Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jenny's observations

This one was writer by Jenny, interesting together two perspectives.
7/28 Thursday 12:00 am
I'm awake. Crap.  We slept on the plane a little and tried to stay awake until 6 pm but jet lag has got the best of me and I'm wide awake despite the fact I will not let anyone talk about what time it is at home.
Yesterday went surprisingly smooth.   Delta airlines checked all 13 of our bags through at no charge and managed to get them to Africa through New York without a hitch.  We paid customs $50 and they barely inspected one bag.  Dave from crossover met us with a few of his guys to escort us to the rental car place.  Chad is unbelievably patient as this process takes about 45 minutes to complete.  Driving through the capital city of Accra in our pick up truck we decide to make a "quick" stop to buy some chicken and rice at the market so the kids at crossover can have meat for lunch.  This ends up taking over 2 hours and what we see is hard to comprehend.   The traffic rivals LA at 5:00 on Friday.  But this traffic consists of people selling goods from the baskets on their heads, animals,  bikes, vans packed with an unimaginable amount of passengers and pot holes galore.  Downtown we pass a dump that looks to be about 2 acres. People are on top of the mounds of trash foraging through and the stench is 100 x worse than John, our drivers body odor.  Soon after we pass the beach which is not coveted property like at home. In fact there is a prison right on the beachfront property.  I failed to mention that John is driving extremely slow.  Bikes were passing us.  And even though it seems people drive with their hand permanently on the horn I do believe many of those honks were directed toward us.  We finally pull over at the market.

Chad and Dave go negotiate with the other men for the price of the food and once the deal is struck the women carry the 50 lb bags of rice and pallets of frozen chicken to the truck.  Chad and Dave also discuss the fact that John does not have to drive slow for us, (me and Savannah), in fact we like to go fast.  Hallelujah. We didn't really see any crime or begging, just masses of people either selling their goods (snacks drinks, fruit, toys) or hanging around talking or resting on the side of the road.  So many little kids were strapped to their moms backs.  We saw one park but no one was there.  We did see a few school age kids in uniforms but from what we could tell, most people of all ages go to the marketplace to work.
So we left lax at 7:00 am Tuesday, landed in Accra at 7:00 am Wednesday and arrived at hotel Volta about 3:00 pm. It has been a long day even though we have not accomplished much.  Dave suggested we stay and get settled and go to crossover in the morning.  At first I was disappointed to loose a day with the kids.  But we were walking zombies and I've never been so happy to pass on another hour of travel.  Hotel Volta is near lake Volta and we have a view of the dam from our room.  I would say it's comparable to a best western but with some special touches.  The gym is one machine.  It's in the hallway.  The pool slide is a colorful plastic kiddie slide.  We relaxed by the pool with the only other patron, a millipede.  The gift shop has a book in the window entitled, Jewish wisdom- how to be successful in business.
I'm going to try and get some sleep now so I can be awake tomorrow when we meet the crossover kids.

Arrived in Ghana

So we arrived on time in Accra, the capital city of Ghana.  Bribery is alive and well at the airport...we paid $50 to have our 11 bags ignored going through customs.  I chalked it up to donating to the entrepreneurial spirit in Accra. After spending about an hour renting a truck we decided to buy a bunch of food for the kids to eat on our arrival.  However, we didn't expect it to take us 90 minutes to find the food (think huge swam meet) or another 90 minutes to get on the highway.  All said and done, we got to our hotel around 3pm and Jim said school gets out around 3 so we should just relax at our hotel and come to the school early.  So we hit the pool, had a few beers (not the kids) and ended up eating dinner at 5pm. Me and the kids each had Goat Soup.  Everyone liked it but it was a bit spicy for the kids and they didn't love the meat.  Jenny ordered a special Tilapia dish but when it came she could barely look at it.  The consistency was similar of something you'd see out of the Ghostbusters movie (Snotty andGooey):  very slimy and according to Jenny, wholly inedible (we even saw a few dry heaves for the efforts she put it). After dinner, we were supposed to shower and meet in our room to play cards but pretty much everyone passed out, which is why I am writing this blog at 2am!

In 4 hours the three of us are going to take the rental car from the hotel to Crossover (hopefully).  Mind you, it's been 3 years since I have taken this route and never as a driver.  I think I remember how to get there but we will see.  The experience we will meet will be nothing short of overwhelming.  Jim can vouch for it.       There are no words for it.  We will keep a video to help explain what we mean to these beautiful, happy kids.  I will try to post around 2pm EST later today (7pmEST)