Introduction to Accra

Hey family!

Sorry I'm taking so long to respond! It's not that I'm not thinking of you guys, but the pace is sooo much slower here and it takes a long time for anything to get done....plus the fact that the internet isn't reliable and the power went out yesterday, it's hard for me to write very often. But I will write when I can, don't worry!

The registration process is long and exhausting, b/c I have to walk to each department and see what classes they have and what times they're at. And At least one my my geography classes has changed times on me, and rooms are still being assigned in some cases, so there's a lot of back and forth. I have to take 6 courses here, which should be alright. They're only 2 hrs each week. I'm taking some geographies, sociologies, and maybe some African dance or something fun like that. Classes technically have started, but I haven't been to any yet since I'm still working on my schedule. So I'll let you know what I'm taking as soon as I know! Campus is beautiful---the buildings are all white with red tile roofs. I'm not sure what the classrooms are like yet, but I hear that I need to get to class early because the seats fill up! There are beautiful tropical trees and flowers everywhere, it's pretty cool. We don't have that in Canada!

I went to this huge market to do some shopping, which was crazy. People grab your arm to get you to look at and buy their stuff. And there's people and garbage everywhere. I'm getting used to their public transportation system, it's fun. There's drainage/sewage ditches everywhere that you constantly have to watch out for when you walk so you don't fall in. They really smell sometimes, which is understandable when you remember that it's open sewage. The water (ie showers and sinks) goes out on a regular basis, so you really just have to learn to shower when you can. It's not so bad when you realize that everyone is having the same experience. I went to the ocean last Wednesday, and we're going back this week. It was beautiful! A lot of the beaches aren't clean I hear, but this one that we went to is part of a hotel so it's nice. Hopefully I can go swimming soon! I haven't been to the ocean in a long time I've realized.

The food here is pretty good, it's really spicy sometimes, which takes some getting used to. I miss milk though. And hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches. The coolest thing though is the drinks---it's cheaper to buy orange drinks or water in plastic bags than in bottles, and it's soo much fun. I can get 500 mL of water in a bag for 300 cedi, which is like 5 cents. I rip off a small piece of a corner with my teeth, then suck the water out. It's great.

The other exchange students are really fun. We all went out as this huge group the other night, and it was great. I'm closest with Cathrine and Gunther, from North Carolina, and Ben, from Pennsylvania. I met them the first night, so we've hung out the most. But people are still arriving and so I'm trying to meet more people. Ben has been in Ghana all summer teaching near Cape Coast, so he knows more of the language and is teaching us some. It's fun. I can say Welcome (Akwaaba) and Thank you (Madasi---not sure of the spelling on that one). I should know lots more by next summer! I'm having a great time. I haven't got my roommate yet. They'll probably be moving in later this week.

So that's it for now! I haven't taken a lot of pictures yet, but I'll send you some once I can figure out how to send them (and after I take more!). And I'm getting a cell phone sometime in the next little while, so that you guys can call me. Everyone here has them, and they're available pretty reasonably apparently. Does that sound ok to you? Will you be able to use the calling card to call me on the cell phone?

Love, Mel xoxo