last night at FairHill :( we are so sad! We are excited to see our friends and families but will truly miss living here in Cape Coast.

Today was Jessica's 21st birthday!!! After breakfast, she returned to her room to find a birthday banner on her door. When she opened the door her room was full of balloons; 21 of them had things that we love about Jessica written on them! There was also a beautiful cake and ice cream for her at lunch. ;)

This morning we visited St. Cyprian's School in Efutu Village. This is a public school and more rural than Tuwohofo-Holly. Mr. Baidoo's daughter is a teacher at this school and Dr. Clerico wanted us to observe a school with very few resources. They were awaiting our visit with a few of the students dressed up traditionally, and these students danced for us. The rest of the school sang songs to welcome us. We visited each classroom and taught them a few songs of our own; such as: a toody-ta, 5 little monkeys and the chicken dance. ;)

We spent the afternoon packing and preparing for tomorrow. A few of us visited the local daycare and the rest of us went to the market. It was a relaxing afternoon. :)

We ate dinner at the Baidoo's and Mr. Baidoo always goes over the top. He had a wonderful meal prepared for all of us. After dinner, we enjoyed each others company and, of course, played some cards.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"She's behind the boy in the green shirt!"...."Amber, they're all wearing green"

Today was one of the best days in Ghana. We spent the morning at Cape Deaf. This is a residential school for the deaf and blind. The children were absolutely amazing. Our hearts filled with joy and appreciation when the children gave us names in sign language. We walked around to the various classrooms introducing ourselves and signing with the students. We watched a blind student read in Braille. It was heart warming to see the heights they achieved in a developing country. The students performed a dancing and drumming ceremony. Our eyes looked in amazement as the blind children sang and played the drums. Through the vibrations of the drums we saw a unbelievable sight as the deaf students danced to the music. We all had our chance to dance with the children and share some unforgettable moments. Amber's moment was especially unforgettable. These children are truly spectacular.

After lunch we went to a library dedication for Tuwohofo Holly International School. It was such a blessing to see all the books that were donated and placed on beautiful shelves. These books will give the children a chance to soar to new heights. It was so wonderful to see our students who we now call our childern and appreciation the blessing they are to us. We left and toured Wesley Girls' High School. The prefects that gave us the tour were friendly and inspirational. The campus was beautiful. At FairHill Guest House we enjoyed our last supper. With wishful hearts we hoped this would not be the last at FairHill but only the beginning.

Sunday, July 25, 2010



This morning we went to The Presbyterian Church of Ghana St. Paul's Congregation. The service was a mix between Twi (pronounced tree) and English. Church started at nine and we were there until 12. The pastor had Dr. Clerico introduce us to the congregation. Everyone was welcoming and friendly. It is extraordinary to worship with another culture.

We even met a taxi cab driver at church. He insisted on driving us to Cape Coast Castle; so the seven of us hopped into his tiny cab. Five of us in the back and two in the front. Luckily, it was a short drive! Dr. Clerico got some really interesting photos from this adventure.

We ate lunch at the castle restaurant and enjoyed some of our favorite Ghanaian dishes. We did some shopping at Cape Coast Castle. It has become one of our favorite places to shop! We have developed a relationship with one of the shop owners.

We came back and played a few round of cards before a wonderful dinner of mac and cheese! :o) Then we spent some time labeling all the children's books before we donate them to Tuwohofo-Holly International School tomorrow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"The chief wore MY shoes!!!"

Photos...check it out:

We began the morning with breakfast on the porch as usual. We stopped to pick up Dr. Nancy Lundgren on our way to Abaasa Village. We fell in LOVE with her house. It was a quaint house in an isolated area. The house had handmade doors and furniture. Lush tropical foliage surrounded Nancy's house with bamboo fencing. She even had her own private study and two cute dogs that she had brought over from the states. (The dogs were Amber's favorite part)

Abaasa Village was our next stop. It was the most rural area that we have seen thus far. It was obvious that the children do not have many encounters with foreigners. The children were so precious. Many of them were very reserved and soft spoken. They loved having their picture taken. We were able to see the recently built Methodist Church. Three years prior it was just a thatched roof and bamboo poles; now it is a concrete block structure with a green steel roof. Seeing a more rural area was definitely an interesting comparison and a huge eye opener.

A few of us ran back by Antoinette's Drum Shop to purchase our drums. We spent some time at Fair Hill resting and playing cards. We have gotten so close as a group. :) For dinner, we had Chicken and Red-Red, a favorite for the majority of our group.

