Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Sorry it took so long for me to post more pictures!! I have heard a lot of requests to see my braids, so here you go!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Final Thoughts of an Amazing Adventure

I really don't know where to start. And I don't know where to end.
The fact that I only have 3 days left and that this is the last time I'll be posting in Africa is literally blowing my mind right now. AH! I really just can't explain my emotions right now.

Well, first: The events of the week.
  • Went to a SWEET bead market in Koforidua.
  • Traded leftover clothes and items for souvenirs.
  • Learned a cultural African Dance.
  • Learned cultural African drumming.
  • Went to "entertainment." AKA-the Senior High School drama production. The drama production included an intermission in which Suzy had to dance in front of the whole school.
  • Got asked my 1000th question about Obama
  • Got asked my 2000th question about Michael Jackson.
  • Saw Rita Marleys recording studio and she has a little shop. Met a crazy rasta old woman who was incredible. SO funny.
  • And lastly, I have the coolest job ever know..working in a school for the deaf! :) LOVE LOVE LOVE
So, I still get to have lots of fun adventures doing other things, but in the long run, my best and most special memories are all with the kids and all because of the kids. The students are not just any students. They are MY students. MY friends. And I honestly, at the moment, don't know whether to be happy or sad. I am happy because I am still having the time of my life and still loving every minute of it. But I get a little sad when I think about the fact that my days are winding down at warp speed! AH. Either way, I am infinitely grateful for this opportunity because it has been the most incredible journey.

So I guess I'll end the journey with some final thoughts...seems kinda sad, but oddly appropriate.

I don't think I changed the world. No lives saved. No incredible acts. I do however, feel truly blessed and humbled by this opportunity. I've been lucky enough to spend the last 2 months in the presence of and in the service of, some of the most precious souls on earth.

"It is what you make it." I haven't always loved that phrase and I guess I haven't always fully understood that phrase...but now I feel I have learned more about it and learned to appreciate that statement much more. I guess part of why I questioned it was because there are some circumstances that you have no control over. But now I know that even with these uncontrollable circumstances, you really do, "make it" yourself.

Most people here having nothing. Some people let that affect their person, their acts, words, and deeds toward pessimism. But for every one of those people, I have also met a person with a dazzling smile; kindess, hope, and optimism beyond measure. People who love and serve their families and make their days great!

"It is what you make it." You can make the worst days, the worst circumstances, better. Your attitude is what you make it. Your outlook is what you make it. Your faith, hope, and charity is what you make it. Your life is what you make it.
"It is what you make it" - It really is.

Make today better. Make today great. Help someone. Devote yourself. Smile. Laugh. Work. Serve. Love others and show it. Make it happen. You can.

Doing nothing makes you feel sorry for yourself. Doing service makes you realize how much you have.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Americans in Ghana...A 4th of July to Remember

Story time...

Once upon a Ghanaian adventure, 9 Obruni's woke up at 3:40am to get ready to leave at 4am for Shai Hills. Of course, our tro tro didn't arrive until about 440 because in Ghana, "it is not possible" to arrive at a scheduled time. Anywhoo, we arrived at Shai at about 6am. Background: Shai Hills is a wildlife reserve where they have monkeys!! We planned to get there early because we heard the most animals are out in the morning. Well, we were right! We got there, drove into the place and there were MONKEYS everywhere!! Super close to us. We could just get out and touch them! They just sit right there! Holy craziness batman. (oh! batman! Ill get to that in a minute!) So anyways, we got there took some sweet pictures of monkeys, I think they were baboons because they had uglllyyy red butts, and enjoyed the cool morning. We even saw a tiny little baby baboon clinging to his mommy's back! cute huh!?
Well, we took the tro tro and drove to the other side of the reserve, picked up our tour guide, Abraham, and were on our way. We drove through the grasslands of Africa! It was B-E-A-Utiful! Mountains and trees and just endless landscapes. Plus, Antelope. We tro tro'ed it through the grass and tried to get close to the Antelope and then got out and sneakily walked to get an even closer view. It was sweet. The grass was a little moist though, so the dirt became somewhat of a mud in places.
Then we saw monkeys running around and climbing trees, and turtles, and antelopes.
Then Abraham took us to some caves! We started with some history and tales of the Shai tribes and people who used to live on the land and how they slept in the caves and they still come back once every year to do rituals on the reserve. We hiked up some rocks and through a few different caves. It was kinda stinky and I didn't know why at first, but Abraham informed me..."It's from the bats."
That's right folks-bats. We walked deeper and deeper into the cave until we were stand under a thousand bats! Seriously, there were tons and tons of bats swarming around above my head! Crazy huh! If people didn't believe me when I said I was batman before, BELIEVE IT NOW! haha. I only wish I had my mask to go with it! :)

