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Posts Tagged ‘animals’

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I miss taking random videos of animals in Ghana. In this particular one, I was watching the chickens frolic outside my house and decided that others should enjoy it, too. Hope you do. In other news: I’m back home in the U.S. of A! That doesn’t mean this blog is coming to an end, though.

One big thing that traveling made me realize was how much of my own country I have yet to see. I’d meet people and tell them I’m from the States and they’d say, ‘Oh I’ve been to NYC, DC, Chicago, etc.’ and I’d shock them when I responded, ‘Oh really? I’ve never been.’ Granted, many people don’t realize the massive size of the country and the cost of travel. Regardless, I have some upcoming trips in mind to Chicago and Dallas and will be blogging about those.

Plus, I’ve got numerous anecdotes and pictures that I have not yet shared on here and will be doing so. For now, here’s the chicken video. Sorry for the wind.

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Animal entertainment

This odd-looking duck was wagging his tail and panting in defense of his mate.

These two kids, baby goats, were jumping around and I found it entertaining.

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

– Mark Twain

Orienting myself

It’s a scary thing to do. I know I have had some doubts along the way that I’d be able to make this trip on my own, but I’m so grateful that I did. As my times in Ghana nears its end, I’m surprised at how familiar I’ve become with my surroundings.

When I hop in a cab and ask the driver, ‘We’re near Adabraka, right?’ I often get shockingly pleased looks. They’re happy I’ve figured my way around (for the most part), but maybe just a little sad that I now know a fair rate for most trips and have opted to take tro-tros to save money.

I’ve also picked up a little bit of Twi, a language commonly spoken in Accra. When I meet knew people, typically a daily occurrence, they often ask, “Wo ho te sεn?”  (meaning “How are you?”) followed by “Yε frε wo sεn?” (“What is your name?) I’m able to answer those two questions, which usually amuses my new acquaintance.

Animal lover

The chickens and goats wandering around still amuse me. I don’t think  that will change. I continue to take pictures of them, which I’m sure is odd to the locals but I am used to stares at this point!

Goats on a wall.

Hiding?

Look closely for the third chicken that I didn't notice at first.

Goats galore.

Learning and exploring

Yesterday I went to the Eastern Region for the first time, a mountainous area of Ghana. The town of Koforidua is nestled in between mountains, so we took some time to hike partially up one of them. To get there we had to traipse through people’s property, which didn’t seem to bother anyone.

Heading toward the mountain we climbed up.

A house along the way.

An old truck undergoing work.

A work in progress.

Along the way we also saw a range of vegetation and plants. Did you know this is how pineapples grow? I didn’t!

A pineapple just beginning to grow.

Almost ripe.

Plantains growing.

Plantains are very common here and grow in an interesting way. The purple part of the plant, as I understood it, nourishes the plantains and gets smaller as they multiply and grow further down. The bananas, below, grow similarly but look a little different.

Bananas growing.

We also saw a cocoa tree, which grows pods that hold the cocoa beans. Climbing the tree is dangerous, for both the person and the tree, because its branches are weak. Therefore, a long pole with a knife on the end is used to remove the pods that turn orange when ripe.

Cocoa pods, up in the branches.

An unknown flower...another thing to learn.

As far up as the path allowed us to go.

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From Accra to Cape Coast and back.

Friday 9/23/11

The view from a tro-tro.

A car repair shop in Nima.

Dumpsters in Nima.

A sunset in Nima, a portion of Accra, illuminates the telephone wires and antennas.

A different view of the sunset as a shop begins to glow.

A station in Accra just after dusk.

A man selling children's shoes at the station.

Saturday 9/24/11:

An attempt at taking a picture of the ocean through the window.

After doing a little searching on google, I think this is a weaver bird of some sort. It's hanging on its nest.

Look at all of them!

A lizard and his shadow.

This crocodile positioned itself between me and my purse.

A hillside full of houses in Cape Coast.

A shop in Cape Coast.

Sunday 9/26/11:

View of the ocean on a sunny day in Cape Coast.

Looking out from the overhang at Brenu Beach.

Palm trees at the beach.

A cute little girl who wouldn't stop smiling in our shared taxi.

Accra's lights at night, blurred by the tro-tro's speed.

