Thursday, May 22, 2008

My first few days

Hello everybody!!

It's been impossible to get online since I've gotten here, even though there is an internet cafe connected to the guest housing in which I am staying. Finally, the internet is up for the first time since I've been here and I've never had to exercise patience so well (it's like going back to the days of dial up). But here I am!

I have been in Accra, the capital of Ghana, since arriving. Being from Maine and all, I thought I knew a thing or two about unbearable humidity. Well, I am now eating my words! Being on the coast and in a jungle, the humidity is a whole new extreme that I am experiencing. The temperature is a steady 30 degrees celsius through the day and night. I'm starting to get used to it, but it is kinda unreal.

I've woken up every morning to monkeys howling in the nearby forest and lots of different birds singing. I have yet to actually see any crazy wildlife except for some really cute lizards and the cutest little goats walking all around the streets. Mother hens and the little chicks also dart in and out of the cars on the uneven, partially paved roads. It makes me nervous, but I have yet to see anything get hit, person or animal! The trees are beautiful and lush green. I had my first taste of local food - fried rice sold on the street - it was different, but yummy.

It didn't take long for my first proposal of marriage from a local. Walking out of the airport I was approached by a million and five taxi drivers asking if I needed a ride. I politely declined and stood nearby waiting for my driver to show up with his "Katherine, UFS" sign. While waiting, a nice man and his friend explained they wanted me to be safe so they would stand with me and call Seth's phone (my pickup). The wait turned into about an hour and a half, and it was an experience! The man explained that he was an Akin prince and went through the history of the conflict between the Ashanti and Akin tribes in Ghana. His friend then asked if I was a "blonde" and complimented me on my "blue eyes." I told them I had brown hair and eyes and they asked what blonde meant. Looking around I realized I wouldn't see a blonde so I pointed to a yellow sign and said it was hair that color. They then asked me about the Bronx and asked if people are really held up at gun point to get out of their cars. I said "Could be, hasn't happened to me." I was also asked if I was a trained soldier because I was strong enough to carry my pack. My response, "hell no, just a tough cookie." It was kind of funny. By the end our conversation, the guy said he had fallen madly in love with me and wanted to be my husband because he desperately wanted to marry a white girl. He told me I could visit him in his beautiful palace and he would make me delicious local dishes. I told him I wasn't getting married for at least ten years, but thank you for the offer. He gave me his name and number, but I don't think I'll be calling him :)

The rest of the Tamale volunteers arrived today. It is six of us girls who will be departing tomorrow morning for a 10 hour drive through the country up to Tamale, the capital of Northern Ghana. The climate will be very different there because it is a desert. I'm looking forward to the dry heat (Utah has spoiled me these past four years). Three of the girls go to Wellsley, one to Holy Cross, one to Mount Holyoke, and then myself from the U. All six of us will be in Tamale until July 1 and I am really excited, they are all very nice. I'm really excited for the drive, though it will be a bumpy and long one, because we get to see the whole country and the change from jungle to desert!

I've finished my first book, Under the Banner of Heaven, and damn is that a crazy one!! It's looking at the Lafferty boy murders in 1985 where they killed a 15 month old baby and her mother because it was "God's will." It looks at Mormonism from the begining and tries to explain FLDS (Fundamentalist Mormons). Particularly interesting in the wake of the raiding of the compound in Texas. Now I've started Slaughterhouse-Five. After this it is strictly studying for the OATS, mehhhh.

Well I can't believe I am here, but here I am! I'll hopefully be posting more regularly once in Tamale and there will definitely be pictures!! I miss everyone back home wicked and am eager to be in touch! E-mail me: katherine.hill@utah.edu

P.S. I've been having really gnarly dreams since leaving and have recurring nightmares about Maxwell's wellbeing. Could someone in Utah please post here or e-mail me letting me know the pup is better than ever, perhaps just missing him Mum a little? I'd appreciate it. (I know I'm a little bit crazy but, well, that's not news...)

Due to the slow nature of this internet, I am going to respond to my two e-mails on here rather than with an e-mail:
Mummy - thanks for the heads up on the frequent flyer miles, I will take care of it when I get back to Maine. Sorry it took so long to post on the blog, hope you and Daddy weren't too concerned. Send my love to Dad and tell him I hope the recovery is going well. I miss you and love you both tons!
Gina - you are such a doll! Thanks for the e-mail, it totally made my day! I love you so much and miss living near you. Just get it over with and come back to Salt Lake!! I hear there are wicked high paying internships for lawyers there!! (So I might be making that up and being selfish, but all is good and just do it!) Please give your parents my blog address, I meant to before I left but spaced it. Talk to you soon!

3 comments:

PortlandPaw said...

We are so glad that you made it OK -- we were a little worried, but confident that you were OK and just had communications problems.

What a great narrative! Keep up with all the details. Your mom says you should be careful what you turn down -- that guy with the palace is probably making millions from those Internet scams about hiding royal African money!

Gary said...

KK. Glad that you got there ok. Great to be able to keep in touch. Things are pretty Utah here. If you need to claim frequent flyer miles for flights you have already taken it helps to keep your boarding passes. Gary and Lynda.

Gary said...

Katherine. Hope you are doing well. Lynda set to let her know how to contact your roomates and she will check on Max.