Then, after the caves, our adventure was about finished and we got in the tro tro to drive through the grasslands for a final look at the beauty and the wildlife, when suddenly, disaster struck.

And when I say struck, I mean, STUCK. Because crash, boom, bang, and our tro tro was suddenly a victim of the mud. Abraham tried to push-no success. We all got out and tried to push-no success. Abraham gathered leaves and branches to place under the tires for traction-no success. I could go on forever...but the point is-we were really stuck! We ended up pushing for 2 hours!! We gathered rocks and branches, I used a tree limb and got down in the mud to try and dig out the tires, I used my bare hands to push mud from surrounding us, and I shoved the best I could, but it just wasn't cutting it. I of course realized the smart thing to do would be to offer a prayer. So the group gathered, including our tro tro driver and tour guide, and we said a prayer. It was still quite a while of pushing to no avail, until finally, another car came and they helped us out. The interesting thing was that the tour guide in the other car said he wasn't planning on going this way, but for some reason he felt like they should. Heavenly Father really does here and answer prayers. And let me tell you-after two hours of hot weather, mud, and pushing a 20 passenger van that's stuck, it is a miracle to be thankful for!

The day ended blissfully, with fresh bananas and mangos. But a few minor injuries were sustained throughout the group. I am not going to say who got what, because I don't want to worry anybody.
Injuries included, but were not limited to:
  • cuts
  • bruises
  • blisters
  • open sores
  • gas inhalation
  • dizziness and faint
  • nausea
  • a scorpion sting
  • Also, the next day, every one of us woke up feeling like we got hit by a bus! Or I guess hit by a tro-tro would be the more appropriate phrase, considering. But the sore muscles healed, along with all other wounds, and now its quite the story to tell.
Later that day, we finished our 4th of July celebrations by making guacamole and listening to any song that had the word "america" in it.

But in all honesty, I really am thankful and proud to be an American. After seeing and learning different things about Ghana, the culture, the government, human rights, etc. I am so happy to live in the coutry that I do.
During a R.M.E. lesson this week, a teacher was explaining different social, political, economic rights, and he was basically telling the class about all the different reasons why deaf are oppressed and how much they suffer in Ghana.
The teacher then said, "People here sometimes think deaf are the same as animals."
To which my student named Ruth answered, "I am Human!"
It was really striking to me. I guess it might have been more influential had ya'll been there to see it as well, but you get the idea. My students are human, they are people, they are smart, they deserve to be treated with respect and love. I am thankful to be here doing what I can, but there is always more to be done.

I still love school. I know I say it every time. And I know I don't necessarily say much more than that every time, but sometimes I think those things are just unexpressable, if there is such a word. Suffice it to say, I love the students, I am doing my best, and I will keep savouring every small moment I have in these last 10 days in Ghana.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ghana Day 50!

Oh boy oh boy.

I feel like I write kinda crappy on here, but I get so flustered trying to explain or express all the things that I experience here!

Well, cool events:
I got to go to the Accra temple. One word-Amazing. It was absolutely beautiful, and breathtaking, and every wonderful synonymous word in between. I loved it; definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

I got to go back to Accra, and to the art district that I had been to the weekend before and it was wicked funny because all the people I made friends with before still remembered me or were wicked surprised that I remembered them! Haha. More mango, more bargaining, funtimes!

