Over the Pond
Our team departed from the West and East coasts of the United States, making an over 8,000 mile journey for our 15th Exchange. It is a full plane, and we do our best to settle in for the 11 hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean into the Gulf of Guinea. As we land in Accra, we settle in at a comfortable little spot on the sea; the soothing sounds of waves and salt effused air aids in acclimating to a new climate and shaking off the long journey. The staff is setting up for an Indian wedding that evening, and the shoreline is covered with brilliant colors, and space being prepared for hundreds to celebrate the uniting of two young people. It won’t be the quiet evening we were anticipating, but we are ready to roll with what comes before us.
We will soon celebrate our own joining of sorts, connecting the kids from America with their new peers in Ghana. It is Sunday when we make the drive to the Volta Region, and women are colorfully dressed, with head wraps adorning them, walking home from church. The vibrancy awakens our travel-weary eyes and reminds us of the beauty we have come to witness and take part in.
As we leave the city, taking a new route, concrete towers are replaced by towering baobab trees and lush landscapes with small towns scattered within. The rains have come early, so it is greener than usual this time of year. The bridge is closed for repairs and the pontoon boats back up easily for hours. On a Sunday, if you are not in the queue in time, you could end up sleeping in your car. We get to cross over the lower damn, a first, as they have opened it to private cars. This is the main source for power in the country, and also the reason there are perpetual power outages during our stay.
We make our usual stop with one of our bead makers, and purchase some new colorful finds for other artisans with work with. As we drive, there are women and children walking with buckets for water, the very issue we have come to talk about. Dusk catches us early, and as we approach Ho, the skies are falling dark. We are excited to arrive, and look forward to the light tomorrow, from the rising sun and beaming from the joyous children we will greet. We’ve made it to “home sweet Ho.”