Hello! So much has happened the past week that it’s hard to know where to begin. The journey started with our day of “staging” where our whole group met in Philly. We spent the day in a seminar type setting and spent the night watching the Super Bowl and singing karaoke at the oldest pub in Philly while it snowed!
We arrived at JFK airport right as they were closing the roads due to a blizzard. Our flight was on time; however we sat on the plane for 4 hours due to backup from the snow. We arrived in Ghana around 2:00 P.M. on Tuesday. Immediately, we knew we were in good hands. Obed, the safety and security officer, ushered us through the airport with much suave to our Peace Corps welcome party who were bearing freshly squeezed juice and banana chips! From there, we hopped on a bus and had a police escort to our first week’s training site- Valley View
We stayed at Valley View for six days. It felt very much like summer camp. We ate together, trained together, slept side by side with windows and doors open, played mafia, and began familiarizing ourselves with our new culture. There was some electricity, but it went out frequently, so we ended up doing nightly things by headlamp. On our second evening, we got to have appetizers and drinks at the U.S. Ambassador’s house. It was beautiful, but the coolest thing to me was seeing how many people in the Embassy are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers- including the Ambassador himself!
Saturday we were set free! We got into groups to for our “Accra Quest” which was like a scavenger hunt throughout the capital. The point was to begin familiarizing ourselves with the transportation system, important sites, and Ghanaian culture. What I really took from the experience was how Ghanaians are truly the most hospitable people group in Africa and probably the world. Every single place we went people were genuinely interested in helping us, sharing their culture with us, or guiding us along. One man even guided us for thirty minutes to a Tro-Tro station. It made me feel much less anxious about navigating the country because I know somebody will always be willing to offer and hand (and some English too!)
Our first week at Valley View was packed full of trainings (medical, safety, how to greet a chief, homestay tips, bucket bathing, hand washing clothes, etc.). As well as, team building activities, getting acquainted with Ghanaian food, Chris getting peed on by a bat, and hammock time. As they say here “Awkwabba!” It was a great welcoming week.