I have so much to say and only 38 minutes left in this internet cafe to say it. I’ll probably have to buy some more time, but let’s see how it goes. I also don’t have my journal with me and that’s where everything is written so i hope i don’t leave anything out for you all (i’m talking to all my avid and dedicated followers of course.)

So, John came and got us from the airport Thursday morning and we started our journey back to Ho from Accra. Thinking back, that seems so long ago but in reality (which i find that i’m really not living in these days) it was less than a week ago. We got some bowl fruit, which is really not fruit at all but actually a ball of scrumptious fried dough/doughnut type thing. Then we got in a tro tro (which sounds like cho cho to me) to Ho. So, you may ask, what is a tro tro? Well, its a big van that looks like it’s been gutted on the inside and beaten with a couple of sledgehammers, but it still runs and it is a main mode of transportation here. You can pretty much take one anywhere, and that’s how we’ve been getting around most days. You catch them either on the side of the road or at a station and they don’t leave at any particular time, but instead whenever they fill up. The drivers here drive like you wish you could in the states, fast and recklessly. It’s pretty hilarious ( don’t worry dad, i know you’re reading this and i’m fine.)  The tro tro is about a 3 1/2 or 4 hour ride from Accra to Ho, which is long but we’ve been so hyped up on travelling adrenaline that it’s really not that bad.

When we got to Ho we checked out the volunteer houses that John has, which are really nice and right in town. We’ve been sleeping there for now but we’ll be moving to Saviefe Deme (sp?) tomorrow to move in with our host family, Charles and Ernestine. They are probably some of the sweetest people that you will ever meet and I can’t wait to spend more time with them. I’ll talk more about them later though.

After the volunteer houses we browsed Ho a little bit and John showed us around. The language in Ho and the surrounding areas is Ewe so we’ve been working on that. So far, i definitely know how to say ‘thank you very much,’ ‘this is good,’ and that might be it. We’ve been writing things down in my handy-dandy notebook though so hopefully we’ll get pretty good in the next five weeks. Many people speak pretty good English, including Charles and this man named George who we’ll be spending a lot of time with, so that helps with things a lot.

We slept in Ho that first night and then we left early early for Cape Coast the next morning  – the first of our many excursions we’re going to be going on! Cape Coast trip consists of one tro tro to Accra, which is about 4 hours, and then another tro tro to Cape Coast, which is almost another 4 hours. By the time we got there it was just in time to see the slave castles on the water and catch a tour. The castle is a beautiful, white building with a dark, ugly past. It was where the British would harbor the slaves while they were selling and transporting them over to America and other places. Pretty gruesome but it was really interesting to see. After that, we hung out by the ocean for a bit and then made our way back to the guest house that we were staying in and had dinner at their rooftop restaurant. We’ve been eating a lot of rice and chicken (which is pretty delicious so i’m not complaining) and drinking local beers which are pretty good. Cape Coast it a nice city, it reminds me of something between Accra and Ho. Accra is very big, very crowded, and very busy. Ho is smaller, and little quainter, but still busy and crowded. Cape Coast is a happy medium.

The next day we took a short taxi ride out to Kakum National Park, which is this massive, beautiful rainforest where we did this absolutely terrifying but absolutely awesome canopy walk. It consists of seven 2-foot-wide rope and plank bridges high above the tree tops. Apparently Kate and John didn’t think it was nearly as scary as i did and they took a video of me on Kara’s flip. I haven’t watched it yet out of sheer embarasment but i’m sure it will come out sooner or later.

Ok, now comes the good stuff. The day after Kakum (yesterday) has been my favorite so far. We traveled out to Saviefe Deme to go to a soccer (football to them) match between Deme and a nearby town. To get to Deme we need to take a taxi to a junction about 20 minutes away, and then a motorbike down a small dirt road into town. I am now officially buying a motorbike. This was when we met Charles and George for the first time and a couple other people from the village. The match was about a 15 minute ride from Deme and we took a big tro tro with the team and all the other spectators from the village. It was really amazing to see, all the players were pretty amped up, playing drums and singing the entire way. There were people on the top of the bus and hanging out everywhere. It was awesome. I’m pretty sure the match was in a village called Afuerte (oh my, that’s spelled just so completely wrong i’m embarrassed,) and when we got there we had some time to kill so George brought us over to meet his cousin, Price. Price lives in this amazing house and was so welcoming to us it was unbelievable. We sat and talked for a bit, he asked Kate if she believed in God, and when she said no he asked her about heaven and hell (everyone is VERY religious here.) But he was so sweet. He took us out back to where he grows oranges, coconuts, papaya, guava, and bananas. He gave us a a big bag of oranges (which are in fact, not orange but green) and George cut down some coconuts for us. I’ve never tasted something so fresh and delicious in my life. If you haven’t had fresh coconut juice, go fly to where they grow coconuts, cut one down and go at it. You won’t regret it, i promise. Then after we drank the delicious nectar, George cut open the coconut and we could eat the fresh coconut right out of there. The texture was a little difficult for me, but i sucked it up because hey, when in Ghana – eat a coconut, right?

After the coconuts and company we went back to the match, Deme won 1-0 with a sweet goal and the team was super excited on the way home. They were singing and drumming up a storm. The best part though, was that Kate and I rode on the top of the tro tro on the way back. This may not sound that fun, and we had to convince Charles that we wouldn’t fall off, but it was one of the funnest things i’ve done. Especially with the excitement and music coming from the team, it was amazing. By the time we got back it was too late to catch a taxi back so we spent our first night at the house. Ernestine cooked us an amazing dinner of rice, chicken and this delicious stew and from there we were fat and happy.

Things i learned/heard from Charles last night:

When you yawn, it means 1 of 3 things. Either you’re tired, hungry, or you miss home. So ask yourself which one it is whenever you yawn.

He taught us the old Ghanaian adage, you have two hands. The right washes the left, and the left washes the right. So in order to fully accomplish anything, you must work together as one.

He made me eat a banana (this isn’t anything i learned but i had to throw it in somewhere.) Charles is a teacher by profession, and somehow he guilt-ed me into trying a banana. It was just as gross as i remember.

I have to marry a man from their village and pop out a nice white baby so he can have it as a souvenir. I’m thinking this will be one that he wont be convincing me to do, but i suppose you never know what can happen in five weeks…(just kidding.)

Alright. I’ve written a lot and i still feel like i’m missing everything. I hope some of you made it through that. We got some fixins’ for guacamole from the market tonight so we’re gonna go make that.

Love and miss every damn one of you.

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