Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I alight here

That's the Ghanian way of saying this is where I get off when you're in a car.

I fly home to the States tonight, arriving sometime tomorrow afternoon EST.

I know I've been very bad about keeping up my blog, mostly because our internet situation got scarce these last few weeks, which makes uploading pictures impossible (we're charged on bandwidth).

So, I hope to post a lot more pictures and stories when I'm back home.

The research this summer has been awesome, as have the people I've gotten to work with.  I've been able to see quite a lot of Ghana, although I didn't make it up north this trip.  I've bought a lot of arts/crafts souvineers.

I've traveled by plane, bus, taxi, tro-tro (old beat-up van crammed full of people), car, canoe, and motorbike.  I've walked a lot.  I've seen a lot of toilets (my research was on sanitation).  I've gotten one marriage proposal from an assemblyman.  I've gotten and recovered from malaria.  I've worked on a lot of spreadsheets.  We've had several dance parties. I've learned to make 1 Ghanian dish, red-red (bean stew and fried plantains).  I've taken pictures of lots of goats, which I've seen in yards, houses, gutters, streets, trees, and car windows.  I've eaten a lot of mangos and pineapple.

I've had lots of crazy adventures, including canoeing on 2 lakes, getting caught in a rainstorm and subsequently having a water fight, tracking down a cab driver for the better part of a day (and then spending the night at the house of another cab driver's grandmother), seeing numerous beaches, waiting hours for a tro-tro, meeting people from all over Ghana and the world (Gambia, Togo, China, Denmark, England, Canada...), visiting 2 waterfalls and frolicking in one, visiting 2 museums, climbing a lighthouse, seeing 3 forts, crossing a canopy walk, and touring the University of Ghana campus.

I've learned a lot about conducting research involving people, and with people of another culture.  It was fantastic to be able to work along side of Ghanians for this survey, and they had a lot more experience surveying than I did.  I've made friends that I really really hope I keep in touch with (on 3 continents).  I've learned that GIS mapping is super cool.

I've gotten to look poverty in the face, and realize that not all poverty is equal, and that people here in Ghana are better than I am about not judging on appearances.  I've seen how frustrated people are when they think they have no power to change things in their community.

I've been able to see a beautiful country filled with friendly people and a lot of opportunity.  Ghana is heading in the right direction, and its wonderful to see.  There is also still a lot to be done.

I'm sad to leave and happy to be seeing my family and friends soon, all at the same time.

To my Ghanian friends that may or may not be reading this, please stay in touch and come visit me! 
Akwaaba.  You are welcome.