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So for the past week and a half my foot has been itching. It started off looking like three bug bites on top of my foot, which only made sense because they itched like crazy.

Then it started to spread.

I think part of me knew what it was and just hoped I was wrong. For those of you who don’t know, I have an illogical fear of worms. Their simple bodies and subsequent squirming disgusts me.

I had hoped that everyone was right and it was just a fungus. But after a few days of anti-fungal cream that I purchased from a store called ‘chemicals’, it had only spread more. So I went to a nearby hospital today and, yep, it’s a worm.

The doctor said the worms are carried by cats and dogs. In other words, the post I wrote yesterday about how playing with cats and dogs was a nice break was full of irony. That led to worms in my foot.

Given my illogical fear, I think I’m handling it fairly well. I’m just trying not to focus on the worm aspect and instead on the fact that I can now properly treat it and stop the itching! And I really did enjoy playing with those little guys.

Plus my dad shared this link with me and it put things in perspective. This is treatable. I’m fortunate to have the money to see a doctor and buy proper treatment. I have shoes. This was a fluke thing for me and not something I have to worry about all of the time.

Don’t scroll down if you don’t want to see a picture of my foot!

gross

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The same sky at night

NIGHT SKY

My first year as a resident assistant I had a few new additions during spring quarter, one of whom was a foreign exchange student from Japan named May. Her roommate had a broken leg and was unable to walk across the green to show May how to use the laundry machines so I volunteered to help. After getting through the usual string of introductory questions and comparing our cultures a bit, we temporarily ran out of conversation topics.

The sun had set since we entered the laundry facility and the night sky was clear. I had been looking at the stars and decided to break the silence by saying, ‘these are the same stars you see in japan.’

‘How romantic,’ May joked and I had to laugh.

There have been a few nights where I feel homesick, and one of them I looked up at the stars and remembered that conversation. While it still makes me laugh, there is a calming truth behind it. Sure the constellations vary depending on where you are, but in the end we all still have a similar view.

MODERN TECHNOLOGY

Along with that cliché thought, the ability to call home or send an email helps immensely. I’m able to find out what’s happening in the lives of my family and friends. It’s not the same as being there, but it will suffice for now.

My mom put things into perspective when she told me how difficult and expensive it was to call home while she was in Germany for seven weeks in 1982. It made me realize (though obviously not to the full extent) how different this trip would be without that convenience.

[If you’ve heard this anecdote, feel free to skip ahead!] Best Buy had other plans for me. Just before I left I went into the nearest store and expressed concern that my computer was nearing its end and I was about to be in Africa. ‘There’s nothing we can do,’ they told me, conveniently just before my warranty was set to expire. Now it won’t turn on; thank God for internet cafés and kind hosts.

NATURE NURTURES

One of my favorite quotes is: ‘I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.’ – John Burroughs

Besides the chickens, goats and lizards that I’ve taken interest in and are everywhere, it’s also a treat when I get to play with a cat or dog. Even though they roam the streets (more so dogs), I’m not able to pet those ones because I’d rather not need a rabies shot.

I thought I was seeing things at first!

His camouflage is perfect.

The trip to an eco-lodge in Cape 3 Points was great for many reasons, one of them being the pet dogs and cats. A kitten I called ‘Leo’ became a friend for those three days and I woke up on our last morning to find him sleeping in the wood shavings for my composting toilet.

A little kitten I nicknamed 'Leo'. We became friends.

When I got back to my host’s home I was happy to find that they had gotten a new puppy while I was gone. Sasha’s still a bit timid, but he’s warming up to me. He especially likes Macho, the bull mastiff who’s about six, and cries when they’re apart.

This is Sasha, an 8 week old pit bull at my host's house. Macho, the bull mastiff, is in the back.

The thing is, I act a little differently around animals than most Ghanaians. For them the animals seem to be seen in a much more practical matter. Hence the stares while I picked up a kitten in Cape Coast and talked to it.

SOLACE IN FAMILIARITY

Books and music have occupied many of my evenings. I’ve read six books so far and just started my seventh. Books offer a break from reality that is sometimes needed, no matter where you are. It’s been nice to get caught up on some books I didn’t have time to read during school.

And if all else fails and I’m feeling homesick, I simply remind myself that this trip is a great opportunity and I’m very fortunate.

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