July 10th - Journey to Emmanuel's Village

Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End Aug 04, 2008

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Flag of Ghana  ,
Thursday, July 10, 2008

Today was a relatively uneventful day.  Our only task we to get to Emanuel's village
to meet with the people of the school and familiarize ourselves with his
village so when we return we can work on our other projects.  Our plan was to start the day off at 9
o'clock with Emanuel picking us up from the dorm in Sunyani.  We all set our alarm clocks and were dressed
and ready to roll by 8:30.  After 9:00
rolled by we decided we would call Emanuel to see where he was.  After a brief conversation we learned that he
was going to stop by the bank before he picked us up and was running a little
late, he would be at our dorm in 10 minutes
After two hours flew by playing solitaire on our computers Emanuel, was
here to pick us up.  He had some trouble
at the bank.

The ride to his village was vaguely similar to driving
through the U.P. just with lots of different and much bigger trees.  It almost felt like driving to Tech on
Highway 41.  It was very cool this
morning and the night before Mitch and Marcie were actually cold.  We were making good time by going 110 km/hr
in a 70 km/hr zone.  We were enjoying the
drive when suddenly a police officer flagged us down.  Emanuel said something in Twi and pulled over
and turned off the truck.  He immediately
got out of the truck and started walking to where the police officers were
sitting.  We were all shocked a little
that we got pulled over in Ghana.  We
didn't really know what to do or say. 
While Emanuel was talking to the officer the officer with the radar gun
walked over to us.  We all turned our
heads and stared straight down the road, not knowing what to expect.  He walked up to the window and showed us the
gun, it read 82 Km/hr and we were only supposed to be going 50 km/hr because we
were entering a small village.  He said
that we could have killed a human and that he was going to arrest Emanuel.  The only thing that we could say as he walked
was, "Is this really happening?"  We all
turned around to watch Emanuel talking to the other officer.  We saw Emanuel smiling and reaching into his
pocket.  He pulled out ten Ghana Cedis,
roughly 10 US dollars and gave it to the officer.  They nodded heads and Emanuel got back into
the truck and we continued our journey. 
If we could only take care of tickets like this in the US.

After driving for about an hour and half, through some
really bumpy dirty roads, we arrived in Emanuel's village.  It was very small, similar to Kranka.  As we approached his house we knew that he
came from one of the more prominent families in the village.  His home was very nice.  It was almost like a villa, it had all the
rooms in the house surrounding an open courtyard.  He said that most of his family lived in the
house.  We got to meet a lot of his
family.  Anywhere from his mother,
brothers, aunts, and uncles.  After a
short and delicious lunch at his house we walked to the school where there
where many children playing football (soccer for us Americans).  They all seemed to stop playing as we walked
by.  We got many smiles and waves but
just as many stares.  We sat down and met
with the Head Teacher of the school.  We
explained who we are and what we were doing. 
They had a lot harder time understanding English than most of the people
we talked to in town.  They seemed very
interested in the computer project just as most of the school teachers we have
talked too.  They have a slot of
Information and Communication Technology in their lesson plans, but they don't
have any computers to teach the children with. 
It seems like this would be a great place to try and work on that
project.  They also seemed very
interested in the water quality and sanitation issues that we talked
about.  Their entire school didn't have
any bathrooms or latrines for the students to use.  After our conversation we were off to explore
the village a little.

It at this time that Emanuel explained to us that we were
only about a 10 minute walk from Cote D'Ivore. 
Our faces lit up when he told us we were going to visit another African
country.  As we walked toward the boarder
which was right in the middle of town we had a group of bodyguards with
us.  They happened to be a group of small
children, but they were on our tails like we were very important people.  Marcie stopped and took some pictures with
them.  It was absolutely amazing to show
them our cameras after we had taken a few pictures of them.  Their faces lit up at the sight of themselves
in the photos.   As we were getting
closer to the boarder Emanuel explained to us about how to tell where the
boarder was.  He said as you enter Cote
D'Ivore all the telephone poles were made of concrete and in Ghana they were
all wood.  Also in the woods, there was a
line of Teak trees that represented the boarder.  After some pictures we were back on our way
to Emanuel's house.  We climbed in the
truck and headed back towards Sunyani.

Emanuel was not going to take us all the way back to Sunyani
though; he was going to stay there with his family.  He dropped us off at a neighboring town
called Dormaa.  We had to get a taxi from
there to Sunyani.   As we found a taxi
Cory took the opportunity to buy some Puma shoes for only 10 Ghana Cedis.  Mitch wanted to buy some, but in Ghana they
do not make size 13 shoes.  Our taxi ride
home was very cheap and very uneventful. 
Marcie slept most of the way, Mitch reading a newspaper, and Cory played

After we got back to our dorms we decided that we wanted to
walk to town to see if we could buy a basketball or a soccer ball.  We really underestimated how far of a walk it
was!  It was probably a 30 minute walk to
town; we thought it was only about 10.

