Monday, March 16, 2009

Mad Monday

Today was very busy. We had an early start because some of the students wanted to buy fabric. Jorg, our guide, took us to the local market for Ghanaians. This was very different from the market yesterday. Here, the market was filled with people but they weren’t aggressively trying to get our attention. Here there were different types of food, daily supplies, and fabrics. The guys split off and went looking at other things while Charles, our driver, stayed with the ladies as we shopped for fabric. This was another great lesson in how their commerce works. And, we didn’t have to be on our “A” game with negotiation skills.

Joni & Angie in the fabric booth

We then visited the W.E.B. du Bois center. Mr. Du Bois was a great scholar and wrote many books. The students were impressed by an autographed book from Albert Einstein among his collection of items. Mr. Du Bois also a mentor of President Nkrumah’s. The museum was filled with pictures of various visiting dignitaries and helped drive home how important this man was to Africa.

Next we loaded the bus and headed toward our first business visit of the day. Since we had a little time to kill, we stopped on the coast for lunch. The restaurant overlooked the water. Not only were the breezes cooling, but the water definitely had a calming effect on us all. The food was delicious and sometimes interesting. As you can see, like other cultures, fish is served whole. This surprised, and grossed out, some of the students while others reveled in the tasty dish.

Having full stomachs, we were ready to head to SEND. This organization began in Ghana but has since gone global. It focuses on poverty and associated issues in the country. The students received great information that they plan to use in their group projects.

Our final visit of the day was to the University of Ghana. No one really knew what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised to find a very large campus filled with students in the streets moving between classes. We were scheduled to meet Professor Yankah who is also the Provost of the campus. The students really enjoyed hearing about his days at Indiana University. That’s right. Professor Yankah claims to be a Hoosier!! After reminiscing with the students, he went on to talk about the various departments within the university, geographically where their students come from, links to other universities (a type of exchange student program), and tuition. We also learned that they have a very competitive business school. The professor finished up the meeting with a group picture with the students in the garden and had one of his team members give us a tour around campus.

After we said our goodbyes, it was getting late. As we headed back to the hotel Charles and Jorg overheard some of the students talking about how they wanted to make sure they bought chocolate tomorrow when we visit the Cocoa Marketing Board. Next thing you know, the bus is creeping at a snail’s pace and Charles is yelling out his window at a vendor walking the streets. A man carrying several boxes of chocolate came running. In fact, he had to run next to us as we had to move down the street a bit because we were blocking traffic. Poor guy. We wanted/needed so much chocolate that he had to call in reinforcements. But we all got our first batch of chocolate. Some cracked open a bar on the bus. The smell was divine. That’s when an enormous rumble could be heard. Followed by several more rumbles or was that growls? We needed to eat (or so our stomachs suggested).

Most of us were very tired. The heat today, mixed with the jet lag, really zapped our strength. About half of us stayed at the hotel to eat. The other half were taken to a local restaurant called Papaye (similar to Popeye’s in color scheme, uniforms, and food). The report we were given is that the food was good. Everyone seems to be bonding very well and ahead of schedule. It typically takes students on these types of trips a few days to really gel together. Not this group. They were fast friends after the plane rides. It’s a very good group indeed.

posted at 11:47 pm GMT


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  2. Heather, I realize someone has to snap the photos, but how have you managed to stay out of all of them? I'd like to request a picture of you crossing the hanging bridge in the national park.

  3. Sounds like a great time! I read the posts every day! I want fabric! lol