Friday, January 9, 2009

Our last day in Ghana

Our wonderful trip is drawing to an end... We held our closing reception at the beautiful African Regents Hotel, which gave us an opportunity to thank all of the individuals who contributed to make this trip unforgettable, but also to touch base with the Lehigh University alumni in Ghana, and a few former Global Village students. We were also pleased to host the headmaster of Mfantsipim school, and some of the guest speakers who delivered the lectures for our group. One of the Global Citizenship students, Amanda, spoke on behalf of the group to testify how rich and transformative this experience has been. Entertainment and dance added a touch of Ghanaian color and warmth to the evening.

Yesterday, we visited the Cocoa Research Center north of Accra and went to do our last shopping at a wood carving village.

We'll be leaving from the hotel at 5:00am tomorrow morning, and should be at JFK at around 5:00pm.

This has been a fantastic experience!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just back from Kumasi

It's 9 pm, and we are just back from our eye-opening two-day trip to Kumasi. What an experience! I am sure all the students will have something special to tell about this part of the trip. One of the highlights has certainly been the visit to two health clinics that receive funding from Direct Relief and from private donors. Their service to the community is as invaluable as the passion of the clinic's funder, Agatha, the wonderful woman who has been dedicated her whole life to this project. The students did a little fundraising amongst us, in hopes to be able to help. On a different note, the Kumasi market (the largest open-air market in West Africa!) gave us all a very powerful opportunity to better understand the local culture and ethos. Many more things happened... but dinner is awaiting us, so I'd better go and join the group.

Monday, January 5, 2009

In Kumasi

Glad to inform everybody that we are now in Kumasi. We left early this morning, and arrived safely after a 4-hour drive. A lecture on the Ghanaian arts and crafts occupied us for the afternoon, and most of us are now checking their emails at an Internet cafe' at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, watching local students playing basketball. We have a pretty busy schedule for the next two days, and we'll be back in Accra on Wednesday evening. Chances are that we will not be able to access the Internet for a couple of days...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Back to Accra

Thanks for all the New Year's greetings... Sorry we have been off the hook for a few days, due to problems with the Internet connection first and to our two-day trip to Cape Coast then. We enjoyed Cape Coast a lot, and had the chance to attend a very informative lecture on the slave trade, visit the Elmina Castle (one of the most infamous premises where slaves were sold and shipped), try our courage at the Kakum National Park, and enjoy a couple of delightful ocean-front resorts. Today, we just came back on time to be received by the Head of the Dance Department at the University of Ghana for a hands-on (and, well, feet-on) workshop on traditional African dancing and drumming. We will not forget this experience easily!

More dancing for tomorrow at the Kokrobiti Beach... More soon!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Sorry for not posting yesterday, the Internet connection at the hotel was off. Yesterday was also a very special day for Ghanaians, the day that the results of the election runoff were going to be announced. After visiting the DuBois Center, we were planning to head downtown for a tour, but had to redirect ourselves towards the outskirts due to the hectic traffic related to the elections. At the end of the day, it turned out that the presidential winner will be announced this coming Friday instead: one of the voting sections will have to re-cast their vote, and Ghanaians will have to wait for that to happen before they get to know the name of their president. Everybody is here is so excited and waiting for CHANGE.

Today, most of us went to the National Cultural Center, a fairground where to find arts and crafts for purchase... We had a chance to train our bargaining skills, and most of us scored decently well... Tonight we'll welcome the new year at a club called "Next Door" on the ocean. Happy New Year to all the parents and friends in the US from all of us!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our second day in Accra...

Lehigh's GC Program is flourishing here in Accra! Today we had two very interesting lectures by two faculty members from the University of Ghana. Prof. Baku gave us a very knowledgeable overview of the history of Ghana from the slave trade until independence (1957) and beyond, while Prof. Jonah talked about the politics of economic decolonization and Ghana's polical and economic prospects for the future. In between the two lectures, we had time to pay a visit to one of the most notable Ghanian monuments in Accra, the Mausoleum dedicated to the founder of independent Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah.

All the students are fine, an it is such a pleasure to see their enthusiasm and observe them posing interesting questions to our guest speakers!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hello, all! We have arrived safely to Accra, but it took us longer than scheduled! Our flight was delayed six hours, actually: first the crew thought that the problem to our aircraft could be fixed by changing an electronic box, but that did not work and hence we had to switch plane. All said and done, the flight went very well, though, and we are already enjoying the city! Most of the students are swimming in the hotel pool right now... and they say "Hi!"!