It is definitely the rainy season! Last week it rained like 3 days in a row, like ALL day rain. And when I say rain I don’t me Utah rain. I mean BUCKETS of water pouring on your head. (It’s the best shower Ive had since I arrived!) Oh, so I guess that proves the point that when it rains I don’t stay inside… Rain+Suzy=Playtime. I love it. I love the downpours. It is hard to stay out of it. Eventually I had to stop cuz I was running out of dry clothes. But one of the days we were stuck at the school when it was pouring, so I took lots of pictures of the kids and then hid my camera and ran out to play in it. I learned new games and dances and got wicked muddy. All the kids talk about how COLD they are after/during the rain and I think they are crazy haha. I love the feeling of not sweating through all my clothes…although I guess I wouldn’t notice that if it was happening cuz Im wet, but you catch my drift.

I went to church at the primary school again. The preacher this week was one of the deaf teachers so I did not have to interpret, however, as per standard in Ghana, the guy was wicked late. So the kids just kept singing lots of different songs. Finally, they asked us obruni’s to sing a song so we all stood up there and signed “As I have loved you” haha. Then, since the guy was still taking forever and my students are the older ones in charge, Ruth (one of my JSS 2 girls) came over to me and said, “Suzy, please preach.” I was like…uh…preach…what in the world do I do? Then a minute later, Isaac came to me and said “Suzy, please preach” Im like okay. Just give me one minute to think of a sermon! Haha. So I finally convinced two of the girls to bear a short testimony with me, and when I told Lartey I would, the teacher showed up! Haha. Saved by the bell. But it was interesting to try and think of a sermon for about 200 deaf kids on the spot! It was fun though, of course. Everything is fun here!! =)

Then yesterday, July 1st, we didn’t have school because it’s Ghana’s Republic Day (I think) so we all went to two different waterfalls. It was pretty cool. We joined a group of students who were about 11 years old in a tro tro. 29 people in that sucker. That’s a feat if I do say so myself. But then we got to the different waterfalls and it was a party! Both places had music and dancing. And of course I joined in…but that might’ve been a bad idea because I think the Ghanaian people have never seen a white person dance before because it kinda causes an uproar and a lot of shock and awe when they do see it lol. But it was fun even if it was a bit overwhelming to have so many stares.
The waterfalls were very dirty. Brown water. But then both places had a hike you could go on to see this other area. The one was super short and you sit on top of a rock and look over an incredible landscape. The other was the same, except totally different! Haha. It was the same because you arrive at this massive rock structure-thing, and then climb a latter, and sit on top feeling like you are in the Lion King movie and totally on top of the world. But it was different cuz at Boti falls the hike is a few miles of up and down and up and down and lots and lots of rock climbing. It was interesting to make that hike in some Crocs but they held up fairly well. And it was pretty fun because all the people kept asking “Obruni are you tired?” (cuz they assume if you’re white you are lazy and out of shape) and I got the opportunity to outclimb and outhike a few of em =) Not gonna lie, I was kinda proud haha.

And as usual, school is phenomenal! I love my students! I love love them all the kids at school. They are wonderful. I have had some fun teaching science this week. Usually I stick to Math and English, but I had the opportunity to finally meet there science teacher and become his official interpreter and now I know what they’re learning about and I have been able to help. Love it love it love it.

My life is cool.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Riggs 1:2-4

Which do you want first? Good news or bad news?
Personally, I like to have bad news first because then at least I end on a happy note, so I'll assume you all agree and begin.

Riggs 1:2-4
2. And it came to pass that Suzy was exceedingly fine in the taking of pictures and did offer much diligence in doing so. Thus, Suzy had come to have over 1,000 pictures and videos upon her camera.
3. But behold, we must have opposition in all things, and that same day of Suzy's boastings of exceedingly many pictures, her camera did fail her and all the pictures were taken from this earth and sent to outer darkness, never to be found again.
4. Suzy did endure much sadness as a result, but did find peace in knowing that she still has 24 days to take pictures, and in the knowledge of other girls having taken some similar pictures as she had. Thus, lift up your heart and sorrow not, because all is well in Ghana.

