the madina market- vast and wonderful. about a 15min tro-tro ride from campus (though traffic is a serious variable here). all sorts of foodstuffs, plastic items, clothes, etc, but our particular attraction is the block of fabric sellers. $4.50/2 yd. is pretty standard. i cannot wait to receive the clothes i am having made by a local seamstress!

vitamilk soymilk. a different flavour, but i love it!

our most-loved variety of local beer

view of madina from the highest point on campus

goats, sheep, chickens, and stray dogs abound. im pretty sure the campus's shrubs are trimmed by the animals...


in my time spent avoiding homework, i've been reading "weird like us: my bohemian america" by ann powers. overall, i'm not totally taken in by the grand sweeping sketch of new bohemia that powers tries to depict, but certain passages certainly ring true. i don't personally agree with all the excesses she and her friends particpate in, but i recognize the value of her anecdotes of the world she comes from, unique and at once visible through small shards of my life.

"I had come to believe that anyone with a little ingenuity could survive in the average American city with virtually no money, through a combination of bartering, gift exchange,recycling, and scavenging...If everyone treated the material world like a harvest or a mine instead of a factory showroom, I thought, we could become free in ways we'd never imagined."

"There's just something fundamentally perverse about arranging society around the buying and selling of human time. We become slaves to a way of life that becomes 'natural' and inevitable. As though everybody's always sold themselves to some stupid-ass job."- author's friend Chris Carlsson, from the particularly good chapter about the battle to not sell out to the menial workplace, and the tension between paying rent and pursuing what's meaningful in life.

"The mainstream has always been more myth than lived experience, and everyone struggles to adjust their imperfectly shaped circumstances to its mold."

In other news, I'm missing choir and singing in general something fierce, and also missing friends and sad to miss fall at Calvin, which I realized is probably the best season in Grand Rapids.
Also, check out this video on dusty dress blog. now that's what I'm talking about! Wonderfully executed, but thrifty, minimalist architectural style.
Our next excursion is to Cape Coast, this upcoming Friday and Saturday, which I'll be greatly looking forward to..
k. this is the courtyard in our hostel, ish2.
everybody loves obama here. he's quite popular.

at the "cultural center" (ie tourist shopping deathtrap) we made some rasta friends and got free drumming lessons

me and corrie cooked our first meal of stirfried veggies and guacomole. it was heavenly, after rice and chicken for a few days straight

in the kitchen...


this morning naomi and i went to mass in a catholic church on campus. we waited for about an hour past the supposed starting time (7am!) before church actually started, and went on for almost 3 hours. i still really enjoyed it, through ive only attended mass once before, and don't consider myself a catholic. i think i'm drawn to the beauty of the liturgy, the process of things. i will definitely be going back.
a couple of us have travelled to the accra mall to get some coffee and use the internet for a mellow afternoon. even though legon campus is quite large, there's not much to do, and it feels great to shake off some cabin fever on the weekends.
i'll be getting up early to start off my week right tomorrow with a morning run. more posts coming soon!


okay, first batch of photos! this is me, drinking water out of a bag. a novel experience...bags are about 3 cents each.

in the frankfurt airport- smoking kills. on all cigarette packaging.

my side of my room in the hostel.

chelsea, annica, and grace enthusiastic for MORE RICE! (sarcasm...)

my view from the small porch off my room


more to come soon! classes are quite boring so far, to tell the truth. i hope they pick up...


okay- update!

finally! i've had enough time to sit and write an update. i'll post pictures soon, i promise- i need to have my laptop configured to the internet here, which hopefully will happen tomorrow. let's see- what are the highlights...

  • we flew to ghana from wednesday evening to thursday afternoon, with a short layover in frankfurt. i got maybe an hour of sleep through the whole trip, and i feel like i'm still trying to get my sleep regulated. i'm at the stage where i can get up in the morning, but by mid-afternoon i need a serious pick-me-up. i did get to use euros for the first time, though. i couldn't believe how classy the mcdonalds was in the frankfurt airport! i bought a 100% fruit, no-sugar-added smoothie! from mcdonalds!
  • ghana is humid, warm, with bright red clay-dirt. it is overcast much of the time and the landscape is dotted with all varieties of trees, especially palm trees.
  • my group of 12 is staying in the international student hostel on the university of ghana's campus. most all the buildings here are set up with 4 sections and a hollow part in the center which contains a courtyard. all of us have or are expecting to have ghanain roommates, who apply specially for the privilege of being an international roommate.
and now...the internet cafe i'm sitting in is closing. i have so much more to say! but it will have to wait until at least tomorrow. love you all!


just waiting

well, i'm nearly ready to leave now. please. i kid myself. how could i be ready? here is the scarf i just finished- my first ever knitting project. i'm giving it to my friend katey, because she gifted the yarn to me in the first place.

last things:
ice cream
seeing "the hangover" (not bad!)
packing (will i ever be done packing?)
a glorious bike ride

FAIL party this past weekend. it was a fabulous time. i will miss my pamojites and all the various travelers who traipse through our humble home!

continued thanks to everyone who has been and will be praying for me and checking up on this blog. please dont hesitate to comment or email me!


jungle and telephone poles: revisited

i went biking this evening to get outside and clear my head (as i often do)
i had just begun a new section of trail
the sun was setting to my left; the cityscape was to my right
(i just wish i could bathe everyone in the pink-gold glow of the sunset)
the wind was blowing; all around me wild grasses were billowing
the trail stretched clear ahead of me
and i thought about
how truly grateful i am
to have been able to live here these past two months
my summer by no means went according to plan
how i envisioned it
nor was it easy
my life does not fall into my lap complete
but still
i am grateful
and i'm ready for what's next

i have spent much of my free time these past two months on activities i long to do during the school year...creative things which i consider essential for shaping myself as a person, but often get begrudgingly shoved aside in favor of schoolwork. creative things including my never-ending list of books, film scholarship, sewing projects and clothing reconstructions, long bike rides, photography, and (recently) knitting. i anticipate that when i arrive in ghana, i will have no time or brain capacity for these activities i cherish right now- my mind will be too full with sights and adjustments. i would like to think i'll acclimate smoothly, but i probably will have trouble, the same as everyone else. and really, this nervousness is partially motivated by an inner selfishness which wants me to remain comfortable and secure and fully in charge of every hour of my day. am i really the diector of the minutes of my day anyways? no. in this final week before my departure i am going to try to cultivate an attitude of jumping in feet-first, so to speak. i want to be ready and available to participate in whatever comes my way, and not be hung up about pasttimes i cherish here or things i'm missing out on or wanting to conduct things my way. i certainly think this will be easier said than done. i'll let you know.