Tuesday, December 1, 2009

AH! You didn't tell me you were leaving!

So I left Jirapa for about 4 days. I tried to tell as many people as I could because from previous experiences of leaving for like 2 days I get attacked by people wondering why I didn’t tell them I was leaving. It is a personal insult apparently. It’s takin me awhile to get used to this small town life where everyone knows everything about everyone and has a say to say in everyone’s everything. If that’s clear. So I thought I told everyone. Anyway we had Thanksgiving at the Ambassadors house and got to stay with US workers in Accra. I felt like I… wasn’t in Kansas anymore so to speak. More like I was in America. We arrived to the beautiful ambassador’s house who greeted us with sangrias and then we swam in his sparkling pool. I got to see all the amazing volunteers from all around Ghana who I have missed desperately for the last 3 months. Then we ate turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, beans, pumpkin and pecan pie followed by coffee. Most of us couldn’t move after eating so much rich food- I’d like to point out I’ve never seen Guillermo look so miserable and happy at the same time. So after a 12 hour bus ride, which I thankfully slept for most of, it was very refreshing to have such a great holiday. After the celebration we did a very “American” thing and went to a sports bar called “Champs”. We played pool, pub trivia, watched American football, and drank tap beer that had prices too similar to American prices for my taste. I even got to see my friend Whitney (a volunteer in Togo) from college who was spending the holiday in Ghana. Then after a quick swim in the ocean the next day we headed back the 12 hours to the Upper West. Away from cars and buildings and toilets back to “Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?!”

When I got home, after sleeping for like 16 hours straight I realized my garden I had started with some neighborhood kids was half fenced now and almost complete. The kids here amaze me at times. After going around and apologizing to the people I did not tell I was leaving to and then apologizing to the ones I did tell but now they were upset I didn’t call them while I was there to greet them from Accra… they all had a say on my new garden. “Elyse, the donkeys will eat it.” “The fence is no good” “You should buy the wire fence” “The termites will get it” “What are you planting?” “How will you water it?” And I got a lot of “What did you bring me from Accra?” Well, it’s nice to be back. I’m fine thank you and I didn’t bring anyone anything back except myself.

Some co-workers at the district assembly were asking what we did to celebrate Thanksgiving and I said that all we did was eat food. They thought this was great but then were curious why I hadn’t grown fat. I told them I tried and that I try every year on Thanksgiving but it somehow doesn’t work. They still didn’t believe me that I ate enough.

Travel Moments I’d like to share…

1. While Jason was deep in a book about the holocaust Joy and I noticed a man selling skin anti-rash cream and we pointed him in Jason’s direction. This confused both Jason and the man and the man told Jason he must be “Loving too much” showing him how he could put the cream in ummm certain places to relieve ummm certain skin problems. Joy and I couldn’t stop laughing. The things you do when waiting for a bus to leave for 3 hours…

2. Austin is wrong and you cannot just “guess” in Sudoku.

3. Forget your personal bubble.

4. If the music is too loud to talk you should just dance.

5. Pure water Pure water Pure water

6. I missed Pito

7. It is ok to feel through the tro window if the fan-ice or fan-yogo is frozen before purchasing it.

8. In one tro ride a Ghanaian told Arjun and I that he heard there were gangsters in America….it was an interesting conversation.

9. Buying 3 egg sandwiches is difficult…because really who does that? I do when Jason and joy don’t want to go get one.

10. It is always better to travel with a buddy if only for some entertainment and for group hugs when necessary.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for all of the family and friends I have back home always providing me with much needed support. And I’m thankful for being able to have some amazing experiences and amazing people to share them with.


  1. And I am thankful for you and your posts!

  2. We are so thankful for our wonderful granddaughter in Ghana, Africa. May God keep her safe from harm and keep her well. Our love reaches out to you in this far off land that we can only wonder at and yet from your messages of the country and your friends we can almost reach out and touch you. Rest in peace. Love you.

  3. I'm thankful that Elyse has wonderful friends. Friends to hug, laugh with, tell her dreams to, and travel meeting interesting people and experiencing Ghana culture. We also did an American past time this Thanksgiving holiday watching the Griz score 61 points to beat South Dakota State. 47 points in the second half! Go Montana! Love you! Mom

  4. Hey, Elyse!
    Dr E and I think about you ALOT and just never get organized to let you know! We are so excited for you! You are obviously soaking up every possible experience, taking advantage of each opportunity that comes your way, and are sharing it all with many of us! WOW! Here, at GU, things are a whirlwind of lab finals, grading papers, and COLD! Soon it will be Christmas and some relaxation time! Be watching for a care package from us in about 2 weeks! Huge Christmas HUGS!!!! -Ann-Scott and Dr. E.