Haha. Okay, I know. That was bad. Perhaps one may say even sacreligious, but hopefully not. I basically just get bored hearing myself type and try to make it more entertaining. But really. Yesterday, I looked at my 1054 pictures and videos and was all, "woah, so cool I have so many!" And then my card was reformatted and every picture (every) was lost...forever. Sad huh? Oh well. Honestly, I am more sad for my family and friends than anything else. Because I know how cool everything is here and I know what an incredible experience I am having, but now I don't have those pictures to help me explain and show that to my friends and family.

But I realized that the most important thing to me and being able to convey the amount of joy and light that literally comes from the children here and what that does for me. So if my blogging convinces anyone of that, then it helps. And hey, look on the bright side, I have those four pictures I posted on here!
But honestly, it made me realize that now, I have to work even harder, so that I am able to come home and share some of the light and joy I have gained from being here, and express my experience here via myself and my actions and words rather than by pictures.
(Although, dont get me wrong, I am gonna take as many pictures in the next 24 days as humanly possible! :)

Kay. Finish.

In other news... My hair is braided!! Okay, technically its not braided, its "twisted" but its still wicked cool and I look super African! haha. Okay, some people might think I look crazy, but in Africa, IM COOL! haha. I will try and post a picture next week...obviously this week its not an option as per result of the aformentioned story.
And Im officially brunette and not blonde! Because when you get your hair done here, they weave in a bunch of fake hair, and I searched high and low and they have zero blonde hair, let alone Platinum blonde. So I decided Ill try and get wicked different, throw in some variation and have brown and purple in my hair!! So I bought brown and purple, brought it to the place to get my hair done, and the lady said I couldn't combine those two because they were different brands. So I had to change to medium brown mixed with dark brown/red. Its crazy cool. But next time Im def doing the purple mixed in next time, so be ready for it when I get off the plane!! haha.

Its crazy how much the people love it! I get sooo many compliments. I really am not tryin to toot my own horn or anything, but I they really like it when you adapt to their culture and so the fact that my hair is similar to theirs is so impressive to them. When we went to Accra so many women on the side of the road were speaking it Twi to me and it took me a while to finally figure it out, but most of the time they were complimenting my hair. Also, the deaf students love it. It is so sweet, they sign beautiful so funny. I wish I could show it but obviously I cant write the sign. But its cute and if you remind me, I'll show it when I'm home.

Also, in weekly news: I am officially the JSS 2 English teacher. A few weeks ago, the teacher peaced out and went to a University I guess? The kids always just say. "Left. University stay. Come back, Don't know." (note on that: its not broken english, im just trying to express signs via english and it makes it a little challenging) Its actually kinda funny though because the girls (other volunteers) and I often sign and talk at the same time when we're chillen at home and we end up sign talking. Its funny. For example: "Me finish talk Curry." Translation: "I already talked to Curry." Anywhoo. The point is, Im there English teacher. Normally, I just hopped in where they needed me, but now she is legit gone for a long time, so Im the replacement. Its kind of nice because at least I know I will teach so I have time to prepare lessons rather than just being thrown in and having to make up lesson plans on the spot like normal.

Also, I need to brag for a minute. So, the other day we were doing wash, and two of the JSS girls came over because they really like helping us (who knows why. lol) They came over once in the beginning because they said they wanted to show us how to properly wash because usually obruni's dont know how to was right (using a bucket and soap). But the one girl, Gladys, looked at me while I was washing and signed, "you smart!" I was so flattered! Let me explain a little. Whenever youre really good at something, they sign "smart!" or "clever!" So she was telling me I was really good! Isnt that great!!! Yay me. I can wash my clothes just like an African! haha. I still get sore knuckles from scrubbing but at least my clothes smell better, and now I know that if I were to ever not have a washer, I could totally whip out a bucket and be okay. Pretty thrify, huh? (Im trying to catch up to Amy...still have a ways to go though.)

