Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Everyone in my family got malaria"

Despite two almost-missed flights, I've made it to Ghana and the trip was actually very smooth. Although I used to hate airports, they're growing on me. I had a 6-hour layover in London (plus an additional 2 hours for delays), but the international terminal was rather entertaining. There's no better place to people-watch; it's like a mini-global crossroads, hundreds of people running around, speaking dozens of languages, hopping on flights to all over the world.

On my flight to Ghana I met a friendly Canadian (but a Yankees' fan, he added), who travels home every 3 years to visit family. On my transatlantic flight, I sat next to an older Polish-American woman who was flying from Providence, RI, to visit friends in London, and then travel to Poland. Incidentally, the woman, an engineer and former professor, took an academic sojourn to Nigeria for several months when she was younger ("I wanted to do something to save the world," she told me), so we talked a bit about Africa. Although I'm sure she meant well, all her stories were filled with harrowing tales of disease and hardship. First, she told me about the piles of fly-encrusted rotting meat that were laid out on campus everyday for people to buy. Next, she told me about the third-degree sunburn she received after standing outside for less than four hours, and finally, she told me about how everyone in her family got malaria while they were there. When her 5-year-old son became ill, they decided to ship back to Poland.
But, I asked positively, that was 25 years ago. I'm sure things are better now.
"Oh, I doubt it. Actually, I bet things are worse."
Oh, well, uhm, thanks.

Luckily, my time in Ghana has been devoid of malaria, sunburn, and rotting meat (at least so far). In fact, my living conditions are quite nice, considering the circumstances, and as Stesha and I have recovered from jet lag, we've had a relatively relaxing time. Part of the reason Stesha and I chose to do our project in Ghana is because she has connections here (Stesha's first generation Ghanaian-American), and so we're living with several of her family members: her aunt Ellen, her 8-year-old niece DiDi, and her uncle Earnest. They're impossibly friendly, and we've had a great time spending time with them.

Our project starts Monday, so more on that soon.

1 comment:

sad8 said...

I couldn't have chosen a better travel buddy!

There I said it.