all good things end.

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So I’m sure most of you have heard that tomorrow I am getting on a plane and saturday I will arrive in vancouver…yess I’m coming home ūüė¶ this has been the best month of my life and I am completely heartbroken to have to go. This week I’ve been trying to catch up on my photo taking as well as spending time with the kids. I didn’t tell them that I had to go until last night so that was really hard. Ulla started crying and ellen didn’t understand. Then today when I told the school kids, joel, one of my favorites left the class in tears. It hasn’t quite kicked in yet that tonight is the last time I will sleep in this house (for now) or that the next time I see half these kids I won’t be able to recognize them cause they will have grown, but I’m dealing with it. My roommate is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met so I’m not only leaving my new family but also a new friend. Ill see you soon canada. Too soon.

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babysitters club

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This weekend my host parents went to the capital for a church function and me and michelle were left to hold down the fort! Its weird being in charge of a household that is so different than home. When you babysit at home there are some things you know are expected of you. But here we were clueless. And we even have to cook! Sans stove. Yess people we used charcoal to light a fire and placed our pots on top of that. Dinner was by far our best meal. Pasta with tomato sauce. Yummmm. Tasted like home. And we were worried the kids wouldn’t eat it cause it was so different for them. But they loved it! When their parents came home and found out that we cooked they were so impressed that they wanted to try it too. Surprisingly they loved the fact that they had to use cutlery and eat something where hot peppers isn’t the main ingredient. Mrs. Kainyiah even asked for the recipe!!!! The rest of the day we spent playing football, coloring and drawing and watching tv :P. Everybody hates chris? Yep its a hit show here… Well actually they play anything that has a black cast (not being racist- but its very true) all in all I think it was a success ūüėÄ ohhh it was even sunny today…first sunburn- check!

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24th day of rain.

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yess that is completely serious, and it is also for that reason i am not missing Vancouver. the dry season is supposed to start here in September and part way through October it is still raining as heavily as the wet season!!! we do see on average an hour or two of clear sunny skies a day though, so im not complaining.¬† also when it rains at night, it gives us more time to help tutor the kids ūüôā¬†most of the kids are able to do their work alone, and Manastasia (one of my host’s nieces) is ALWAYS helping the other kids. She honestly could be moved up 2 grades, so we often finding ourselves giving her more complex work “just for fun”.¬† right now our only struggle is with Joseph. Each night we spend close to 2 hours on math and reading with him – his class is doing multiplication of fractions and he still does not know basic addition without struggle. it is frustrating at times but we have made flash cards and he is willing to get help so that makes it a bit easier. The rest of the school kids follow us every where! if we walk around after school we have¬†around 10 kids with us!¬†same goes for lunch hour, we cannot leave the classroom without being swarmed it’s not as bad as it sounds, all the kids are adorable.

Me and Michelle made a schedule so we get around to more classes instead of just teaching one- and i love it. i am teaching mostly English and math.¬† The school i am at has 230 students and 14 teachers.¬† they have a junior high-school level class that is supposed to have a french block one day a week but because 75% of the kids family’s cannot afford the school fees and feeding fees (roughly 150 cedi’s a year or about 115 Canadian dollars) they could not afford to pay the teachers this month let alone find a french teacher that will work for no pay.¬† So i guess this is where i step in….grreeaaatttt i slept most of my french classes in high-school (thats a bit of an exaggeration) ohh well tomorrow morning im starting off bright and early with greetings (bonjour, salut, ca va?) and the alphabet, whoop whoop.¬† i have already made a deal, since these kids are almost my age, that if they don’t treat me like a teacher i wont continue teaching them.¬† this got their attention right away!!!

after school we have been staying around home mostly since it takes us an hour into town and an hour out.¬† I am trying hard to learn to cook Ghanaian dishes, if i make them at home i will use real chicken breast or fish…not to worry, we also learned how to make plantain chips which have definitely replaced my Miss Vics S&V potato chips from home.¬† My American food cravings are slowly disappearing but I do miss my Starbucks! no lies there, the first couple days i had bad headaches from my caffeine withdrawal, no mom i was not dehydrated. so last time i was in town i went on a coffee hunt and found a western grocery store that looked like home- and i found everything!!! we bought instant coffee, frosted flakes, mars bars, nutella, and skor ice cream, it was like heaven: that will be the last time i go there though, a 30$ bill is not worth it when i can go to a local store and buy knock off brands for about 5$…i guess it was a learning experience.¬† Another thing i have mastered is doing laundry by hand. soo easy but there is a very specific system that we use and the kids laugh when we mess it up.¬† the first load took us about 2 hours and then we hung it to dry but it rained for the next 48 hours…which didnt help at all! now we can do a load in about 30 minutes- still with help from the girls, but they like to spend the time with us.¬† each time we go into town we now take one of our sisters with us as an outing since they rarely leave wages (the town we live in)

