Catch up time

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

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Monday, September 19, 2005

Sorry for the delay in my writing. For those of you who haven't been informed I spent most of last week in a hospital in Legon. After four weeks in Ghana I managed to contract malaria, which means I was infected by the malaria-carrying mosquito only after two weeks! Yea me! But I am doing much better now, with a big thanks to my friends here that took such good care of me. Thanks to Poppa and Kyle for calling and checking on me every night and thanks to all of you that sent well wishes through e-mail. The good karma vibes definitely were felt!

I have written this blog twice now, it takes about 90 minutes and both times it didn't save. So here's my third attempt, and I'll make this one shorter than the other two.

Thursday night the CAN (Canadian, American, Norwegian) girls troops (as we call ourselves)_ told me to pack my bag 'cause we were off for another weekend in Kumasi. So I grabbed my stuff got a good nights sleep and at 5 the next morning we were off. We went to a new bus station this time, thinking we would rough it and not take the luxury bus. We got a little lost on the way there, which is nothing new for us. But managed to find our way. We got swarmed by a group of Mates (men who assist the bus driver by finding people to fill the bus, collecting the money and arranging where to drop everyone off). Catherine got her watch stolen and I was amazed that we managed to hang on to everything else. We got onto the bus, which had no air condition but did have the horrible Ghanaian movies that I am growing accustomed to. As the bus began to move a man stood up and began his one-hour prayer service, in twi. The only thing I understood were the hymns that would break out with everyone on the bus signing. This was very new to me and the rest of the CAN team but we enjoyed the cultural experience. After the sermon another man stood up, this one had a briefcase instead of a bible and he was selling medicine. This "medicine" solved every problem from acne to stretch marks, and to make it worth even more; it conveniently took of nail polish and cleaned your jewelry. I think my favourite part was when he told people that it also helped with indigestion, you could DRINK THIS STUFF. People were buying bottles of it, the women next to me kept telling me how amazing it was and then called her friends and family to see if they wanted some as well. I wasn't sure if I should intervene and tell her that maybe drinking nail polish remover wasn't the greatest idea, but she just laughed at me.

After the sales man sold his quota (a two hour ordeal) he left the bus and the Ghanaian movies began. The movies often contain some moral tale, so they usually contain a lot of violence and screaming, often with children involved. They are really horrible and someone always dies, but the Ghanaians love them and are always laughing!

We finally made it to Kumasi, but it was already after dark. We were fortunate to find an Evangelical priest who took us to the Presbyterian Hostel. We got two rooms for the night and managed to find a vegetarian restaurant close by for some dinner.

Saturday we went to the arts centre. The pieces were beautiful and I bought a ton of Christmas gifts for family and friends ;-) We left the centre and went to the Ashanti Museum. The museum was quite small but they were very proud of it. The talking drums were amazing and make the sound of a lions roar perfectly!

We went back to our vegetarian restaurant for lunch where I realized that I had left my new purchases in the back of the taxi (sorry folks no good news to report they are long gone). We had a great lunch and after managed to find a taxi that would take us to Lake Bowtosmi. The resort was only accessible by foot as it was hidden deep in the forest surrounded by mountains and a beautiful fresh water lake. The resort was amazing and the girls and I thoroughly enjoyed the view along with the Ghanaian-Austrian owners. We were too late for diner so we had a few drinks with our hosts and then went to bed. After a couple hours of sleep Hilde and I woke up to hear the sound of a mouse eating our bedpost. I wasn't feeling very well and getting back to sleep was proving difficult so I tossed and turned for the rest of the night. I finally gave up at about 5am. I went down to the lake to write in my journal but ended up watching the fishing community for several hours. The sun rose from behind the mountains. The men in their canoes had small handheld scoop paddles and were catching fish with their hands and spears, it was incredible to watch. I woke the other girls and we ate breakfast with Kiki the parrot. I was starting to feel really sick and decided to go lay down. A couple hours later I asked to get going. Hilde was amazing and right away got the girls together and flagged down a taxi. As the taxi drove I continued to feel worse. The girls offered to take me to a hospital in Kumasi but I disagreed since we all had school the next day. Unfortunately for us we found a not so honest taxi driver who didn't take us to the luxury station, which is formal so he doesn't get a cut of the profit for bringing us there. Instead he took us to the normal bus station, which doesn't have windows that open or a bathroom. I was so sick and didn't care to fight, so the girls loaded me up with plastic bags and we began the 6 1/2 hour ride back to Accra. The girls got a taxi right away and we went to the hospital. At this point I had a fever, had fainted, and was throwing up. The doctor admitted me right away and treated me as though I had malaria. The girls went and bought me some food and water. The hospital is very basic (no water, toilet paper, or showers). I spent three nights and four days there, on the third night the women who had spent the last two days screaming decided at four in the morning to begin singing hymns and reading aloud from her bible. I had barely any sleep that night and knew that being there was not making me any better so I finally signed myself out when I felt I could stand long enough to make it to a taxi.

Jon, a fellow BPAPMer from Carleton had been an absolute sweetheart, luckily he owns a mo-ped so he drove to and from the hospital to get me my prescriptions bring me non-fishy/meaty food (the pizza was really good Jon, thanks a million, although a large was a little too big), and since Ghana doesn't have Interac, no credit cards are excepted, and I had no money on me, Jon and Hilde covered all of my hospital bills until I was well enough to pay them back. I love my friends!! I spent another three days in bed at residence, but it just felt so good to be back.

By Saturday I was feeling well enough to venture out, so Jon and I headed down to Osu to pick up some fabric (I'm getting some dresses made!) and food at the western grocery store (mom all I wanted was your ginger root tea and some tomato soup! I even dreamt about it!). We got back just in time to get dressed up and head over to the International Students Durbar. The International Programs Office had put on a special dinner and show to welcome us. There were African drummers and dancers, great food, dancing, and a good dose of culture. I manage to stay for a couple of hours but ended up leaving early because I was so worn out and starting to feel a little ill again. I went to bed at 7 and managed to sleep for a wonderful 14 hours!!

Jon thought it would be good to get me out to the pool for Sunday afternoon and I was itching to move my body a little and I was soooo bored! So we gathered up a group of ISHers to join us and Jon and I headed out on the mo-ped. We went to Shangri-La which is a hotel/resort in Accra. The front of the building looks more like a motel. The inside is beautiful with a total Africa feel, but once you get out in the back yard it looks like a five star resort. There are fountains, and waterfalls, tennis courts, an outdoor restaurant, and a large pool with a swim up bar. I had a great time just lying around and cooling off in the pool. Fresh air and some exercise felt wonderful!

I managed to start school on Monday and have been feeling well ever since. I added some pictures to my blog, if you get a sec check out the Volta River entry!
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