September 28, 2010

the Beach: where fresh and salty collide

Since I can remember, the beach has been a place of splendor for me; whether it is hunting for seashells, floating under the stars, breaking the waves or just sitting and admiring.

I often find that I am unexpectedly led to the beach here in Ghana.
The first night we were all together, we stayed at the Afia Hotel on the beach. We went out for a night swim. The sea was calm and inviting and I seemed to lose myself in it. It was spectacular- I swam and swam and swam under the waves. I could’ve gone all night. Unfortunately, I did not communicate very well with my new found friends and house mates my love of the sea and one of them got alarmed and went to report it to the front desk. Luckily, I had returned right at this time… but I think this may have sparked one of my household nicknames. Ariel.

Labade Beach -
common hangout for both locals and tourists alike

View from CapeCoast hotel room
Other notable beach highlights thus far:
* Dancing under the blazing moon at Reggae night. One love <3

Emily enjoying our little piece of paradise
A couple weekends ago we went to Ada. It was gorgeous. We stayed at the Maranatha Estuary Beach Club, which was delightful. We took a little boat ride to get there; it was a moment I hope never to forget. I was overwhelmed with how beautiful it was. We were staying very near to where the Volta Lake opens up into the Atlantic Ocean. Our hut sat atop a peninsula – we ate good food, kicked back and took a stroll down the beach. That night I drifted to sleep listening to the sound of the waves and breathing in the wonderful fresh air.  It was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months.

local boy pulling a Jesus - walking on water
where we stayed in Ada
PS My house mates are my saviors – adios cockroaches!

September 21, 2010

Kakum National Park

I was so ecstatic to be immersed in an African rain forest. This was such a wonderful highlight for me! In the image below I am walking on a 40 meter high canopy walkway. That’s right, 40 meters above the ground, aka 120 feet! The walkway was 350 meters long and suspended by 7 trees.
I was blown away – or at least I wish I could’ve been!  
I wanted so badly to pull a Tarzan and spend days exploring the layers of the rain forest.

George, one of our coordinators, got a kick out of jumping on the bridge. This upset some people who were behind us… but all in all, everyone had a good laugh at it.

Oh, there will be more journeys into these jungles.
Over and out.

Now: 20 donors, $985
Goal: 50 donors, $4000
10 more days to give!

September 20, 2010

The Last Bath - Assin Manso

We visited the location where slaves were taken to be bathed and checked for fitness in the 18th and 19th century.  By car, it lies approximately one hour north of Cape Coast.  I wonder how long it would take by foot. 

We discarded our shoes and walked the path, trying to envision the miles they had already traveled (tens or hundreds or more?).

What a paradox; water, which is the gift of life, was also a grave for so many.

September 18, 2010

Cape Coast - Elmina

Labor Day weekend we went to Cape Coast.
The drive along the coast was so beautiful and I was flooded with delight.

Cape Coast was positioned in the midst of the maritime trade routes and was the heart of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was the capital of Britain’s Gold Coast colony. The ownership of this town, like Ghana, and like many colonies, traded hands many a times. First the Portuguese, then the Swedes, the Danes, the Dutch, and at last the British. Cape Coast was a fishing town hundreds of years ago and it is again today. Its greatest tourist attraction are the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles. We went to the Elmina Castle, which is the oldest European building in Africa. It is the largest and best-preserved building of its type in West Africa.

I looked out this window and tried to imagine the state of mind of the millions of slaves that had stayed in this structure over hundreds of years…

This was probably the first time they had seen the ocean. To me, the ocean is a beautiful thing that can take you anywhere and everywhere. To them, the ocean was a terrible thing that could take them anywhere. They were leaving their families, their culture, and their dreams. They were entering a terrifying unknown.

September 8, 2010

Global Giving

The Ark Foundation is the NGO that I am fortunate enough to intern at for the four months I am in Ghana.

The philosophy of The Ark is two dimensional - 
the quest to be both proactive and reactive, to prevent and to cure, to attack the roots and at the same time to deal with the fruits. 

A society in which women and men are truly equal in all spheres and endeavors of life….
Mission Statement
The Ark strives to create empowering spaces for individuals to rise above gender inequality, violence and oppression. This is achieved through advocacy, training, public education and service delivery.

Main Office - where I work!
Registered in 1995, The Ark began to operate on a full-time basis in February 1999.
They run two main programs…
*Capacity Building and Advocacy Program
*Anti-Violence Program
Feel free to visit The Ark Foundation for more information.

The Ark provides the ONLY TEMPORARY SHELTER for women and children in Ghana and it's services and resources are very limited.

This project has to raise $4,000 from 50 donors by September 30, 11:59 PM EDT to earn a permanent spot on GlobalGiving.

Those who meet the goal set by GlobalGiving will be eligible to continue receiving donations from the general public, private and corporate foundations through and take advantage of GlobalGiving's fundraising tools and services.

The top three projects that raise the most funds will also receive supplementary cash bonuses from GlobalGiving of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 respectively. The project with the greatest number of unique donors will be awarded a bonus of $2,000.

what YOU can do:
1. Visit the web-site & get informed about the movement in West Africa that is working towards ending gender and sexual based violence
2. Donate money
3. Forward this e-mail/site to other individuals who are passionate about the cause.
PLEASE if you know anyone who is passionate about this cause, forward them the link to either my blog ...
Or the GlobalGiving site …

$20 can support a social worker per quarter to attend to 30 clients
$20 can support 15 pieces of public education materials
$30 can support a resource person's training session for the school of social work
$40 can support a medical Doctor to attend to 30 clients per quarter
$50 can support a client per quarter to engage in petty trading
$80 can support 30 clients for rehabilitation per year
$100 can support a Clinical Psychologist to attend to 30 clients per year
$100 will cater for the monitoring and evaluation of 10 clients per year

View from The Ark
--Gina’s Perspective--
It’s difficult for me to ask for individual’s to sacrifice something… but I believe that we are part of a community on the global scale and need to look out for each other. So, if you can, please give – through dedicating your time to educating yourself, or others, spreading wealth ((with every dollar spent you are voting on what you believe)), or contribute your invaluable creative ideas so that we can bring equality to every part of our Earth.

Medaase – Thank you

September 2, 2010

afloat in a sea of wisdom

I once had a friend who told me to . . .


I am trying my best to take advantage of as many of the opportunities that are presented to me.
An OPEN MIND and humility are invaluable.
I believe that this principle transcends time or place . . .

Whatever your state of mind . . .


be open-minded.

I find that the times that I admit "i don't know" or "you're right" allows for a wave of input.
( ( ( and if you want output -- just ASK ) ) )
There is so much knowledge and wisdom crossing paths in this universe -
lets share it!

In moments when I struggle with the the fact that I can't express my beliefs with a simple word or phrase

I remind myself...
I am vast, I contain multitudes
- Mr. Walt Whitman -

And really, we're all just people --> blood, energy, conscious