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Trip Start Aug 13, 2005
Trip End Jan 03, 2006

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hello Everyone,

I'm in Ghana!! My flight was extremly long but it was so beautiful. Leaving Toronto we flew over Montreal (I couldn't find your house Jonny), through Northern Quebec (which was pretty with green mountains and tiny villages) and we left Canada by flying over Newfoundland. The sun set over the Atlantic Ocean. I couldn't sleep at all that night so I just watched from my window. There was a few boats in the water but otherwise it was uneventful. I picked up my book and read for a few hours. When I put it down I looked out to see the lights of a tiny fishing village that stretched out from the European coast. With the airplane so quiet and these tiny villages below it was really picturesque. The sun began to rise and the plane started to descend just over Italy's snow capped mountains! I landed in Milan, went through customs again and went to the 'transfer' section of the airport. I thought of Charlotte (my sister) right away because the first thing I saw was the Ferrari clothing and accessory shop (Char you would've LOVED it). The airport is really small and very confusing, if you're traveling and need a long stop over don't make it Milan. I finally boarded the plan at 5pm Milan time (10am in Toronto). There was an hour delay while they fixed the unspecified matainence problem (that was reassuring). The flight over Italy was pretty but mostly just water. I sat next to Ghanaians and Nigerians. The plane ride was so lively. People were signing and dancing in their seats, everyone came to talk with me, it was great! I knew we were over Africa when I looked down to see the sand of the Sahara. The plane lowered again and it felt as if we were just coasting along over the dessert. Its a pretty bleak sight except for the massive sand dunes that look like spider webs spreading across the Sahara. I only saw a few small villages in the Sahara and it was at least 2 hours of flying over desolate land, but the first 15 minutes was a pretty amazing sight. We stopped in Lagos, Nigeria, which believe it or not is bigger than Toronto. It was massive, with huge highways and skyscrapers, not the typical Africa that we see reported in Canada. We had an hour wait in Lagos (we just stayed in the plane) and then we started for take-off to Accra. As the safety videos started, we lost all power (great). The plane went black and people were running around to fix things. 15 minutes later the pilot announced that we were ready of take-off. We safely landed 20 minutes later in Accra. Just as the plane was descending, Martin (a Ghanaian who was sitting beside me) leaned over as I had my face pasted to the window and whispered "welcome to Africa". I was so excited!!
I got into Ghana Sunday night just after 12am Ghana time (6 hours ahead of Ontario). No one was waiting for me at the airport (which was suppose to happen) so I got into a taxi and got taken to a hotel in the middle of Accra. The people at the airport were really nice to me and made sure that I was safe, but it was a scary experience. I don't recommend traveling through Africa for the first time at midnight. But I got a hot shower and my first sleep in 36 hours so I was happy. The next morning at 9am, Philip my taxi driver came to pick me up. He took me to the bank (mostly so that he could get paid since I didn't have any cedis or american cash on me that night). Then he took me to the University. I was so excited when I found out that I did have a room in residence and everything was set up for me.

I have now registered in all of my classes and I've found my way around campus (sort of). I get more of a reaction from the men of Ghana then I expected. I have had a couple of proposals so far, and everyone tells me how much they would love to come to Canada. Its not always done in a very flattering way, men tend to be very forward and sometimes begin yelling at you from across a field until you stop and give them time to come meet you. Joe (a fellow BPAPMer) was saying that I get such a big reaction because of my hair. Not only am I the only red-head on Campus (and probably in the whole of Ghana) but red is a really significant colour here. Apparently there is a frat that the University calls on when ever people get rowdy. The frat identify themselves with red shirts, so whenever girls wear red shirts they are teased because they are not allowed to be a part of the frat. So not only is red hair rare, the colour of red is a symbol of masculinity and violence, two strikes against me.

The females my age are not nearly as friendly and many ignore me. I really hope that once  classes start next week I'll be able to make a better impression and perhaps some female will actually befriend me and tell me what's going on.

The children are the best! They are so beautiful and get really excited when they see me, its even more exciting for them when I wave or say hi. The older women who sell things at the night market on campus (its made up of stands where women sell food and little odds and ends) are really sweet. They know all of the International student's names and love talking with us.

Last night I went out into the city with a group of the International students and we ate at Assase Pa, a vegan restaurant that even had soy ice cream!! Tonight a group of us are going to Labodee Beach in Accra. Wednesday nights they have a reggae party on the beach so we're off to celebrate my birthday there, yay!

Well that's about it for now. We have an Internet Cafe in Res so I'll try to write fairly often. Hope all is well at home. I miss you all,

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