My bags are packed and my visa has arrived, so it’s official! My flight out of the country is today. I will arrive in Accra, Ghana on Sunday in the late morning, which will feel like early morning because Ghana is four hours ahead of Ohio, I think. According to my program itinerary, we will depart Accra an hour later for Cape Coast, which is the city I will be in for the majority of my stay.
For the first week, we will be sitting in lectures by different professors from Cape Coast University. I’m really excited about these lectures because of the variety of the subject matter: Ghanaian Life & Culture, Education System in Ghana, Traditional & Western Religions, Contemporary Politics, and the Slave Castles. We’ll also be having a traditional music and dance workshop, as well as visiting Brenu Beach, Kakum National Park, and Elmina Castle. Throughout the entire month of September, we will have a daily language class in Fante. This is a good thing as I don’t even know how to say, “Hello.” Yikes.
Next weekend, I will go to my home stay and meet Auntie Ivy (my host) for the first time. Then the following Tuesday, I will begin at my teaching placement. For those who don’t know, the program I am going to Ghana with is called “Teach in Ghana” and it’s through Ohio University. From what I understand, I’ll be teaching an English class in the mornings every day at a local boarding school. Once I’m done at the school, aside from my Fante class, I’ll be able to explore and get involved and do basically whatever I want. And that “whatever I want,” is going to look sort of like THIS.
Whoa. This is actually happening. I think I’ve just been so stressed about things this summer (classes, travel, an internship WHICH I LOVED, moving, trouble getting my visa for this trip--ohh you’re supposed to put the money order in the envelope with the application? duh.) that I haven’t really had time to think about what I’m about to be doing. In a way, I think that’s been good because, as a planner, it really freaks me out when I have very little idea about what to expect. Yesterday it kind of began to hit me. I moved out of my house that I spent the summer living in with some of my best friends, and as I drove away from those beautiful women waving from the porch, the words, “See you in December,” kept echoing in my head. In the evening I went to a dinner with my family and my soon-ish-to-be-official family where I was fed strawberry rhubarb pie and fresh, homemade guacamole. (Man, do they get me!) As we drove away, I turned my face away, out the very dark window, and my heart hurt. Not in the, “Okay, Hattie, this is where you tell your mom to drive a little faster and in the direction of a hospital,” kind of way, but more in the way of, “Okay, Hattie, you’ve got a good thing, these people, and I know they’ll be here for me when I get back but that’s just not making this easier right now.”
Now, don’t get this confused. I am SO excited that I actually get to do this. It’s been my dream for a long while. I know that I’m going, but I don’t really know that I’m going, you know? Like, I don’t think it’s clicked yet. I’ve packed for it, I’ve gotten the shots, I’m almost as prepared as I could be, but I think it’s going to take me a bit to really grasp that I am going to a whole new land and that I’m going to get to live there for the next three and a half months. So. I guess, wish me luck and pray that we fly high!