We met for our reflection seminar tonight and discussed how what we learned about ourselves and about teaching since we have been in Ghana. Reflecting on these things shows how much we have learned from this trip.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lazy Day :)

Today we all had the chance to sleep in and we absolutely enjoyed it! Many of us started the day by walking to the beach and having a relaxing morning there. We came back for lunch around 1:00, and then spent the afternoon playing cards, visiting a nearby daycare to play with the children, and just enjoying each others company. This evening, several of us finally received some outfits that we had ordered. We were all so excited to finally see what they look like on us! After dinner, we were able to meet Nancy Lundgren, a professor of anthropology at the University of Cape Coast. She is the only American queen mother of a Ghanaian village. We all absolutely loved getting to know her and learning from her experiences.

Here is the link to our latest pictures:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

HEY CHAS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today we went on a tour of Elmina Castle. The castle was used to hold slaves until they were sold and taken to America. It was a sad reality to see where everything was started. When walking out of the castle a sign read this "an everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors may those who died rest in peace may those who return find their roots may humanity never again perpertrate such injustace against humanity we the living vow to uphold this."
After Elmina Castle we went to Coconut Grove Beach Resourt. It was a beatuiful beach filled with colorful shells.We enjoyed a lovely meal in front of the ocean. The view was beyond words. Several of the people tried concunt chicken with mushrooms. It was delicious. We enjoyed a dip in the pool and a walk on the beach. The afternoon was relaxing after our action pack week. Our evening was filled, sharing stories and laughter not among friends but now sisters.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Picture Link:
(we will add more soon!!!)

This morning we headed to Tuwohofo Holly for our last day of teaching. Every morning we take a moment to ponder over whether we have left anything. This morning was no different, but we obviously did not ponder long enough :) Right before we pulled into school, we heard a loud gasp from the back seat. Jenn had forgotten her fake snow that she had worked so hard to get and prepare for her lessons today. She put so much thought into this. She ordered her fake snow from Alaska so that she could share this experience with her students. Dr. Clerico saved the day and went back to Fairhill to get the snow for her.

Our last day of teaching was difficult. We all had such a hard time telling the students goodbye. They are so precious! There were a few tears on the tro-tro ride home.

After school we headed to Fair Hill for a quick lunch of mac and cheese :o) Then we were on our way to Kakum Rainforest Canopy Walk. It was extraordinary to be that high up in the forest. The only thing holding us up were ropes and aluminum ladders and we were 100 feet in the air.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Hans Cottage Botel. ( No, not hotel...botel...whatever that is) We all had the opportunity to touch a crocodile. It was scary and exciting at the same time! The restaurant was also surrounded by a crocodile pond with beautiful weaver birds in the trees. It was a peaceful evening.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teaching and LEARNING and LEARNING and LEARNING in Ghana

Here is the link to our latest photos!

As you can tell we learned a lot today! We began out day by teaching at Tuwohofo Holly International School. We played with the children at recess, as always, but today we taught them the chicken dance! They truly enjoyed learning a new dance. They are also teaching us new things such as: Fante, the local language and ampe, a game played by Ghanaian girls.

After teaching we came back to Fair Hill for a quick lunch and rested before our drumming and dancing lessons. Antoinette, a friend of Dr. Clerico, brought a group of drummers and dancers to Fair Hill. We watched them perform traditional dances to the beat of the drums. We were exhausted just watching the performers; then it was our turn. We learned two songs, one corresponds with the day of the week in which an individual was born and the other is a traditional Ghanaian song.

These are the words we sang:
Call: Eneme ma Koole
Yesu metro na
gbedo oo (2x)

Adlip: gbede gbede

Response: Eneme ma Koole
Yesu metro na
gbedo oo (2x)

This is the meaning of the words:

Jesus is great. That's why we worship him.

After singing, we learned some cultural dance movements from several different tribal groups of Ghana. Then we learned different ways to play the drum such as: strictly hands, one hand and a stick, and two sticks. A few of us were able to use drums that we had already purchased.

After our lessons in the complex rhythm patterns of Ghanaian drumming, three of us headed straight to the kitchen to learn how to make Jollof Rice. The meal turned out fabulous!!! Tomorrow is our last day of teaching :( We are excited about the day but will definitely miss our kids!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home :)

Yesterday, we went to Lake Bosomtwi on our way back to Cape Coast. We were all excited to be back to our African "home"! The internet was really slow so we skipped the blog yesterday.

