Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 9/10 Ghana


I'm here! I'm currently sitting outside the airport waiting on my
ride. My fault. I told them 1pm instead of 11am--misread my
itinerary! This is going to be random post, so bare with me. My brain
doesn't organize well after a long trip.

I couldn't have asked for a better itinerary. I usually have one more
leg--Tulsa to ?City to Departure City. This time I only had Tulsa to
Atlanta to Accra. The flight wasn't full, so it was semi-comfortable.
I had a aisle seat with nobody in front or in back of me. Nice!

All 4 checked bags made it. They barely fit on one luggage cart, but
with careful stacking we got them on there. I thought for sure I was
going to lose control of all 300 pounds on the big ramp going out of the

I need to reset my description of Kotoka International Airport. It's
not the same hot airport I first traveled to five years ago. Now you
walk in to an air conditioned hall. They appear to actually have visas
upon arrival now. They have fingerprint machines at immigration. They
have friendly UNIFORMED staff helping folks get their luggage (without
request for a tip). Did I mention that it's actually cool in the
airport?! So nice not to have to start my Ghana experience by being
soaked with sweat before I get out of the airport!

I don't think I've ever arrived at Accra during the day. No thick
dragon air slapped me in the face when I stepped off the plain. The
humidity today seems comparable to Oklahoma, and there is a nice cool
breeze. As I sit here and wait for Muna, I'm not sweating anymore than
I would walking through Target.

I don't know whether it's the season or what, but there were a BUNCH of
white people on the plane from Atlanta to Accra. I was sort of sad not
to see a single Ghanaian person in traditional dress. I don't
was just weird. Maybe this is the new "normal?"

I wonder why they think it's a good idea to serve such spicy food on the
plane? I have heartburn/reflux, and I never have heartburn/reflux!

Okay, seriously--there are two visa ATMS out here at the arrival area at
the airport. Is this Ghana?! Did you know that Ghana was moved "up a
level" and is no longer considered a "developing country?" I don't
agree with that, but I would say that Accra is not a "developing city."
It's developed!

I watched "Black Swan" on the flight. That movie is disturbing! It did
such a good job of portraying what delusions might be like. It made me
think of Bright, actually. Poor little guy with all of his
stress/anxiety. Since learning what to watch for, it's become more
clear than ever that his stress makes him experience things that aren't
really there. Samren was winding his arm the other day (like for
throwing a baseball) and to Bright, it was Samren hitting him. If
Bright makes a funny joke and we laugh, he thinks we're laughing AT
him. The other day he was saying the prayer before meal (which is a
very brave thing for him, if you know him) and in his mind Taevy was
giving him dirty looks during the prayer. She wasn't. Her eyes were
closed. Anyway, Black Swan made me "see" more what life must be like
for Bright. Imagine thinking (and really truly believing) that people
were doing mean things to you all the time, and to always be told, "That
didn't happen." or "That isn't true." Awful. I hate that Bright's life
is like that right now. These things really ARE happening in his mind.
Oh, how I hope we can find a way to help him heal.

10th, evening:

Well, I made it to Teshie. I got so tired waiting outside the airport
that I pulled my bags close and laid my head on the luggage cart...and
fell asleep! That is so NOT like me. Next thing I knew was Muna
sitting next to me and waking me up! I was so out of it. It took me a
few minutes to get out of my post-sleep haze.

We got to Teshie and checked in at NIBSO hotel about 2:30pm. First
impression of NIBSO was, "It's okay, but I miss Rye Manor." My room is
a fine size for one person. It's quiet (or as quiet as Ghana gets!).
The pillows are good. The A/C works well. However, my room smells
heavily of moth balls! Moth balls in the drawers. Moth balls in the
sink (?)! Moth balls in the fridge! I have collected them all now and
they are on the bathroom window ledge! I must say, the people here are
SUPER nice and helpful. I can see why families like this hotel.

After settling in a few minutes I headed to CKO/GMI.

FYI, you can take a "shared taxi" from NIBSO to First Junction (or
anywhere on the way to First Junction) for 50 pesewas. I know people
are sometimes intimidated to take shared taxis, but I think they are a
GREAT option for inexpensive transport, whenever possible.

Once I got to 1st Junction I walked back towards CKO/GMI. I am so
embarrassed to say this, but I think it's a good example of how foggy
your brain can be after a long trip. I forgot where CKO was at!
Seriously! Anybody who has been there knows what an absurdity this is!
Long story short, I was turning on the 1st and 2nd streets rather than
the 3rd street from the junction. Poor John (and about 10 kids) had to
come and rescue me. [I was just a block from the house!] Can I blame
it on "Ghana brain"/jet lag? Hope so.

CKO/GMI is so different from a year ago. So many little ones now (0-10
years). The kids are so loving and wonderful. As usual, they are all
much smaller than they appear in pictures, and even more beautiful.
Speaking of beautiful, Miss Emily (CKO volunteer) is just as beautiful
in person as she is through her reputation. I'm so glad I got to hug
her neck before she left to go back home this evening. It's very
obvious that she is loved beyond measure by the children. The Lord
shines out of her, and you can tell the kids are drawn to that in her.

My visit to GMI was short and sweet. I arrived later than I had planned
and the folks I thought I was meeting for dinner had already gone. I
wanted to catch up with them. As it happens, their plans changed, so
maybe another time. I came "home" to NIBSO instead. My fuzzy brain
didn't have a clue how to get back to my hotel! Yeah. Before you leave
your hotel you might want to think about how you're getting back! I had
to have the taxi driver call my friend for directions. [For future
reference-- Tell the taxi driver you need to go to "Mana Hospital Road"
(or the road where Mana Hospital is). That will get you on the right road!

So here I am. The sun is setting on my first day here. Since my plans
for dinner changed, it was very nice to know that the hotel makes food
for a decent price--and brought directly to my room. "Welcome to
Ghana! Here's your chicken and rice!"

P.S. No top sheet or blanket in the room. I can tell I have the choice
of being either cold or hot tonight (as the a/c has two settings--on or
off). I was trying to figure out how to stay warm tonight when it hit
me. DUH! I have like 50 sheets in my luggage! So thanks to the sheet
donors for keeping me warm! [Don't worry--I'll donate the sheet before
I leave!]



Momto16 6:06 PM  

Always love your travel posts!!! We need to talk Sometime about our children who have delusions I have one of those two... It's been a really hard road. Prayers for safe travels and I can't wait to hear more. :)

CarrieT 6:09 PM  

Will be praying for your trip, Anita. We have been out of town so I have gotten behind on the blogs I follow.

Carrie T. - mom to 4 from Korea

mommajeane 6:12 PM  

I loved reading your post. You are such a detail person and I love reading all about it...makes me feel like I am there already. You are also braver than me for traveling like you do alone. We are praying for you as you travel. God Bless you.

Mama D.'s Dozen 9:11 PM  

Glad you made it safely.

Laurel :)