Monday, July 7, 2008

Another blog so soon?

I would like to take a moment to talk about Ghanaian food. From what I can tell, your average meal consists of a starchy portion (usually rice, or this dough ball that I haven't really figured out yet) and a meat portion with sauce. Sometimes also a little salad. You kinda mix the starch and meat together, but not completely. It is usually beef or chicken, once in a while fish. Everything is really spicy which is a thumbs up in this kind of weather. Another dish I have had is beans and fried plantains, which are probably the worst thing ever for you, but are soooooo good. Finally, last night I had my first experience with 'fufu'. This is the dish that everyone is talking about. It consists of a spicy peanut soup with some more of the doughy substance within, and some meat. And I would just like to say, for all of you haters (this means you - aunts, uncles, grandma, and mom & dad) who have told me not to play with my food, fufu is eaten without utensils. I was definitely really confused but I got a little fufu lesson from my host ma, then while I was eating I noticed one of my little host bro's was fiddling with his camera. What was going on?? Well, it turns out this was a host family sneak attack maneuver to take a picture of me trying to eat fufu. Trust me, it's not easy. I don't really mind messing up because the Ghanaians have a really good sense of humor about this kind of thing, and they just laughed at me heartily, and we had a good time. Plus fufu is really good so it's like a win-win situation.

I didn't do much this weekend except a couple little stories that I will tell someday, so let's fast forward to today - our first day at the orphanage. We picked up everyone on the good ole' AFS bus and headed over to Peace and Love Orphanage which is in Accra. My task for the day was painting this small classroom. We sanded it down and cleaned it and painted it all blue. I hope they weren't expecting too much quality because none of us had really painted before and it was kinda sloppy. I mean, I tried really hard though. Also, I am not too much help with painting because I'm so short, so I was maybe more of a cheerleader. I still got paint all over my clothes though, so I have the battle scar I guess. While we were painting some of the kids wandered in to say hello and...

I just can't even take it! These are pretty much the best kids I've ever met in my life. They are all so incredibly friendly. They don't act like their lives are destitute or anything like that. This one kid was very businesslike, he came in and shook my head, and said, 'I'm Francis, what is your name?'so I told him and then he just whipped out this notepad and pen where he keeps a list of email addresses. We talked for awhile (I think I was supposed to be painting?) and I ended up promising to get him a soccer ball. In the whole orphanage they don't even seem to have a soccer ball.

After we lunched we kind of hung out in the courtyard and this random girl came up to me and said, 'Will you come teach us?' What? Teach what? Well, she led me into a classroom filled with children and no teacher, and told me to teach them absolutely anything. So I launched into the whole Head-Shoulders-Knees-Toes and Simon-Says icebreakers and then we just talked a bit. After I went back out, I was feeling the love from the kids in the courtyard. I practically threw out my back giving piggyback rides. At one point I finally had to put this girl down because I was so tired and she just didn't want to let go so I picked her up and held her, but while I was picking her up, another boy jumped on my back, so it was really crazy. But they were so sweet. The girl wouldn't let go of my hand for anything.

Things like this happen and it really gets me thinking. I can't believe that there are all these kids whose lives are so lacking that they have to trust random American students with no real qualifications to come be their teachers for a week. Some of my friends were actually teaching math and reading class. Maybe we take our education for granted. Their clothes were all dirty and they were sometimes missing socks or shoes. But I have never met children with so much love. I can't believe I only get 9 more days of spending time with them.

Anyway, I didn't want to write too much and bore everyone, but I thought it would be cool to share about the orphanage. I will try to get some pics up by next weekend when I have more time on the net. Hope you all are doing well. It's a shame about Federer losing Wimbledon; I was on his side!
Peacing out, Shannon


Andy Hill said...

How cool is that. Wow what great kids they sound like. Love the blog.

Nicholas said...

Hey Shannon!

(I emailed you this as well)

This is Nick from AFS-USA. How's Ghana going? Well, I am definitely jealous of your opportunity to be in such a wonderful country for so long! Awesome.

Well I am contacting you because I came across your wonderful blog and you're doing such a great job documenting your trip with personal reflection.

We have recently created the Official AFS Blog ( and would love to feature your blog at some point, if that's alright with you. If you haven't already checked it out, I highly recommend it.

I was also curious if you would be okay with AFS possibly using some of your best pictures to add to an AFS Ghana online photo gallery, much like our newly created Thailand Show here: I'm not sure if you are posting your photos online, let me know!

Please let me know as soon as you can whether this would be alright.

Thanks Shannon, I'll look forward to your response. Keep having an amazing time!

Nicholas Triolo
AFS-USA eMarketing Assistant