Okay. And for our story of the week: My trip to Accra!

Saturday morning we left on our tro-tro and headed to Accra. Accra is the capital of Ghana and has tons of people, cool stores, cool fabric, cool art, and amazing people!
A few of the highlights included:
  • Fresh Mango that gets cut in front of you for easy access :) (Delicious!)
  • An American-ish restaurant that had pizza! (although, I got a chicken pita) and it was wonderful!
  • Legit ice cream. Let me re-emphasize. ICE CREAM! DIFFERENT FLAVORS OF REALLLLL ICE CREAM! Ah-mazing!
  • While enjoying my ice cream a guy came and sat next to me, and was chatting with me. Sometimes I get a little rebellious...slash I make up stories or just bend the truth a little. He asked me where Im from and I said Mampong. He was all, "no, you misunderstood my question. You make it sound like youre FROM Mampong. Live you live there. " I said, well, I used to live in America, but I'd say I'm from Mampong now because I have lived there for 7 years now. Then he asked me if I spoke Twi, and I said I know some and whipped out all my best words and phrases. After showing my SAWEET skills, he said, "OH!! You ARE from Mampong! I can tell my your accent! You really have lived for 7 years!" AMAZING RIGHT!!? I know, I was so proud of myself for convincing him I was a legit African :) Go me.
  • The art district. Lots of little shops all sitting together with different clothes, beads, bags, art, etc. I got separated from the group for a long time and it was actually a blast! Because I really got to interact with the people, use my Twi skills, my bargaining skills, and make a tons of cool African friends. aka-my brothas and sistas :)
  • Funny bartering experiences. Trading chicken salads for t-shirts. The man kept asking if he could really eat it raw. I was like "yes, I promise." Then after threatening to seriously injure me if I was lying, he opened to the package to reveal the chicken salad and crackers and see that I was honest, to which he replied: "Ah! You are a Christian!!!!" And gave me many hugs. haha. Good times. Wish I could explain better. I will have to tell the story at home because its better with the voice. lol.
  • I learned to tie a head wrap African style.
  • I learned to tie a baby to my back African style.
  • I learned the African (twi) lullaby that the women sing to the baby when he's crying.
  • I met a white boy.
  • The white boy asked me for my number. haha.
  • I taught some Africans sign language.
  • I got a wonderful, and very special, drum lesson from my brotha named Slow.

Overall, it was so fun, but Im realizing now its hard to explain without talking because it makes telling the story much more fun, but I'll take what I can get.

The school is still incredible. The students are amazing. I had such a fun day today teaching and hanging out with them. They teach me so much too!! I have never felt so incredible grateful for a trip. It is truly changing my life to be here. I hope my small efforts make small differences for these kids. I love it i love it I LOVE IT!! I really don't know how else to explain it. I wish I could take everyone here and show you all how amazing it is here!!

The light that has been shared with me from this experience will burn in my heart forever.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Half Way Mark

Hello World!!

Im so pumped the internet is working now. Some funny things have happened in the past two hours, hopefully I will have time to write about, because it really is these crazy little things that happen to me, that make my life extra fun and enjoyable!

But first, I gotta talk about my Cape Coast trip!!
Last weekend we skipped school on Friday and left early in the morning for Cape Coast. The Kibi group met us in Mampong on Thursday night and then we left in the tro-tro at 9am (we planned 8, but of course our tro tro driver DonQkwa, was way late as usual) and we took a nice 5 hour drive all squished together in the tro tro for 5 hours and arrived at Cape Coast at 2pm.

