Hello Mrs. Allen’s Class!
How are you? I have absolutely loved your emails. They make me so happy and I look forward to checking my email every day. Thank you for being patient as I try to reply to so many wonderful emails.
We just left the Tema, Ghana port a couple of hours ago and I am excited to share my experience with you! We are now on our way to South Africa and will arrive in about six days.
Ghana is the most amazing place. It is also VERY different from the United States. There are a few very rich people and many, many very poor people. But the poor people are so kind and loving. I would meet someone on the street and they would act like they have known you for years and that you are their best friend. This was one of my dear friends who sat in a church meeting with me and gave me so many hugs and squeezes I felt like she was my mother for a day 🙂
Like I said, the people are very poor. They live in whatever they can build to make a shelter. There are places of thousands of tents, boxes, abandoned cement buildings, and stick houses called “shanty towns”.
The traffic is crazy here. It can take up to four hours to go 18 miles! Drivers are not expected to follow the rules like in America and it can be a little scary to be in a taxi or bus. People sell you food, water, and products through your windows while you’re stuck in traffic. Men and women always carry these things on their heads. Several times I even saw people with suitcases on their heads even though the suitcases had wheels on them. 🙂
We visited several schools while we were here. The children were so excited to play with us and we had a blast playing soccer…lots and lots of soccer. J They gave us hundreds of hugs and I felt like I never wanted to leave Ghana. The first school was a Deaf school where we signed with the 350 children there. Sadly Ghanaians still think that not being able to hear means that Deaf children are not able to learn like hearing children. So these children are taken care of but not taught a lot and the teachers know no sign language. The children teach and create their own sign with each other and the teachers just point and write on the white boards. We spent two hours there signing with the children and playing. They were shocked that hearing people knew sign language.
That afternoon and the following day we went to the Accra, Ghana LDS temple. Kara and I brought six of our friends, five of which are not LDS but have been asking questions about our faith and wanted to see a temple. It was very peaceful and we were happy to meet a sweet American couple who are serving a mission in Ghana for two years. Visiting this temple was very special for me and one of my favorite parts of Ghana.
We also visited another school that was at the “City of Hope”. Here we met 23 children who were rescued from slavery over the last couple of years. They are now able to be kids, go to school and play. While it was sad to hear about their stories and realize that while we were learning and with our families, they were being worked so hard that their friends were dying. Thankfully these children have been rescued and they were SO happy! We had so much fun playing with them on their dirt soccer “futbol” field and giving them lots and lots of hugs 🙂 We also painted, helped build the soccer field, and helped the teachers in the school.
Today Kara and I went onto net walkways above the rainforest. It was really high but I had SO much fun looking down on the huge rainforest trees below me. The walkway was really shaky because it was just a net of ropes but we could see everything below us. I know you guys would have loved it!
I hope you are enjoying school! So many children in Ghana aren’t able to go to school which means they have to work hard 14 hours a day starting sometimes at the age of 3. We are so blessed to go to have food, have families and friends, and be able to learn at school. I am learning a lot while traveling the world; the biggest lesson is to be grateful for EVERYTHING I have. Take a minute to think about good things in your lives. We’re very lucky.
I can’t wait to read your next emails! Have a wonderful week!