Today we were back in the classrooms at Tuwohofo Holly International School. We missed our kids over the weekend so we couldn't wait to get back! Everyone is feeling more comfortable teaching so we are starting to break up for a few of our lessons. Everyone's lessons went great! :o)

After teaching we ran errands around town and did a little shopping. :) A few of us joined the cooks at Fair Hill for a lesson on making Red-red, a Ghanaian dish. It was so fun getting to know the cooks better and our meal turned out delicious.

Can't wait for another day of teaching!!!! We have posted some more pictures and will be adding ones from today soon! Check it out:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shopping in Kumasi is intense like camping... (get it? in tents!)

Today was quite an eventful day! We began with a lovely breakfast at Royal Basin Resort. Some of us had a late start (ahem... Lindsey & Liz), but we headed out on time! First on the day's itinerary was visiting the Bonwire Kente cloth makers. Around 15 men all work together & set up their looms in a small building. They display an array of beautifully woven cloth on their section of the wall, and work diligently for weeks to create strips of Kente. We all enjoyed browsing and shopping through their handcrafted items!
Next, we went to the Adinkra village. The men there taught us how to transform tree bark into dye, and allowed us to grind the bark in a large hollowed out tree trunk. We each got to choose two symbolic African symbols to imprint on colored strips of cloth. Everybody purchased their favorite symbols, which were carved out of calabash gourds! We all enjoyed creating our own works of art.
After this, we headed to the Kumasi wood carving village. We had thirty minutes to shop for whatever things we desired & be back on the bus. The time crunch made it a fun adventure! All of the girls have developed shopping strategies- we go together in groups & work down the vendor together to get the price that we want. We all really enjoy shopping and bargaining! We got things such as carved giraffes & lions, the famous stools, and beautiful wooden bowls. It was a successful shopping adventure for all of us!
Then, we ate a quick lunch at a restaurant called Bonjour. We enjoyed pizza and burgers, which did not quite meet our American expectations, but were nourishing none-the-less. We journeyed to the Manhyia Palace Museum, and took an educational tour and learned much of the Ashanti kings and the rich culture, steeped with history. We enjoyed seeing wild peacocks meander around the property, and we heard them calling out to one another. The ladies also shopped in the palace gift shop (of course!)
From there, we traveled to the King Prempeh Museum and Craft Bazaar. The museum was an open courtyard with four walls, and calabash and cocoa trees were growing intertwined right outside the entrance. The tour guide described for us the numerous historical artifacts that are special to the Ashanti region in Ghana. After this, we were once again able to shop at the open crafts tents! The girls were all excited about this opportunity! We bargained and purchased for nearly an hour, and collected many more souvenirs. After this adventure, we were all tired, and we headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner.
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, swimming in the hotel pool, and enjoying quality time with one another. Overall, it was a wonderful, fun-filled day in Africa once again!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I can't believe we picked up a British traveler!

This morning we left Fairhill around 8:00 am to come to Kumasi. We stopped about two and a half hours into our drive to visit the Obuasi Gold Mine. We had to put on big boots, a safety belt, and a hard hat before we could go into the mine. We started 500 feet below the ground and walked down to about 800 feet below the ground. It was all very interesting. We got to see some classrooms underground where miners learn their skills. It was fun because we felt like actual miners wearing our outfits. We got to see a gold ore that the tour guide described as big enough to make us all rich.

Right before we left the gold mine to go to Kumasi, we met a guy from Great Britain who had been traveling in Ghana for five weeks. He needed a ride to Kumasi so he just rode with us! It was very random but we enjoyed learning a little about London.

We arrived in Kumasi around 4:30 and checked in to our hotel. We enjoyed a nice dinner here at the hotel, and we are all excited about exploring Kumasi tomorrow!

We have posted a few more pictures from Brenu Beach on Wednesday. The link is below. You will have to copy and paste it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The adventures of the Brunyis in the Tro Tro

Today was an amazing day. We all had a very wonderful time teaching and learning with the students. Everyone is becoming very comfortable with teaching in Ghana. The students love spending time with us and we love spending time with them.
This afternoon, we went back to the school and had a walking tour of the village. Our tour guides were older students from the school. It was such an eye opening experience for many of us. It was different to see the children outside of the classroom. We started off with four guides. Throughout our journey in the village we all had about 20 children following us. It was great to see the struggles and blessings that each child faces outside of school. With each turn walking the dirt roads and narrow pathways we never knew what was around the corner.
We had a wonderful evening with our friend Agatha. She is so full of wisdom and love. We enjoyed listening to here and learning. Our day was filled with many new experiences. We all received a new way to view the lives of each one of our students.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"I want a monkey on a leash!!"

