Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Pics have been posted to my facebook.... =)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Random Rants on Ghana

I have arrived home safely and it feels sooooo good to be home. I often find myself slightly envious of others who have things I wished I had or had more of...i.e. 'spending' money, larger home, etc. but have realized I am so very rich in that I have a home--with a roof ---and walls. . I have full access to a variety of healthy foods--I have a variey of clothing to wear, mostly for vainity. I am warm when I need to be warm-obviously, not a huge concern of those in Africa, but you understand--I have my basic needs met without even trying. They spend thier day working to have basic needs met and even then it doesn't always happen.

There are many things that crossed my mind during my time in Africa and little experiences I would like to share so here goes:

  • There are people everywhere...2.5 million in Accra (an independent census estimated it to be more like 3 million.)
  • There are chickens and little goats everywhere--not to mention the random donkey/mule...
  • The cab drivers...no pretty much all driving is crazy..not Mexico crazy or Chicago crazy...this takes on a life of it's own in Accra.
  • There are no clocks...now I truly understand 'Ghana Time'.
  • The sun rises and sets early--completely dark by 7 p.m.
  • The value of the American dollar is a mystery. You get a better exchange rate for $50's and $100's than you do $20's. Don't bother with fives...and single dollars are about as valuable as green construction paper here, even though the dollar is stronger than the Cedi. For example, you would not pay a $50 tab in single $1 American bills--because they do not carry the same value but a $20 or $50 is great. Even the people in Ghana couldn't explain why the 'dollar is not a dollar'.
  • The people of Ghana are amazing. They are very sweet and seemed to enjoy 'Americans' visitng and very graious that we want to help.
  • The children of Ghana are in great need of everything!! Food, shelter, clothing, education..
  • The night I left for home, I saw the nightly news at the airport--it indicated there was a death rate of 50% of children ages 1-5 in Ghana. Can that be right??


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Church in Ghana --Sunday

On Sunday I was able to attend Church in a small area in Accra. First I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to get out of bed...I went to bed around 1:00 am fine and woke up at 6 am sick w/flu like symptoms-- you know the drill--but somehow managed to drink some tea and head out into the sticky heat for Church--about 3 hours long.

Through the translations I was able to understand portions of what was being said...but it was evident-in any language-these people were there because they really wanted to be and WOW do they have a strong faith. ! It was like no church service I could ever imagine--lots of music, authentic instruments, singing, dancing, chatting, prayer, pointing, yelling...very different. For the most part I just had to observe due to the language barrier, and the fact I was completely out of my element-but it wasn't difficult to understand the purpose for their gathering which was certainly an experience in and of itself. It was really amazing to watch this group of people worship together.

~~~During this very long and very hot service--I realized I wasn't 'sick w/malaria' (which was racing through my mind)--I was dehydrated~~~. Easy fix... I think..... Anyway...

DURING CHURCH there was a mother who stood up in front of the congregation where she spoke, sang and prayed in behalf of her baby boy. Through translation I understood her to say she wanted a better life for her baby boy who's first birthday was on this day. I watched as she spoke about her great love for her son and the opportunity that lies ahead him. She asked for him to be watched over and blessed. After the service I was introduced to this mother----and found out her son's name is Samuel. He is being adopted by a family who I have become close to over the past year and he should be arriving to his forever home here in the DSM area in the next 2-3 months. =)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day at the Beach

Today I went to the Labadi Beach...to relax and found that I was quite a popular person w/the locals. Maybe it wasn't so much me but my 'cedis' were quite popular. (my money). I didn't have a moment to put on sunscreen and within 30 minutes had a full on sunburn. I decided to stay a few more hours--and 'shopped' under the shade of an umbrella and drank fresh pineapple juice. I bought lots of goodies for a fundraiser aution we are having later to help bring the orphans to the US for a Dec stay...
Tomorrow going to church with Sam, then some shopping and some work to prepare for my meeting with the Social Welfare Dept on Monday morning before I head home...
It's been a productive week---I wish I was able to post pics for you so you can see what I see.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Palm Tees, Banana Trees and Mangos O My!

The most impressionable car ride I have ever taken....Yesterday I was taken to a village 3+ hours away from the capital city of Accra (with many small communities along the way). First I have to say the beauty of Ghana is well...beautiful. There are so many trees producing some of the sweetest fruits I have ever tasted...the green oranges are awesome, the Mangos are soft, sweet and juicy...the pineapple, bananas are well, let's just say it would be the best fruit smoothie ever. =) I have a room full of fruit--If only I had a blender. =)

I can't express what I saw and what I quickly became a part of during my first trip to the village. There was a village/counsel meeting--for my presence. Through Pastor Gideon translating I was able to speak to the entire village that comprised of a few elders, a handful of couples/families and at least 150 children-many of which are orphans. They loved my digital camera--I took photos and showed them what they looked like--even the elders giggled like little kids seeing what they look like. I was also able to hand out clothing and suckers--WOW it was a little mob of children...I felt so loved. lol It was really cool and certainly the most rewarding experience of my life. I have to say the neatest part was the meeting where the chief of the village (prob. similar to our Governor or Mayor) stood and accepted me and my mission w/Globeserve to help the children of his village-- help support the village and find orphans permanent homes in the US. It was amazing. I gave him my business card. He gave me a coconut. I was lucky it could have been a gunia hen. Phew! I couldnt have ridden in the car for 3 hours w/a chicken...no way! Catherine, I have to give you props--I saw those crazy things and there is no way--no way!

O BTW Catherine: WE HAVE BABY SAMS ADOPTION DECREE! It will be scanned in and sent to you via E-mail so you can file w/USCIS in DSM. (please E mail me at cj_tripp@yahoo.com so I can respond w/news re: Pearl. Also good news =)

Anyway... did some shopping in the market's in Ho today...that's where I got my fruit--I think I paid about a dollar for about 20 Mangos and oranges.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I have Arrived....20 hours after leaving the US

I arrived in Ghana last night around 8:00 p.m. Ghana time. The flights were a breeze to catch/transfer so little stress. The Amsterdam airport and connection was interesting--no other words to describe it. Just interesting and everything caught my attention-I was very visually stimulated to say the least. I wish I could see the city....

Leaving the airport in Ghana was uneventful and I kept thinking...wow, that was a walk in the park---everyone said it would be crazy and chaotic. Until....I walked outside..Oh My Goodness!! It was hot and there were hundreds of people and half of them wanted to take our luggage, get us a cab or let us use their cell phone. Kristin innocently commented, "the people are so nice here". I laughed and we decided yes, they are certainly nice and willing to help --for a fee.
This morning I woke feeling refreshed and took a walk in the rain on streets.... w/no sidewalks. Busy streets--a bit scary. There were venders out but nothing I wanted...i.e. fresh fish and other ocean creatures as well as open 'shops' selling random items. It's clearly very poor and I felt spoiled as I wished I had brought older/less valuable flip flops--looking at some who didn't have anything.

We saw young children--they all waived to us or said hello and were happy as could be-- I wished I had my bags of lollipops to hand out. I'll remember that for the next walk...

I am heading to Ho today-- It's approx a 3 hour car ride....that's nothing compared to the 16 hours in the air.. =)

PS The people of Ghana have been very nice to us...and not for a "fee"--because they are truly good people. I have to say that it's odd to have doors opened for me, the men at the hotel stand when we approcah the desk, etc. A little out of my element here... =)