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Friday, March 18, 2011

Family Ties

I arrived at the airport just in time to meet my brother, Jed, and my cousin, Sarah, at the arrival gate.  I made the guard let me rush the gate so that I could go and meet them before I was supposed to.  They were happy to be off the plane.  A little jet lagged, we made our way back to my campus to check them into the guesthouse where they stayed for the week.  Not letting them rest for too long, we headed out to see my hostel and campus until my other brother, Jonathan, was set to arrive from France.  Jed was captivated by the lizards, and attempted to make one of them his friend.  Sarah was enjoying the sun and heat (coming from Minnesota).  We sat by the library for a while and hung out before we decided a nap sounded pretty good before we’d leave to go and get Jonathan from the airport.  Reisetter family reunion in Africa!  Mom and dad can rejoice in the fact that their three children were on the same continent for at least a week again.

Now for the adventures…  I think my family realized (and reminded me) of just how hard living here can be.  It’s much more difficult to get around and do things than it is back home.  I’ve gotten pretty much used to this fact in the two months that I’ve been here, so it was a good reminder to see their reactions.  We got to go and see Cape Coast for a day with our quiet but amazing driver, Jeffrey.  We walked on the rope bridges along the canopy in the rain forest, and we saw Cape Coast Castle with them too.  We went to a few markets and beaches as well.  The three amigos also got to come with me to the place that I volunteer with.  They took us from the headquarters to four other sister schools in the community.  It felt a bit as if we were on parade, but it was really a good experience for all of us.  Jed, Sarah, and Jonathan got to see a more intimate view of Ghana this way.  The kids sort of put on a show for us.  They were pretty cute, but I think a better picture of what their schools are like would have come through observation of the way they teach.  Jed got to challenge the students a little bit, but, I think, if given a better opportunity, he could have actually gotten somewhere with them. 

Jed had heard of a really nice beach that I hadn’t been to yet, so we decided to check it out.  We get in a taxi that knows where the beach is and head out.  Of course the cab driver was lying because he takes us to a random spot that he calls Bojo beach.  Not the correct beach.  We get back to the main road and ask someone else to take us there.  He decides, without telling me until halfway through the journey, that he’s just going to take us to Kaneshie, which is a public transit station just outside the city so that we can find someone else to take us to the actual beach.  Thanks, dude.  We’re all a little frustrated by this point, so we make the cab driver pull over and find us a new taxi to take us all the way to the beach.  Success! After about another hour, we arrived.  We weren’t disappointed.  Bojo is a beautiful place located west of Accra.  It’s sort of like a sandbar so we were rowed across to the sand by a gondola-looking boat.  We spent the rest of the day at the beach enjoying each other’s company, believe it or not. 

We went to an art market and another market in Osu, a different part of town.  Osu is probably the least crazy market that I’ve seen and been to since being here, but it was still a little too crazy for Jonathan.  Being hassled constantly by shopkeepers gets a little old, and Jonathan got a little flustered at a few people in the market.  This provided us with some good reasons to pick on him for the rest of his stay, claiming that he had ‘slapped someone in the market’.  Needless to say, this didn’t really happen, but it makes for a good story. 

My family learned that honking has its own language here.  Cars honk constantly in different situations for various reasons.  Some drivers tend to honk more than others, and some a little unnecessarily.  Sometimes as if to say, “Here we are!”  Jonathan came up with the ingenious idea that we should all get our own little horns for daily use.

After the family went home, despite a little trouble with the return flight, the excitement of new people and the pressure of showing them a good time died down.  Here I am in Africa…….. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, and I’m glad they got a taste of my life here.

Maybe I’ll go to class this week……

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