Looking upstream from the hotel

Since this is James’s last weekend, the activity of the day was up to him. He decided that he wanted to go to the hotel in Atimpoku (the same one we went to for Nico’s birthday, months and months ago) and swim. We all slept in and took our sweet time getting ready to go, so we didn’t leave home until around 11AM and got there a little after 11:30.

Our farewell picture with Luke… Yara, Nick, Luke, me, Lily, and James

The next few hours were spent hanging out by the river, playing Taboo, listening to music, and just spending time together. These are some of my favorite times. The community that we have here is great, and it’s going to be weird when I’m not living with so many people anymore. It’s actually starting to sink in that James is leaving in two days, which in turn is making it start to sink in that I’m leaving in a little more than a week. Like what?

Looking downstream from the bridge

The good news is that I’m feeling at peace about it. If you had asked me three weeks ago, I would have told you that I was freaking out that I only had a month left. I even had a nightmare about it, no joke. In a nutshell, I was home and I didn’t remember how I got there or anything about my last month in Ghana. I was happy to see my family until I realized that the dream wasn’t right, so I was yelling, “this isn’t right! I’m not supposed to be here yet!” Yeah, it was dramatic. Now though, I’m feeling okay. I am still so happy to be here, but I feel content with what I’ve done and not like I have a lot of unfinished business. It’s a good feeling to have because now I can just enjoy my last week and not feel like I have to fit all of this stuff in before I can be ready.

Anna, me, Yara, and Nick on the bridge

On that topic though, I have a list of all of the stuff I want to fit in before I leave. Yes, I know that sounds like I just contradicted myself, and maybe I did, but just bear with me. The things on my list are mostly activities that I have wanted to do for a while now and never got around to. I’m determined to do all of them in the next week. Today, I crossed my first thing off the list! There’s a bridge that goes across the Volta River in Atimpoku, Adomi Bridge. The views off the two sides are awesome, and I’ve been wanting to walk across for months now. Often, we’re just driving through Atimpoku. Obviously we aren’t going to get off a tro just to walk across the bridge, so today was perfect! Instead of catching a tro on the west side of the river, we walked across and got a cab on the east side. Check that item off the Ghana bucket list!

Adomi Bridge
These plants are so cool! I know they’re not just a Ghana thing, but I’ve never seen them before. When you touch the leaves, they close up for about a minute and then reopen. It’s like you’re a magician! Here’s a before picture, and the next one is after I touched them.
Where did they go?!
The bridge from afar

​Sometimes you don’t realize how in need of a break you are until you get one and are reminded of what it feels like to be relaxed. That’s exactly where I was, and today has been the most perfect, relaxing day.

Fernanda with our hut

We took our time getting up this morning (YAY for sleeping in!), ate a leisurely breakfast, and got changed into our bathing suits to go to the beach – 10 feet from our huts.

Huts everywhere!

Oh yeah, did I talk yesterday about where we’re staying? The “hotel” is a collection of little huts, so we have a three person room with a sand floor (aka no floor… just a hut sitting on the sand) and a two person room with a floor (a luxurious concrete floor). I think they’re hilarious. I also have to comment on the electrical situation… There are lights in both rooms, but only one has a switch. In the other, we’re supposed to just pop the light bulb in and out to turn it on and off. The “fixture” is literally just a bulb hanging from the ceiling, supported only by its wires. Where two wires are connected to each other, they’re just twisted together and the connection is exposed. To get the power from hut to hut, there are just wires running underneath the sand without any protection beyond the normal plastic insulation (at home they would have to be in a pipe). I could keep ranting about the lights in pretty much the whole country, but I’ll spare you. Maybe another time.

The river side

ANYWAY, we decided to go for a walk to explore, starting on the river side of the peninsula and walking around to the gulf side. It is beautiful here. It’s also pretty cool to see the difference between the river water and the gulf water, and you can clearly see the place where they mix with each other.

Me on a rock. Obviously.

The rest of the day was equally uneventful. We played some volleyball, went in the river and played monkey in the middle, and laid on the beach. I made a sand sculpture and took a nap on a hammock and lost to Nico in chess. We watched the sunset and ate dinner, and after everyone else went to bed, Fernanda and I sat on the beach, looked at the stars, and talked. On a clear night, the sky here is always incredible because there are barely any lights around to interfere with the dark sky.

Sand sculpting

I’m really bummed that Fernanda is leaving next week… I think I’m still in denial a little bit. We get along so well and have a lot in common. But Mexico City isn’t TOO far from Philly, and she’s promised me a piñata if I come to visit, so it looks like it’s time for me to start planning a trip to Mexico!

Sunset!

​Today was SO much better than yesterday, thank goodness. It’s Nico’s birthday (!!!), so we had a day of fun planned to celebrate.

Yay baby plants!!

It obviously started off with the usual early trip to the farm. Want to guess what the activity was today? You got it – more hoeing! That wasn’t very exciting, but do you know what is? OUR PLANTS ARE GROWING!!! Yay!! I am really not a plant person, so the fact that any plants I’ve come in contact with are actually surviving is thrilling.

We sang happy birthday to Nico at breakfast and presented him with a semi-squished cake that we bought at the mall on Sunday. After two tro tro rides and a couple of days in the fridge, I’m impressed that it survived (though only barely).

Nico with his smushed cake
School actually went well too! I was happy to be back in the P3/P4 classroom and to have another person teaching with me. Having a co-teacher makes the days way easier, and I didn’t realize just how much easier until yesterday when I had to control the kids and prep and explain everything by myself.

We talked about pronouns in English (very exciting, I know) and did more times table practice in Math. We also went over measuring distances with rulers, and the kids did NOT seem to get it. According to their textbooks, they supposedly learned it 2 years ago…? I did a quick review because I assumed that they already knew it, but everyone was staring back at me with blank expressions on their faces. I think we’re going to have to start from the beginning tomorrow.

Maria, Fernanda, Avy, Amber, me, and Nico by the river

After school was lunch, and after lunch we went to a hotel in a nearby town, Atimpoku. Supposedly they sometimes have functional wifi, but today was not one of those days. That’s okay. We all got drinks, sat by Volta River, and just hung out. We were only about 30 minutes away from the house, but it felt like we were in paradise. No kids, flush toilets, and fake Oreos (they’re decent fakes though) that Avy brought. Does it get any better than that?

We came home in time for dinner and afterwards headed to the soccer field by our house to stargaze. Today is the first day since we got here that the sky isn’t completely cloudy, and we wanted to take advantage. As you might guess, there aren’t a lot of lights here, so the sky is ideal for looking at stars. It was another one of those nights where I had that feeling of total contentment. It doesn’t get much better than laying in a field and staring at the night sky with a bunch of your friends.

It’s pretty late, so I should get to bed if I want to be able to wake up for the farm tomorrow. But yeah, today was a great day.