The hotel we stayed at was AMAZING! haha. Okay, so if you compare it to American standards, people might think it was pretty dumpy, but I thought it was fantastic!! There were PILLOWS! and WATER!! That's right folks, I said water. Water that runs...out of a faucet...on to my hands...or head, depending on the situation, and a POOL (that was kinda like a pond) but still incredible!! AND! The best part, our hotel has a huge lake/pond something or other in the middle of it. And guess what was in the lake. CROCODILES! 30-40 African Crocodiles! Im not talking zoo-like situations here people. Im talking, they had paddle boats that people could go on, walk right down to the water, crocodiles crawl right out of the water, type deal!! There were a few literally just laying on the sides of the lake. People would go touch them! It was insane! And I looked at those paddle boats and thought maybe that would be a cool story, but there is no way I am risking a limb, or my life, for a cool story and some pictures! Anywayyys, it was way cool to see all the crocs!
I need to add that to my list of animals from last time. After I wrote it I realized I missed a few vital additions to the list:
-Ants (with ant hills that range from about 4 feet to about 18 feet in height) No joke.
-Another Snake

And I have a story about the other snake too. (but I gotta go into that in minute too.)

So anyways, after the hotel stay with the crocs, the next day we went to this canapy walk something-or-other national park thing. And it was AH-MAZING!!
We hiked up a long ways, then climbed a latter and started walking on this little one-wooden-plank-wide rope bridges that are wayyyy wayyyy up in the tops of the rain forest trees!! COOL RIGHT?!?! I thought so! It was THE most incredible view, and plus a wayy fun experience! I will try to post pictures, but considering how long they take to load, I'll have to wait.

Then we went to 2 different slave castles. It was a very interesting a sobering experience, to see, feel and smell the type of situation and living conditions the ancestors of these Africans went through. They tell the stories with much reverence and I really am humbled by even the idea of the circumstances those people endured.

And then, to end our Saturday in Cape Coast, we went to a restaurant (where I got to eat French Fries!) and the restaurant was right on the beach! So, of course, while we were waiting for our food, we play play playyyed on the beach. It was awesome. The water was warm, the sand was full of shells, and all faces were lit with shiny smiles!!!
Then after dinner finished, I sat and looked at the most incredible sky full of stars and thought to myself, "Beachside star-gazing on the coast of life is awesome!" haha.

Really, I think every single day about how blessed I am to have this opportunity! Anytime you can mix adorable children and sign language with a wicked cool country and cultural experience...please...does it get much better? Not for me!

So that was cape coast...
Now, as intermission...I will share an anecdote about my sweet life.

So, its evening, about 7pm, and a few of the girls and I decide we want to go back to the school to hang out and play with the kids. As I am walking out the door way, Nycole steps in front of me, screams and runs away. I couldn't figure out why but all I could hear her mutter amidst her panting and screaming was something about a lizard. I was thinking, "why are you screaming about a lizard? They are everywhere, and not exactly scary). So I stepped backward toward the doorway instead of further outside, because usually when there is some kind of animal scare, the animal is outside. But, as I stepped back to stand in the doorway the screaming became more urgent!! I couldn't figure out for the life of me why everyone was still freaking out, until a looked to the left of me and saw a huge black snake on the wall with its head twisted around the door frame and into the house!! As you may guess, at that point in time, I joined the crowd by screaming bloody murder and running away as fast as my legs would carry me.
Turns out, the lizard the snake was after dropped on Nycole's foot and that caused the initial tumultous screams. Anywhoo, our neighbor man came over with a big stick because he wanted to kill it, but it got away. Hopefully, I will not see Mr. Big Scary Black Serpent again...ever!

As for the curious events of the past 2 hours... we left home and hopped a taxi to Aburi for our internet extravaganza. However, this was my first time sitting in the front of the car, because usually I prefer being squished in the back with the other girls. And now I know why I always prefer that. As per usual, we were being nice and making conversation with the taxi driver, and as usual, after about 1 minute and 37 seconds, the taxi driver proceeds to tell me how much he loves me and asks me to marry him. I think today may have been my 37th marriage proposal since I arrived one month ago. The only problem is that this particular taxi driver wouldn't stop touching my hand and asking me to take my ring off so I could marry him. I told him I was engaged and my fiance is the only person who I love and I will not break up with him to marry some random taxi driver...but as usual, the persistance continues. (okay okay, I know I am no where near being engaged, but I keep my CTR ring on my left hand, and whip out lies as they come to me in order to avoid situations just as this one.) haha. Anyways, I tried to get him to give us a discount on our taxi fare in exchange for my email, (because usaually that works) but he wasn't havin it. Ah well, some hand sanitizer after the taxi ride heals all wounds and life goes on. haha. Don't worry mom, I never travel alone and I had 4 girls in the backseat who had my back.

