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7th June, 2007. 12:15 pm. Back from Africa.

Unfortunately, I did not have internet access as much as I thought I would. Once we left Accra, I was shocked at the change. In one country that's about the size of Indiana, the culture change from southern Ghana to northern Ghana was remarkable.
We went nights without electricity and/or water pressure. That meant no lights, no fan or air conditioning, and we took bucket baths.
Since I was not able to keep an online journal, I wrote in my composition notebook.
In southern Ghana, the people were predominately Christian, whereas in northern Ghana, they were mostly Muslim. Religion is so important to them, especially since many of them don't have much of anything else.
Ghana is a beautiful country. I never got bored looking out the window because there is so much scenery.
We went to through mountains, saw wild animals, visited a 600-year-old mosque, visited old slave markets and the slave castle dungeons, and we even chose a school for Indiana University to sponsor.
I learned so much. It was a wonderful experience and I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to take this trip.

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13th May, 2007. 3:00 pm. Ghana, Africa (days 2-3)

After net cafe on day 1:

We went to the W.E.B DuBois center. A retired Cornell University professor lead us around and told us about the life of W.E.B DuBois. My favorite part was seeing a book that Albert Einstein gave to DuBois. I had never seen his handwriting before, but that also told me a bit more about the type of company DuBois kept around.

While I decided to reduce some of my jet lag and go to bed around 10 pm, several other students went out to a club on Friday and Saturday night. From what I heard, the music was "world-wide." There was Ghanain, Techno, Reggaeton, & even Salsa music. Everyone seemed to have had a good time.

Day 2:

We had quite a few lectures about the history, geography, economy, etc. of Ghana and also went to the market to purchase souvenirs. A few students got EXTREMELY ripped off and I felt pretty bad, but I knew to bargain down at least one-third of what they were trying to get from us.

One of our lectures was by two individuals from the Agogo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I believe this one was everyone's favorite. It was not on the itinerery (sp?)... but we flew on the same plane as them and we caught their eye. They told us that they knew we were sent over here to represent the best of the best =] It was coincidence that we are staying in the same hotel. Anyway, they told us a bit about Ghanain culture... how all Ghanains value life, and how one must work to find inner peace with him/herself. A quote from one of the individuals which has become one of my favorites is, "An individual cannot grow at the expense of his/her community."
What I noticed about the culture here versus culture in America is that America is a very individualistic society, whereas here and in many other countries, the society is very collective.

Today:

We paid a visit to the Botanical Garden and drove through the mountains. It was BEAUTIFUL. Everyone was snapping pictures. I'll be sure to put a few up when I return home. We will be returning to the hotel after we finish up at the internet cafe and I'm not sure what we have in store for us tonight, but I'm hoping I'll get to try some "fufu"... haha, apparently, you haven't been to Africa until you've had some of it... not sure what it is exactly; however, when I find out, I'll let you know ;)

Take care and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

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11th May, 2007. 11:26 am. Ghana, Africa (The Real Day 1)

Okay, so our plane arrived in Accra around 7:15 AM. It is currently 11:30 and I already have a lot to say!

As soon as we stepped off the plane, we all knew that this trip would be amazing. The airport was very colorful (red, green, & yellow) and the people were extremely nice.

Most people were dressed nicely, and the women had on very colorful Kente cloth. All the girls on the trip decided that we would definitely have to buy one of those dresses before we left!

We all got onto a mini-bus. Several people were running up to us as we were on the way to our hotel. Some were making motions indicating that they wanted food, while others were trying to sell us ties, bracelets, flashlights, etc.

Accra is a very colorful city, and all the people in it always manage to keep a smile on their faces.

The hotel we're staying at is called Coconut Grove. We were offered breakfast as soon as we arrived. The pineapple was AMAZING. We were also offered mango, beans, cereal, toast and preserves, eggs (boiled and scrambled), as well as some type of a sausage dish (which I did not eat).

Accra is predominately Christian... as we move North, there will be more Muslims rather than Christians.

Anyway, time is running out-- I have 2 minutes left! I'm at a net cafe! Haha.. It was 50 cents for 25 minutes!

So yeah, I'm very excited and extremely overwhelmed.

I'll update whenever I get the chance!

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10th May, 2007. 4:01 am. Ghana, Africa- Day 1

Today I am going to start writing about my Overseas Study trip to Ghana. I have not left yet; however, I am sitting in a hotel in Indianapolis and I should be heading to the airport in the next 20 minutes.

As we will be travelling around the entire country, I will be noting the differences in culture, how I felt when I was in that area, and what I got out of the experience.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I will enjoy writing it!

Take care,
Amy Bastawros

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