today i am going to get my hair twister, its like braids but they dont take as long.¬† so hehe if it looks like i got dreads not to worry they come out! I cant believe this weekend marks a month that I’ve been here- time is flying!!! only 3.5 months left ūüė¶

next time i am near my computer i will up-load photos to Facebook, i promise! and usually i have been posting from my phone ( i still have some city left in me) but the Blackberry network has been down in Africa for a few days.

I’m still doing all right,talk to y’all later

friends, family and fufu

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After a week at henry’s all of the volunteers became really good friends really fast, so when we had to pack up the bus to head off to our various placements everyone was sad. After a 3.5 hour ride me and michelle were dropped off on the side of the highway where we were told to wait for our hosts. About 5 minutes after the bus left a taxi showed up and drove us up to the complex which is completely surrounded by jungle and not at all like we expected. There is a long blue building that’s has 5 class rooms and then an unfinished building which will be 3 more when it is complete. In between them is a small house which also acts as the computer lab, library and the school kitchen… Needless to say we weren’t in kansas anymore. The first two days were really hard but finally on wednesday we set up our room with pictures from home and had a long chat with mr. Kainyiah. This made us feel so much more at home and even part of the family. There are 9 of us living in this house. Mr. And mrs. Kainyiah. Ellen 4, Ula 9 and joeseph 16. Plus their 2 nieces.
Ellen is the cutest thing I have ever seen and she fits in my backpack so she’s coming home with me. Ula is very smart but a little quieter. She often helps the other kids with their work. Joe is sixteen but acts 12 because of developmental problems. Sometimes it is hard to understand him and he gets frustrated when he has to repeat himself but he’s an awesome kid. I also help coach his football (soccer) team now, so me and him are pretty close.
On july 29 the kainyiah’s lost their 11 year-old daughter monica. She was hit by a car on her way to church. We have talked to the kids and our host dad about it but aunty mary (our host mother) avoids the subject and is not herself, which is hard for the kids to see.
On a different note: eating here is like that scene in along came polly. Every dish has some type of mystery meat…dried fish, goat…their intestines, chicken I dunno what, octopus heads. I am definitely missing veggies.
On monday we started teaching in the nursery and this tuesday we will finish in grade 7 before we decide where we want to teach. So far I like grade 3/4 the best. To every teacher I’ve had. I am SOOOOO sorry. North american kids have zero respect. Here, every morning the boys salute us and the girls curtsy. When they leave class every single one of them shakes our hand. Its hard for me to remember the last time I said hello to a teacher. No one here can say hailey so most of the kids call me Mme. Hai. Or sister Yaa ( my ghanian name).
Also you only need to have completed secondary here to teach. all of the teachers are 20-23 which is really cool cause they show us around lots!
I absolutely LOVE it here and to make it better me and my room mate are pretty much exactly the same person so what’s not to love…?
Friday night we went out in town ( which is about an hour away by trotro) and met up with the other volunteers. It was good to see familiar faces. I was starting to miss them. After hearing about their placements I could not be happier with ours. Many of them are at wealthy boarding schools ( they might as well be in the US) used to having volunteers so they aren’t really needed. We are the first volunteers to ever come and they really need our help too, it feels good to know we are actually making a difference for these kids.
Da yei! (Good night- my fante is getting good eh?)

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Akwaaba

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ohh hey!

i¬†have officially arrived in Ghana ūüėĬ† i¬†met up with 6 of the girls at YVR¬†and the rest once we landed here. Everyone is really nice and we all are¬† getting along really well.¬† There are 5 kids from the UK, 1 from the states and then 11 from Canada.¬† We are the smallest group Lattitude¬†has had here in a while! Im not at my placement yet (sunday i¬†go) we are all living at our country co-ordinator’s¬†house in Accra, the capital.¬† every morning we’re up at 8 which is considered sleeping in for them.¬† then we go off to our¬† university where we take a course until one o’clock.¬†¬†¬† After we come back home for lunch and play with the kids ALL afternoon. most of the kids who live near to us don’t have money to go to school¬† so the kids that do act as our translators.