Then, the internet cafe we usually go to was not working, so we went to the wood district, ventured back, internet still down, were directed to a different internet cafe, came for about 25 mintues, then the power in the whole town went out and we were stranded again. Luckily, people were friendly, and we were socializing while we waited for it to come back on. A lady from town came in a chatted for a minute with us, but she was only speaking in Twi. We used our meager skills and apparently were pretty impressive, because she came back a few mintues later with some fruit! We thought she wanted us to buy it, but the man said, "No, she is dashing you. It is free." How sweet is that! Free fruit! haha. LOVE IT!

So cultural note to add: "The Dash"
Many times if you buy a lot of something or a lot from the same vendor, they give you a "dash" by giving you an extra for free. For example, we bought like 15 bags of plantain chips one night, and the lady gave us extra because we bought lots. Or if you buy many of a fruit, they give one extra just to be nice. And when I shop in the wood district, sometimes if I buy a lot, they give me something else as a gift: aka, a "dash."
Pretty cool huh!? I think so. Ghanaian people are awesome.

As for the rest of my life. I still go to school everyday and it just keeps getting better! The students are absolutely incredible. They work so hard and want to learn, and are so excited to have us there! It makes me feel good because they always ask me to come teach their class. A lot of times, I try to find their real teacher for them, because I want the trained teachers to do their job, but a lot of times the teachers are "traveling" as they say, and just don't come to school. Seems like I am always getting thrown into a class to teach math or English. It is a little hard sometimes to think of a cool lesson plan on the spot, but somehow it always happens. Once again, I think it is because my Father in Heaven is helping me out or because I have awesome people who are keeping me in their prayers. Hopefully, I am not just making myself think this, but I really think my students math and English skills are improving dramatically!
I started this thing with them where I promised if they wrote a letter to me or any other volunteer, they will get a letter back the next day. I really want them to just practice writing and gain confidence in their skills. They used to be so scared of writing, because they didn't think they could do it well. (Plus, the teachers kept coming in and telling me how awful their English is, so I wouldn't be surprised if they have been getting some negative feedback in the past) But, they have been becoming much more confident in their writing, so hopefully by the time I leave they realize how intellengent and talented they really are!!

Sylvia and I are still best buddies. Haha. Everyone jokes with me that I am her favorite because she only asks for me :) but I'll take it! I like being wanted/needed! haha. I worked with her on English one evening and it was kind of incredible to say the least. Her English book is all in braille so I couldn't read it obviously; so she would read it, then sign to me what it said. And I would try to explain the meanings and help her answer questions. She even writes in Braille too. I feel kind of stupid for not knowing or realizing that, but she has this little grate type thing will raised up plastic squares and she puts it over her paper and then uses this pokey pen-ish thing to poke through the paper and write in braille. She is so smart!! Seriously! She is incredible, and every time I hang out with her I am totally impressed!

Well, thats all for now. Love you all!! Thanks for reading my random thoughts. Hopefully it makes some kind of sense. If anything needs clarification, please let me know.

Don't forget to smile, enjoy your day, and remember how blessed you are!

(Today is exactly one month 'til I fly back...bittersweet.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Random tangents and Animals

Okay, so I am at the internet cafe for the second day in a row! WOah! Computer? Two days in a row? Unthinkable? But I came yesterday and wasn't able to finsih doing everything that I wanted to because it took For-ev-er to upload those few pictures, so I came back today with the second half of the group who hadn't gone yesterday. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy the pictures! I have a zillion more but like I said, it takes way to long to post more than a few.