While we were walking we passed many different goats and
many different taxis honking at us. 
However, the most interesting part of the trip was when a young lady
came running up to talk to Mitch mostly
We were walking past a yellow building. 
There were about 10 people sitting around a table and they all started
waving and yelling.  We kept walking
because we did not know whether they were talking to us or someone else.  Then this lovely young lady who did not look
more than 18 years old ran up to invite us to sit down.  We think that Mitch was the main interest for
having Cory and Marcie also sit down.  As
we walked down to the path to the area that they were sitting we were greeted
by many "welcomes" and "please, sit downs." 
Everyone in Ghana says welcome and sit down.  This can be a little unnerving when you don't
actually know where to sit.  Three chairs
were brought out to us and we were introduced around the table.  It was pretty much a conversation that we had
practiced in class.  They asked how we
were, what are names were, and where we were from.  Then the conversation deviated from our class
session.  The father of many of the girls
was there and just happened to be sitting next to Mitch.  This is the same father of the lovely girl
who had run up to invite us to sit down. 
It turns out that he is a police man in town and wanted to know if Mitch
wanted his daughter.  He told Mitch that
he would give him his daughter.  Mitch
trying not to be rude said, "No I have a girlfriend, but thank you."  The man then asked where she was at and Mitch
said in the U.S.  This did not stop the
man from asking again "I give you my daughter. 
She is very beautiful, very nice." 
Mitch then said, "Yes she is very beautiful but no, no, no."  He had just heard that first yes and asked
what Mitch would give for her.  After a
few back and forth's Mitch finally convinced the man that he was not interested.  All this was going all while the daughter was
not sitting a few feet from us, smiling at Mitch.  The conversation then turn a little awkward
has most would suspect after a failed marriage set up.  They then asked how old we were and told us
that this was a restaurant.  One of the
other daughters said that we were only called over to entertain them. Everyone
laughed at this comment and also left for a very good break for us.  We asked how far away the downtown was,
finding out that it was only 10 minutes away. 
We got up to say good bye and everyone told us that we were welcomed back
whenever we liked.

We began walking toward town and could not help but laughing
about Mitch's marriage proposal.  We
talked about him bartering for a wife going from two goats down to one.  We reached the city center without any more

The town was fairly busy as walked in.  There were many street vendors selling
anything from what looked to be smoked rat to fresh fruit.  We were on a mission for a soccer ball.  We found a store just as we entered town but
we wanted to walk a little bit more and decided that we would stop on our way
back.  Mitch and Cory found a shop that
sold DVDs.  At first they walked by, but
decided to go back and check out what they had. 
It's a good thing they did.  We
figured out that in Ghana you can buy one DVD with anywhere from 40 to 60
different movies on it!  They had entire
collections of different actors for only 4 cedis each.  Mitch bought two and Cory bought one.  After this we decided to walk back and stop
by the sports shop.  As we walked in the
owner followed us in but did not say anything. 
The three of us discussed how much we wanted to pay for a soccer ball
and basketball.  Mitch said that the
basketball and soccer balls were the same as the ones in the sporting goods
store that he worked at in Houghton, and they cost between 5 and 10
dollars.  We decided we would not pay
more than 5 cedis for either one and asked the owner how much.  To our surprise he said 550,000 old Ghana
cedis.  We quickly did the conversion in
our head and it came out to be 55 cedis.   We thought this can't be right and asked him
how much in new cedis.  He said 55.  We couldn't believe it.  We decided that we didn't need a soccer ball
anymore and on the way out Mitch asked how much the basketballs were.  They were only 35 cedis but we still decided
not to get one.  We grabbed a cab that
only took 3 minutes and 1 cedis back to our dorm.

Now it was time for dinner. 
All day Marcie and Mitch said that they were going to try Fufu.  It is a very popular dish that Emanuel has
had many times while we ate with him. 
Cory decided to stick with the fried rice.  Mitch ate the traditional way, with his hand,
and Marcie at with a spoon.  Now what
Marcie thought of her first bite of Fufu can only be explained in a picture
that Cory thankfully captured.  Fufu
tasted like peppy venison gravy over uncooked pizza dough with some
unidentifiable meat in it.  It honestly
doesn't taste that bad, but we think we will stick to the fried rice.  After sitting and enjoying the view for a
while we walked back to the dorms to head to bed.
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