Saturday, February 03, 2007

I just got back to Accra from the HIV/AIDS bike ride in the upper Volta Region. It was incredible and I am SO glad I did it. It may turn out to be the most meaningful experience in Ghana.

I chose to do the intermediate route on the bike ride - the East route. I was being bold when I signed up because I am not much for bicycling. The route was beautiful and we went to some villages that have no access to cars - only footpaths that are big enough for bikes or motorcycles. These villages were wonderful because they were really excited to have us there and they didn't know that much about HIV/AIDS.

The overall group on the bike ride were a little over 40 Ghanaians and about 20 PCV's. We split into four groups (two on the main road, one intermediate and one hard group). Our group was wonderful and had fantastic people in it. We got along great and had a good time. Ghanaians have a great sense of humor (they can easily laugh at themselves or others) and the people in our group were excited to teach. We had one woman with us that came with a PCV from Upper East and she was great. Laade (the woman) was so excited to be teaching other women about their choices, mainly concerning condoms (we talk about male and female condoms).

I feel so invigorated now that I completed this. Our group presented to around 4000 people and rode (estimated at) around 80 miles or so. At the end we had a naming ceremony to give everyone names. Mine turned out to be Best Falling Woman (that'll tell you how good I am on a bike). It wasn't because I fell that much but every time my bike wobbled I would squel. Some of the others were Trouble Man, Puncture Master, Best Condom Driver, Condom Man, Short Man-Big Spirit, Confusion Man, etc. We were all laughing so hard.

There were some really fun moments and I took some good pictures. I will try to post them soon.

On our first or second day we started our presentation and within a few minutes people were screaming and running away from us. Apparently there was a house fire so the whole community ran to put it out. It was extinguished before we even realized what was happening and we continued. In one of the churches we slepted in I woke up in the middle of the night because there were bats in the room. Stephanie - another PCV- was next to me on her mat and we were both so scared. The next day we joked that we both wanted to curl up and hug the other - I HATE bats!

Bathing was sometimes complicated with so many people and few buckets and places to bathe. After a couple nights three of us girl PCV's decided we would carry a bucket to the bush and bathe away from the room we were staying in. This is no problem for the Ghanaians but our white bodies glow. We found a place but the bush is pretty sparse. We felt confident no one could see. All of a sudden we see a flashlight. We all stop to see if they are coming toward us. The person wasn't. A minute or so later, we see it again and this time they are walking towards us. We all start to panic but one girl, Emily, yells "Gee na ho" (phoenetically-meaning stop there). Stephanie and I are laughing hysterically, crouched down trying to cover ourselves (my two-yard was a little ways away from me). Emily is standing there, covered with her two yard yelling "who goes there?," "Gee na ho!" Finally the person realized what was going on and went a different direction but it was hilarious. We laughed about it for days and did not shower in the bush again.

The Super Bowl is tonight and I may watch it. I'm thinking about heading to Cape Coast and tomorrow to site. Most PCV's are going to try to watch it somewhere. Thank goodness for satellite TV :)

Hope every one is doing well. Hopefull I'll post pictures soon. I'll post something to tell every one when I do. Take care!

Okay - it's Monday morning and I did not get to see the Superbowl. The place has satellite TV but were missing some parts - so I guess they don't have satellite TV. Anyway - I have seen the score and am very happy about it. Only wish I could have enjoyed some buffalo wings and the game. Next year...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

bats and bathing in bushes!! you are not the girl i thought you were!!! =) i love you!!

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, that comment was from me. i'm such a dork....

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a woman! It sounds like you are doing well. I can't wait to see the pictures.

Take care,


12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, it is me Liz....I wish I was there with you! What an experience! I am so jealous. When you get back it is picture/catch up time! I miss you!

10:32 AM  

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