It's getting hard for me to think of what everyone knows and doesn't know about me being here and I feel like I've talked about so much stuff, but at the same time, there are probably a million things that I just go through everday without realizing that its a million times different than home because I am honestly just used to it by now.

Luckily Tay asked me a bunch of questions and it gave me some ideas for things I can add info about:
Animals-- I haven't seen anything crazy. No lions or tigers or bears...OH MY! But everyday I see at least
-100 lizards, of various shapes, sizes and colors;
-1 snake;
-funky bugs;
-millipedes (they literally have like at least a thousand legs! They are about 6-8 inches in length!)
-goats, everywhere;
-dogs, to be honest they kinda scare me here because I don't think people are nice to them and so they don't seem very friendly, nor do I have a desire to find out if they are lacking in disease or not;
-1 cat;
-chickens, everrrywhere;
-roosters, I hear them cock-a-doodle doo all morning plus I hear them while Im teaching in school too. (I always pictured it happened only once or twice in the morning like the cartoons...wrong!)
-Snails, HUGE snails!
-1 monkey, funny because I was just chillen in class, when suddenly a student came in and asked me if I knew what a monkey was. I of course said I did and they asked if we have them in America...haha(they always want to know whether the things they have here are also in America) and I responded that we do, but you don't see many. They told me there is one outside if you wanna see! I was taken aback at first and thought they were yankin my chain or I misunderstood or something, but I understood just fine because I walked out the classroom door and sure enough there was a big baboon thing chillen in the school yard between the JSS and the Primary school. It just ran around until it climbed into a tree and this man just grabbed it out!! Seriously, he just snagged the monkey by the hair on its back and started walkin away with it! The monkey didn't even fight back! It was crazy! Don't worry, I have it all documented on film/pictures because I always have my camera on me.

Oh, and while I am on the topic of my camera, I guess I could mention the fact that it got destroyed... So, I was in class on a Friday or Saturday afternoon because I wasn't teaching, we were all just playing, and I was taking pictures. I was actually filming and the students were signing stories to me while I recorded, but there was one primary kid along with all my JSS students and they ALL want to be in the video. But the younger primary kid noticed when I moved my camera from his story to one of my taller students so he jumped up and swatted my camera. I think he only intended to get it to point back down at him instead of up at another kid, but he jumped and swatted hit so hard that it flew out of my hands and smashed into the ground...yeah...not very fun. But no worries!! The students were so sweet about it afterwards, it was precious. All my older students were apologizing profusely even though it was not their fault...nor was it really anyones fault, except my own for not having the strap on my wrist. And they were trying to tell me that perhaps there is a place in Accra or somewhere I could get it fixed. But I realized that that probably is not a very logistical option for me.
Anywhoo, long story short the camera would turn on but the screen was black and said lens error and the lens would not close.
BUT!! Then! A miracle happened because I have a loving Heavenly Father (who knows how important pictures are to me, especially when I am in a place as cool as Africa) and no my camera lens not only closes, but it half way opens too! haha. AND! If I yank on the lens when it is opening then, it usually opens the rest of the way up and works just fine!! So really, in the end it all worked out just fine, because with a smidge of effort it works well, the only real loss was that now my zoom will never work again. So thank you thank you for your prayers because my one dilemma so far was not even close to horrible!

Also, my sweet dancing skills are totally paying off! haha. Just kidding, I know Im not the sweetest dancer, but I think the kids have zero expectations for the white people to have any ability to dance whatsoever, so my few moves are incredible to them! :) yay.
They are ALWAYS dancing! You might be surprised because they have no music, nor could they hear music if they wanted to, but you have to understand that they have this internal rhythm inside them, and many of them are truly amazing dancers! So I showed them what I got, or would copy whatever moves they do, and everytime I do they always FREAK OUT! haha. Its so funny because they are so shocked they are always signing (very explosively signing I might add) "YOURE SWEET!" "Where did you learn to dance?!" "You are SO GREAT!" WOAHHHH! haha. Its funny and im not gonna lie, it gives me a little internal boost everytime :)

And once again, time is up! So until next time...Love love you all!