"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 1 – 23 May 2012

Hey everyone,

We are finally here! We arrived last night to the hotel around 10pm and got settled in. Right now we are in Accra, the capital and largest city in Ghana on the southern coast. Tomorrow we will drive north to Patriensa, the village we will be working in. Right now Gordon (our technical advisor) Jeseth, Kim, Ivi (a member of the Ghana Briquette team), and myself are here in Accra while Kristina (our project lead) is already in Patriensa with the Briquette team. Besides us, there about 20 other UT social work students here to attend a study abroad May-mester, so we have plenty of company including the very friendly Ghanaians.
Today was very successful and at moments very stressful. At the start of the day we immediately realized the common theme of “Hurry up and Wait,” as we waited on our driver wonderful driver George. Although once he arrived he had to leave again to get a smaller vehicle for us. Asides from driving us around George also explains Ghana culture, guides us through the city, helps us make purchases, and most importantly helps us communicate with the Ghanaians. 

Our biggest accomplishment today was purchasing a submersible pump for the well and a generator. The whole process took about 5 hours even though someone had already paid for the equipment and it was all the same store. After a lot of miscommunication, phone calls, and decision making, we finally left the store with the correct pump and generator.  After that, George took us to a restaurant that served authentic Ghanaian food. I thought the food was great and not very different from what I’m used to, however I had fried barracuda with fried rice and a Coca-Cola, which wasn’t as exotic as some of the other dishes. Next we sat in traffic for about two hours to go back to our hotel to unload our equipment. The streets of Accra were jammed packed with vendors trying to sell things to people in the drivers stuck in traffic, small tables and carts selling things to people walking by, and small shops for people who are intentionally seeking to buy something. After the long drive, we unloaded the generator and pump and headed to Shoprite to buy food for our stay in Patriensa. We spent about an hour purchasing things like 10 boxes of cereal, 28 cartons of milk, 6 loaves of bread, and 20 gallons of water never really sure if it was enough or too much for the next two weeks. After filling 3 carts with food we felt we had enough and returned to the hotel. 

We achieved everything we set out to do today, but, I think, most importantly we grew accustomed to Ghanaian way of life and felt more comfortable in a land half-way around the world.  That’s all for now, but I plan update again soon, assuming I can find some internet to connect to.


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