This morning was another successful day in the classroom! We are all starting to feel more comfortable working with the students. We all love spending time with them in the class and during break. Today we brought some frisbees and jump ropes for the students to play with during break and they absolutely loved them! They also love it when we sing fun children songs with them. They gather around us and stare in amazement. Some join in.

We got done teaching around 12, and then came back to the guest house for a quick lunch. After lunch we went to Brenu Beach for a relaxing afternoon. On the way to the beach, we passed a man walking a monkey on a leash. We were all pretty amused at the sight, and Amber yelled out, "I want a monkey on a leash!" :) Several of us took a walk down the beach to a nearby lagoon. The view was gorgeous, and there were many shells to find along the way. On their walk, Liz and Lindsey saw a little boy climbing a coconut tree to bring coconuts down to sell. The group was able to enjoy dinner on the beach, and six of us had a delicious lobster dinner.

We are all very tired tonight. The days are so fun and so busy that by the end of the day we are all ready for bed!

We are posting a link to some pictures because we are not able to load them onto the blog. Hope you enjoy them :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"No chickens in the library!!!"

Today was our first day of teaching and an overall success! We all had a great time teaching and learning how to monitor and adjust! We all laughed when chickens and chicks walked into the classroom while they were teaching. Recess is a highlight of many peoples days. We love interacting with the students singing songs and playing with them.
After teaching we went to the market. Visitors do not attend this market it is mainly for the locals. Many of us enjoyed the faces of the people when Dr. C handed out pictures to them. The pictures were from three years ago during his last visit. They gave us warm welcome smiles and promised that if we came back to take care of us.
We ended the evening with a beautiful meal with Mr. Baidoo and his brother Thomas. We all attempted to learn more Fante. An overall successful day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"What happens in the tro tro stays in the tro tro"

This morning we had an AMAZING breakfast here at Fair Hill Guest House. The cooks are so wonderful! They prepared a huge bowl of fruit, which by the way is the fruit is much better in Ghana. Along with scrambled eggs and toast. The eggs are white here; it is so different! (but yummy)

After breakfast, we hopped in to our own personal tro tro. A tro tro is a fifteen passenger van that is a form of public transportation in Ghana. It is very economical and cheap, therefore, this is a main source of transportation. We went to the Tuwohofo-Holly International School for a first opportunity to meet the teachers and students that we will be working with for the next two weeks.

Many of us were overwhelmed with emotions upon arriving. The experience was truly humbling. The had songs prepared for us and had one child dressed in African attire that delivered roses to our team. They were so excited to have us there and they haven't even met some of us.

We split up into partners and took the opportunity to visit several of the classrooms. Spending time with the children was so enjoyable. They all wanted to touch us, to talk to us and just be near us. None of us wanted to leave. We can't wait to start teaching tomorrow!!!

Afterward, we explored Cape Coast and did a little shopping Elmina Castle. Our group is full of great shoppers ;)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finally in Cape Coast!! :o)

We woke up early this morning to go to church a Tesano Baptist Church. Their English service began at 7:30 and ended at 10:30! Needless to say, this was the longest church service many of us had been today. The service was very energetic and passionate. The members were all very welcoming. One of our favorite parts of the service was the solo of the hymn "It is well".

After eating lunch at Sun Lodge, we packed up all of our belongings and headed to Cape Coast. It was about a two and half hour drive. The ride was very scenic and beautiful. I could not peel my eyes away from the view. Cape Coast is more rural area than Accra; so it was like experiencing something entirely new.

We arrived at the Fair Hill Guest House and began to unpack our things. Mr. Baidoo arrived and informed us about his experiences starting the local school. Tomorrow will be our first day in the classroom. We will be observing the students and teachers in the classes we will be teaching in.

Dr. Clerico showed us the path to the beach; it is about a fifteen minute walk. The view was incredible!!! The beach is different than ones are accustom too. They are not used for recreation. Basically, we have the beach to ourselves. The waves are rough and the sand feels more grainy than the sand in Charleston.

