Kelly’s Birthday and Dashing ’round the Country!

A lot has happened since our last blog post. A lot. Let’s start with Kelly’s birthday. Here’s the post that she wrote the night of her birthday after all the festivities:

All i can say is that today, May 4 2011, was mind blowingly awesome for EVERY SINGLE MOMENT!  That’s right, my first ever birthday celebrated in Ghana was a huge and utter success in both my eyes and the incredible and beautiful friends I had around me. I love how it all started off with a good book. The Adventurist by Robert Young Pelton was super interesting and captivated all of my morning attention until I was nearly late for heading to the outskirts of Accra to meet up with the Doku’s, my wonderful host family from last year! Having a birthday begin with a 4 year old named Fafa and a 6 year old named Sedem singing you Happy Birthday was pretty perfect (Auntie Kelly’s birthday in their version). Is it any wonder I brought them presents!? I’m pleased to say hand puppets are still a very big hit with children. While I was occupied and away, Taha (who was wearing his Star Wars shirt all day in honour of Star Wars day, of course) was off being the sneaky awesome man that is he and buying me a DELICIOUS surprise birthday cake! After our few  other successful missions around town were completed, Taha and I met up with all my old awesome friends in Accra and headed off to SALSA!!!  Very few things make me as truly happy as salsa dancing does, and it’s not that i’m remotely good but because you laugh so hard the entire time! This particular salsa time was even more special to me because it involved reunions with nearly all of my closest friends in Ghana, including Caroline – a beautiful person who came on last year’s West Africa Global Health Trip only to end up gaining admittance into a Ghana medical school halfway through the trip! When salsa dancing ended we switched to a great and AIR CONDITIONED karioke bar, which involved everyone singing and dancing for hours and hours. We only stopped 1. for all of my friends to surprise me by getting up onstage and singing me happy birthday, and 2. when I was beyond suprised by the unveiling of birthday cake, which Taha had sneakily managed to get from our hostel room into this karioke bar. Everyone had such an incredible time, and an ENORMOUS smile breaking across my face did not leave for even a moment. It was the kind of day where everything goes perfect without the slightest hitch. It was even cooler weather!
Definitely will be a hard day for me to match. Luckily, I have four more months to try!
Off tomorrow to scout out a beautiful paradise on the coast!

The following day we made our way to the beautiful coastal town of Princess Town, and stayed the night in a German Slave Castle-turned-guest house. It was a very profound juxtaposition of its present-day beauty with the most horrible of atrocities committed there in years passed. Shout out to West Africa Discovery 2010 Trip Leader Extraordinaire Andy Okuneff for the tip on Princess Town, as we have definitely decided to conduct Disorientation with the group there. We’re very excited to go back to Joseph Mensa, the caretaker for the castle, with his incredible stories and just as amazing pancakes (he’s a phenomenal cook). Joseph is just as excited to meet the group!

After good ol’ Princess Town, we made the wonderful 28-hour journey north to Sandema (home sweet home) where we spent the weekend. The word of the weekend was most definitely: REUNIONS! We met everybody from our dear friends at the Horizons Children’s Centre to market vendors, and were welcome with such open hearts. Our very, very good friend IB offered his bathing facilities (I can’t even describe how filthy we were after our trek up the country), which he was quite insistent upon, then made sure that we stayed for dinner with him and his fiancee, Sala. De-freakin’-liciuos. We had rice topped with an incredible fish stew which we ate out of a communal bowl while watching hilarious Nigerian stand-up comedy. A good dinner indeed. This was followed up by a visit to the HCC volunteer house where our old friend Misbah-ul Haque (OG West Africa Partcipant 2008, Trip Leader 2009, and current research representative for G-Roots in Sandema) is staying. The night was full of OUT OF THIS WORLD lightening storms, the most refreshing of rainfalls, and conversation into the wee hours of the morrow. A great, great way to spend a night.

We made arrangements for our housing in Sandema (we’ve got a pretty sweet set-up in store, and can’t wait to see it full of OG-ers), and continued with meeting with our friends all around town. We left that night on an overnight bus from Bolgatanga to Kumasi (it was ONLY one hour late…we had a great feeling about the journey ahead because this NEVER happens), and arrived in Kumasi 10 hours later. We took a nap, and went out to find internet, where we’ve now posted this blog.

A few notes about what we’ve found:

  1. Mama Hanna’s incredible egg and bread spot in Kumasi (Taha claims it’s the best in West Africa) is no longer outside the Adum STC station. The area has been leveled for construction. Rest assured, we are on the hunt to find her. This is our mission.
  2. Internet in Sandema is a no-go. It has apparently been down for 6 months. Bolgatanga is not very far, and internet is quite easy to come across there. So, looks like blog posts won’t be as frequent as we had anticipated.
  3. GET HERE ALREADY PARTICIPANTS! Kelly and I can’t stop talking about how stoked we are to meet everybody and take you all around our most favourite places.

That’s it for now. Hope to talk soon.

Taha and Kelly