Sunday, April 19, 2009

The president of Ghana, waterfalls, and monkeys

What a great weekend! This weekend was the last of our four CIEE trips and I think it was probably my favorite one. We went to the Volta Region, where I hadn't been yet, and went to Wli Waterfalls and a mokey sanctuary! I also saw the president of Ghana, John Atta Mills, purely by chance, but it was so cool! The hotel we stayed at was having a shopping mall of sorts constructed by it and Mills is really big on developing Ghana, so he came out to give a short speech about how important this progress was. Security didn't let us get to close to him, but he drove past in his motorcade and waved to the few of us who were outside, it was awesome! I have now seen in person, the president of my home country and the president of my temporarily home country. I'm pretty impressed with myself. :)

Saturday afternoon we had an early lunch at the hotel and then we drove about two hours to Wli falls. We had a 45 minute hike through the jungle which meant a break from the sun, but holey moley the humidity was crazy! The forest was so green and gorgeous, but it was hard to see everything, because a lot of time was spent making sure I didn't fall on my face since the path was pretty rough. There were some people doing the walk in flip-flops and I'm surprised no one broke an ankle, I was pretty thankful for my Merrell's and for my dad being smart enough to make me get some. By the time we reached the falls I was pretty sweaty, but my problem was conveniently solved by the 60 meter high waterfall that I got to swim into! The water was a little chilly, but not much worse than any MN water in late May, I think most people were just babies. It was so cool to swim under the actual waterfall, and then we went behind it and looked up from there and that was amazing! It was something of an uncomfortable walk back with a wet bathing suit, but it was so worth it for the falls! I have some cool pictures, but you all will have to wait for those until May. And someone on the trip has a picture of me in the falls, so there is proof! Dinner was back at the hotel, and afterwards some of us went for a night time swim, which was almost as good as the falls, haha. Night time is never all that cold (at least not for me) so it was great to have warm air around me and a cold pool to swim around in. Plus, it was night time, no worries of sun burn for me, woo-hoo! I enjoyed an amazing hot shower and then slept in an air conditioned room, sooooo nice!

Sunday morning was a breakfast of beans, toast, eggs, and steamed lettuce (pretty common around here) and then we were off to Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary. These monkeys are pretty used to tourists and they're calm, so we got to feed them! They came up so close to us and really happily grabbed the bananas and ate from our hands. It was great to see them up so close and their jumping abilities are pretty impressive. I fed one monkey who happily sat by me while eating, and then another mama monkey who had a tiny baby monkey attached to her. Pretty sure it was one of the cutest things I have ever seen! Again, there are pictures, but you will have to wait until I am home.

Between swimming in a waterfall and feeding monkeys, I had a very African experience weekend. Which is good, it reminds me of why I choose to come to Ghana and not a more developed or more like America country. Of course, when I got back, the water was out all over my dorm, and I was back to wondering why not England or Ireland, haha.

I got my Visa for Togo last Thursday, and on Tuesday I am getting one for Benin, so that trip should be good to go! Also, this Wednesday I leave for Elmina Castle and a stilt village. Elmina Castle is in Cape Coast, where I have been before, but my tour of Cape Coast Castle was kind of a let down, so I'm going to try again with Elmina this time. From there we take off to Nzuelzo stilt village and hopefully this will go better than the planned trip we were supposed to go on, that never happened, when at 4:00 in the morning, there was still no bus. We come back Saturday and then I'll study like crazy for my first exam on Monday. It's crazy to think how soon those are happening! EEK! I've got all sorts of trips planned out for the next few weeks, but I will save your eyes, and put those in another post.

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