We then came back to the guest house for a wonderful dinner and fresh pineapple for dessert!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"You are from the Banana Republic? I know someone from there!"

Today was another exciting day in Accra! We started out the day at the batik shop where we learned how to make batik cloth. We each got to help in making a cloth by stamping the motif (stamp carved in foam) dipped in wax onto the cloth. Then we were able to observe the cloth being dyed. The product was a beautiful violet cloth which we will all be able to have a piece of. After making the cloth, many of us placed an order to have dresses and skirts made. We made a quick stop before lunch at the coffin maker's shop. In Ghana, people are sometimes buried in coffins that represent their occupation or their passion. For example, the coffin maker was working on a preacher's coffin and he designed it in the shape of a Bible. We saw coffins in the shape of crabs, roosters, cigarette boxes, beer bottles, and airplanes. They were all very interesting to look at, and we couldn't believe that this artwork is put underground.

We then had lunch at the Next Door Restaurant. It was located right on the beach and the view was absolutely gorgeous. After lunch we went to the Cultural Arts Center which is a local market. It was quite the experience! Many of us had our first opportunity at bargaining. The locals are very persistent and wanted to show you all they have to sell. Almost every shop owner uses this phrase to persuade you to come in, "It is free to look. No charge for looking!". There were multiple proposals and interacting with the people was intriguing . Lindsey wore a shirt that says Banana Republic, and several people asked if that was where she was from. And one person said he actually knew someone from there. :) We feel like the experience cannot be described with only words.

We came back to the hotel to rest for a little while, and then we went to dinner at La Paloma restaurant. Many of us tried goat for the first time! Some of us enjoyed it, others did not, but it was worth the experience!

Tomorrow we head for Cape Coast after church. We can't wait to see what is in store for us there!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Agou (Give me your attention)

This morning after breakfast, we went to Parliament to view a session. The session was scheduled to start at 10:00 am but it did not begin until 10:45. Ghanaian time is more relaxed than American time. It is an approximation, not an exact time. The session was extremely interesting. The members of Parliament were allowed to speak out of turn if they agreed or disagreed with something. This made for a very energetic and entertaining experience.

After Parliament, we came back to the hotel for lunch. We each had red red, which is chicken and beans with a special spicy sauce served with plantains. The majority of us loved this traditional Ghanaian dish. After lunch, we drove to a Ghanaian Christian college and then drove through the University of Ghana. Both of the sites were breathtaking, and it was very interesting to learn the similarities and differences between our university and Ghanaian universities.

This evening, we visited with some students at Tesano Baptist Church. We were able to ask questions and answer some of their questions about our culture. The members were very welcoming and friendly. We will be back with them on Sunday, and we are looking forward to it very much.

We all had an amazing second day in Ghana, but we are very exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep! Love you and miss you all!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Akwaaba! YAHHHH!!!!

Today was our first day in Ghana! After an 11 hour flight, we were all very excited to be in Africa! We had quite the experience when we got off the plane; we were immediately greeted by several eager young Ghanaian men willing to help with our luggage. Amber was even lucky enough to get a marriage proposal within minutes of us arriving in the country.

We were then introduced to our tour guide, Fuseini, who brought us into the wonderful city of Accra. We started off the day by visiting the Ghana National Museum and President Kwame Nkrumah National Monument. Both were extremely interesting and interactive, but all of us were exhausted from the flight. Our first meal in Ghana was in OSU at the Pizza Inn. Then we went out to explore the city! It was quite an experience as well. The driving was completely insane! Dr. Clerico was not exaggerating when he described driving in Ghana with the statement, "It is more important to have a horn in Ghana than brakes." Horns were going off left and right. While we were walking taxis would honk at us to offer a ride. Needless to say, it was a bit overwhelming. The shops were incredible, but we all kept our promise of not buying anything on the first day.

We then were able to check in at the Sun Lodge Hotel and finally rest. For dinner the hotel served a traditional Ghanaian meal. That consisted of spicy chicken, grouper, beef and vegetables, potatoes and rice. We drank soda out of glass bottles and are collecting bottle caps to use in future lessons. We are soaking in every minute of being here! Please keep us in your prayers!

P.S. Akwaaba means welcome and Yah is the appropriate response.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

24 Hours To Go

Tomorrow morning at 8:30 we will be on our way to West Africa! Please keep our team in your thoughts and prayers as we travel. We are all very excited about this incredible learning experience. Our expectations are high and our hearts are open for what God has in store for us.