I Went to Ghana Last Week

My Week in Ghana You've probably noticed things have been quiet around here. Last week we were in Ghana and we met our precious girls for the first time. It was my first international trip. Ever. Our first night in a hotel in Ghana, I was culture shocked and very intimidated. I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into and didn't want to leave the hotel room if we didn't have to.

{First Hotel Room}

First Hotel

{View from hotel balcony}

First Hotel 2

The next day we had a private driver take us to where our girls are, which is about 3 hours away. Once there, we checked in to another hotel and stayed the week there.

{Second hotel room}

Hotel room 2

{View from hotel entrance}

Hotel Room 2 2

Upon first meeting our girls, the youngest, C, was very, very shy. It definitely took some breaking down of walls during the week (one brick at a time) to get C to open up to us. It wasn't that she was rejecting us, she was just extremely shy and this was confirmed by the orphanage director and the many volunteers who help there.

M, on the other hand was very playful and goofy with us! When she first saw me she smiled big and ran up and hugged me right away. I definitely wasn't expecting that!

Since the girls were in school, we didn't see them very  much. They reached the orphanage after school by 3:30pm and by 5pm we had to start heading back to our hotel room before it reached dark (which hits around 6-6:30pm). It is advised that we don't walk anywhere after dark. Since some of our journey back requires walking, we had to be firm about our leaving at 5pm.

One day we went up to the school in hopes of being able to sit in class with each of the girls, but we were more of a distraction to ALL the children than anything and thought it better not to disrupt the school day.

{Playing "High Five" with some of the children during recess at school}

At School with Children

I rather liked the school. It was like an old, eighteenth century schoolhouse. The children used chalkboard slates and the desks were beautifully crafted from wood and happily situated in each classroom.

{School building from the porch. There are 4 class rooms, green doors on the right.}

School

Although I don't exactly have a ton of experience with different orphanages, I have heard many horror stories about different orphanages. Based on what we experienced and what we know of this orphanage, the conditions are not terrible at all. The workers and director are very adamant about the children attending school each day and they thrive on routine.

Even us being there for a visit threw off their routine a bit and the workers were slightly hesitant about our presence there. Not to say we weren't welcome, we were! But they were particular about when we could do certain things such as distribute donations and snacks and such. I commend this because the children thrive on routine. It's a very important foundation, especially for these children.

{Girls Room--our girls sleep in that first bunk.}

Girls Sleeping Room

Our girls seem to be pretty numb to any kind of affection. From what I gathered, they are simply foreign to the concept. There is literally one person who cares for the children the majority of the time and that is the Maa of the orphanage. Twenty-six children to one caregiver.  There isn't much room for one-on-one connection let alone affection.

We also noticed there was a lack of affection among the people--at least in public. We never saw a husband and wife holding hands or hug. In fact, it was rare to even see a husband and wife together. 

Overall, the experience was positive and eye-opening. Though it wasn't what I expected, it is teaching me much--including how our emotions should not lead us. More on that tomorrow...

**If you would like to make a donation to help us bring our girls home, please visit here to see how you can help...

P.S. Thank you to everyone who has made a donation to help us bring the girls home! We will be going back in about 4 months or so to bring them home. We are still in need of funding to cover our travel costs.