After talking about our trip all semester, my class finally found ourselves in Accra, Ghana on the afternoon of May 2. It felt rather surreal after the 10 hour flight over the Atlantic. I couldn’t believe I was finally there!
Gordon, the CEO of the travel company UNF works with, met us at the airport and guided us out to our bus. We all loaded up and after exchanging our money for Cedis (1.8 cedis per dollar, which was nice), we were off on a tour of Accra.
As a bus full of white kids, we were drawing a lot of attention, especially from the street vendors, who tapped on the windows, offering everything from little baggies of water to plastic toys to maps of Africa. I tried to pay attention to our tour guide, Vida, as much as I could while staring out the window at the women carrying amazingly large loads on their heads with ease.
Vida told us how important funerals are in Ghanaian culture. She took us to a coffin maker’s shop, where there were coffins in various shapes such as coke bottles and fish. I was baffled why anyone would want to be buried inside a giant crab.
We drove around Accra and saw several of the major landmarks like the University of Ghana and the seat of government.
Accra was really neat, but I was nodding off by the time we got to our hotel. We all showered and freshened up, and then sat around at tables by the pool. Dinner took a few hours longer to prepare than we’d anticipated. We were frustrated at first, but by the end of the trip we understood that the conversion from American time to Ghanaian time is roughly the same as the money conversion. In other words, things take about twice as long as we impatient Americans think they should.