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Mark Ahrens

Trotro on Repeat

Sign for the orphanage outside Winneba

May 31, 2013

We got up at the normal 7:30 time and did breakfast again. This time I didn’t eat as much, and no chocolate cake either. A number of other folks got a stomach issue over the last 24 hours, so I shared some of the Shaklee stuff I brought along. It seemed to help as everyone had a good lunch later.

After breakfast, we headed to the school to pick up the supplies for the orphanage. It was about a 45 minute drive there, through and around to the east of Winneba. When we finally got there, it was another surprise. It looked a bit like a compound, however most large places do here. When we pulled up, we found a number of well kept buildings, a courtyard and overall cleanliness. We unloaded everything, did the presentation like we did at the clinic, then helped unpack it some. We then got to see one of the classrooms there, as they have their own school. It was a group of first graders, and they had just finished making musical instruments, so they played us a song. We then sat down and took a picture with them, only to start singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” with them. It was a pretty special moment.

We then went back to the school for the presentation of school supplies to the classrooms. It seemed a bit odd because we had been there all week, but it worked out just fine. We gave some pencils, pens and notebooks out, depending on the age group. We then presented the headmistress with a collection of supplies for the teachers as well. It was kind of sad knowing that was the last time we would be at the school.

It was then onto the seamstress, who had gotten some of the shirts and dresses done. There was a little bit of alteration to the dresses, but the shirts for Pastor Barrie and Scott were not so great. We quickly discovered that the shirts for the men were tailored for Ghanian men. The plan then was to head back to the market and get some new cloth to have them quickly get new shirts made.

Before going to the market, we did lunch. We had red red again, this time with the actual coloring, fish served on the side of the beans, along with the fried plantains. I am pretty sure this was my favorite meal of the trip, so far.

We then headed back to the market in Swedru. It had been cloudy all morning, but now the sun was coming out. The sun mixed with the wet ground from all the rain and the humidity increased to a sweltering level. When this had happened previously, we had been fortunate enough to either have a breeze or driving in the van at some speed. In Swedru, we were in stop and go traffic and without moving air, it was easily the warmest I had been on the trip. We finally got there and I ended up with quite a bit of fabric to bring back for Rebekah.

We had also parked in the parking lot for the market instead of by the currency exchange. In the parking lot was a trotro, a van that offers a taxi-like service between the larger towns. A couple things about the trotros. First, they don’t leave until the van is full, so if you need to be getting somewhere quick, you might be disappointed. Second, they have the destination of the trotro blasting out of the van speakers on constant repeat. This meant that as we walked around, there was the constant sound of Accra repeated over and over again.

Kwesi's schoolroom

Kwesi's schoolroom

On the way back to Winneba to see the seamstress, we made a short stop to see the elementary school where Kwesi went. It was cool to see Kwesi recognizing some of the landmarks from when he was a kid, even seeing the classroom where he sat.

We then took the fabric back to the seamstress, at which time Carl and my shirts were done. They looked amazing, way more than I was expecting. I also lucked into Scott’s original shirt that didn’t fit him, but did fit me perfectly, so I ended up with two tailored shirts from Ghana. Then it was back to the hotel, and nearly time for dinner. I am expecting more fun tonight with half a cake to go tonight.