There is one little girl names Manuela and she is 3.¬† She wont talk to any of the other¬†volunteers but me and she doesn’t¬†speak¬†very good english.¬† the only things she knows are the words that her 4 year-old brother taught her.¬† their family sent Daniel (the brother ) to school last year but didn’t have enough to send him this year…sadly thats more common than not here.¬†

it’s really hard to see so many puppy’s everywhere and not being able to pet them!!!

i¬†got my phone set up but I’ve¬†been having problems with texting ( you all have to dial +1 233 024 721 6309) but you can try texting me if you want… my bbm¬†also works so if you have my pin i keep my phone on me in the evenings.

in the evenings¬†we all go to the spot and watch “en¬†el nombre¬†de amor”¬† with terrible english voice overs. but hey, its entertaining.¬† we also sing a lot¬†with the church¬†choir during they’re rehearsals.¬† everyone is¬†soooo religious!!!

-ghanians sleep everywhere, anywhere and at any time

-“the spot” = Bar

– I could find a husband in under 30 seconds :S

– obruni= white girl (they all call us that)

– in public people enjoy touching my hair

– public urination = completely acceptable!!!

-i¬†miss fruit but we stock up every day at the market ( I¬†even found AVACADO ūüėÄ

– sadly they dont drink coffee

-they can all dance

-it’s¬†weird being stared at because you’re the different one

people who have cars…all have really nice, really new cars!

– it has been pouring rain so it is about 100% humidity (not good for the hair)

– hot water is non existent

– the only clean water comes in plastic bags

until next time folks, im out!!

ohh ps- mom they stole my birkenstocks out of my pack on the flight:( again!!!!!my knees are gunna take a beating!

Goodbyes

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Well, my trip is only one sleep away (mind you i probably wont get any sleep tonight).

over the last couple weeks I¬†have been saying goodbye to all my friends and family.¬† some goodbyes were harder than others, and some were harder than expected. At this point in our lives I¬†think most kids are ready to leave home and their families¬†but sometimes we forget that means leaving our friends.¬† I have been so fortunate to grow up with the kids I¬†have.¬† I’ve never met a closer group of friends than mine and I¬†am so¬†grateful for them.¬† Most of my friends I have known since elementary school (some even kindergarten) and¬†the rest¬†since grade 8 or 9.¬† It is going to be HUGE not to see them 5 days a week 10 months a year!!!

To all of my friends reading this-¬†thanks for the awesome memories, I¬†love you all.¬†Gals-¬†girl talk¬†is there for a reason,¬†use it often* FDBZ¬†(I¬†think I¬†get BBM¬†in Ghana??) keep talking and don’t¬†forget to e-mail. I hope you guys make mistakes and learn from them; afterall, university is for learning right? I cant wait to hear about all your crazy adventures. Be prepared to lend a couch when¬†I get back,¬†I want to visit everyone!! (even y’all¬†back east-¬†Alexa I’ll try to bring the ocean with me ūüôā )

To the fam… I’ll¬†miss you more than I’ll¬†let on (you¬†know well how stubborn I¬†am). Mamma: your little girls gotta grow up some day, but don’t worry you taught me well…thanks for putting a good head on my shoulders. Randolph: just cause im not there to make you, don’t¬†use it as an excuse not to leave the office early (5:30 sharp-¬†I told T to make sure that happens at least twice a week).¬† Rayrenn: good luck in grade 12 baby bro, don’t¬†fall off the wagon¬†now, remember you gotta make the big bucks so you can pay for my expensive life style ūüėõ¬† enjoy total¬†control¬†of the internet, TV remote and car…be gentle, Bessy’s getting old! (but don’t¬†get too comfortable 6 months will go by faster than we would like) Skippy- hang around a while wont you?

I love you¬† and¬†thank you for be so supportive of me through everything ‚̧

Its kinda crazy how fast time flies-¬†I’ve¬†known for 8 months that¬†I¬†am going to Ghana and its weird¬†to think that in less time than that I¬†will be back home!¬† hopefully I¬†havent¬†forgotten anything, I¬†only packed and unpacked my bag 3 times…the toiletries were a pain, how am I¬†supposed to know how much soap or shampoo I’ll¬†use in 6 months?? this isn’t¬†something I¬†am used to keeping track of.¬† but I¬†guess I¬†will find out eventually! AHHH¬†I¬†am so¬†excited.¬† you will probably find out fast how random my thought process¬†is and since im new to the blogging world my post’s may be a little hard to follow.¬† If you want me to¬†write about anything specific, like where im staying, food, or people just let me know and ill try to fit it in my next blog.¬† My next post will be short- probably just enough to let you all know im alive and give you my phone number or other contact info.

Thanks for reading,

This isn’t goodbye, it’s “see you later”!

Hello world!

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