Twenty or so hours ago, I was downing whiskey sours and dramamine cocktails at JFK airport in a desperate attempt to calm my nerves. Flying 35000 feet above the ground at 350 miles per hour, a girl’s got to do something, and sedatives help. Now, I am in Ghana (!!!) living in an orphanage where I sleep in a room with three volunteers from the UK. In the morning, I meet my editor at the Ghanaian Times, where the fun finally begins. Life is good.
The New Life Orphanage International is a modern setup located in Nungua, a town 30 km from the capital Accra. The lodgings are not what I expected. I was told I would have one roommate in a middle-class house where other volunteers also live. I’ve been bamboozled, but it’s okay. I can’t complain. My mission remains the same.
So far, each day a different young girl at the orphanage has brought me a tray of breakfast, lunch, and dinner cooked by the resident chef Vivienne, despite my pleas that I can serve myself. I feel strange being served, but this is Ghanaian hospitality, and guests are expected not to lift a finger. It’s late here, and my first day at work begins tomorrow, so I better pass out. Here’s a short list of the sites and sounds I experienced today during my orientation:
- Koko Beach (Rad!)
- Makola Market (puts Downtown LA to shame)
- Merchants (the human head can balance more weight than I thought)
- The Cultural Center (had my first drum lesson today here by bonafide rastafarians)
- Independence Square (Ghana announced it’s independence here from England in 1957)
- The Mausoleum (I forget whose body was exhumed from this place, but it’s pretty important)
- the children caught a monkey today. It was pretty brutal to watch.
More groin-grabbing details will come later, I promise. I’m still getting the knack of this thing and place. What a test in character this trip is going to be. Rad!