Friday, July 27, 2012

Resolving to Relax

This past year has been one of my busier years, with school, crew and other daily things. When summer arrived I though, "Great, now i can work out whenever i want". Then i realized i could but i didn't really want to. I felt lazy if i didn't do anything all day though and sometimes guilty , " I used to be so fit", i would think. Now i realize that i was wrong. At least for the summer, it's okay to realx for a little. Not to say I'll never workout but i won't worry about it as much as long as theres not a break of 2 days or longer it's all good. Part of fitness for me has always been to keep it fun, which i can't do if i'm forcing myself to do it. The point of the post is: We all need to relax a little every now and then. This upcoming school year is defintiely going to be super busy so for now i'll enjoy my free time. Until next time (With pictures, i promise) -Katie

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back in Ghana and Getting a Routine

I arrived back in Ghana on Sunday and have been trying to get familiar with the area since then. My last few days in Burkina Fasso were great. I went to a sort of zoo on day and then we went to a park and had a mini safari. We even saw some wild elephants! It so nice to finally be somewhere i can call home. Right now I'm working on having a healthy morning routine. I don't do as much running as i used to and i really wanted to i probably could, but right now i'm content running a few laps around the embassy. My Goal For before i return to school is six laps which should be roughly 3 miles or a little under. Then i do some circuits. This is followed by breakfast :) Yum. So far the rest of my day has been spent on the computer or on other random tasks and organizing my room a little. One more thing in my really short post. Today i forced myself to watch Earthlings , a documentary on the horrid things that occur to animals we call pets, food and cloths, and this has led me to make a decision. Already a vegetarian, i felt a little better watching the horrid slaughter scenes (as okay as one can feel while watching that, granted i still cried my eyes out). I took a pledge to be vegan for one month and then hopefully forever. This video has some pretty gruesome scenes so you may want to be careful but if you want to understand what REALLY happens, you can watch the film online here That's all for today. I'll be sure to update with something a little more interesting tommorow.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Visit to Bazoule

On Tuesday, i met my guide at 9 A.M and we left for Bazoule to go see a lake with sacred crocodiles I was never told why they were sacred, but they were huge. We arrived and got a guide who took us to see the tortoises. Next we went along a pat that would take us to the lake of sacred crocodiles. We passed one that was supposedly over 100 years old along the way and then stopped at a small area where there was pictures that depicted general information about crocodiles, such as what they eat and what eats them. Then we came to a little bay area where i was told i could sit on the crocodile. i was a little skeptical because she looked big enough to bite off a few limbs if she waned, but i was assured that she was rather old ad used to it, so i did what anyone would do and sat on top of the croc. From here we went to another little beach which had even more crocodiles. They used some live baby chickens t attract even more ( i was a little disturbed by this because I'm an animal lover, but they've got to eat) and soon we were swarmed with crocodiles. Unlike the tourists who eyed the approaching crocodiles uneasily, the guides seemed unfazed by all of this. We got the opportunity to not only sit on another crocodile but to also shake it's hand and lift it's tail. The guides gave me little choice so , hesitantly, i approached the crocodile and did so. Their skin turned out to be softer than i thought it would be! Next we went to see a little monkey named Bubu. This was my favorite part of the trip. The sad part was that she was chained to a tree, however she did a have a large range to move around because the chain could also attach to a wire that allowed her to explore a bit more. The guide tried to coax her down with apples which worked but she didn't want to get any closer. I offered her my banana and that worked perfectly. The tour culminated at a few artisan huts where i looked at work by the locals. I saw a beautiful cloth painting of a Baobab , but didnt buy it because i wanted to be able to pay my guide :/ . All in all it was a great trip and i greatly recommend visiting Bazoule if you're ever in Burkina Fasso. Until Next Time -Katie

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Burkina Fasso continued

I left off at my my newfound friend's father's stall. Inside were an array of copper statues wooden figurines, masks and jewelry. He picked up an instrument that looked like half a sphere withe metal prongs attached on four pieces of metal that form a box. In the middle there was a little hole. It works by pressing down on the little metal prong to make sounds that somatic resemble a marimba. I decided to buy this and a nice carved mask as gifts for people. I spent most of my money on this despite bargaining because i felt that it was understandable after the man had helped me get there. Next i was ushered into another man's stall to look. I informed them all that i had no money and then i left ( i was becoming a little overwhelmed by all the people) after getting some directions from the man who had helped me get there. Of course, i was only half paying attention and he was speaking in rapid french so i proceeded down the street and then stopped and decided i was lost. i asked two young boys if they knew how to get to a little circle with a big metal globe statue in the middle called Place des Nations Unies. They didn't but some other people passing by did and it was arranged that one of them would escort me there ( Burkinaube's are very nice people as you can tell). We had a broken conversation in french about basic things such as our ages and whether or not we went to school. He was carrying a cart which he later filled with jugs of something. Along the way we were joined by two other men. I think at first they were concerned but then they realized iw as in no harm. One insisted that i come look at his shop. i said i had to meet some friends at La Place des Nations Unies (safety precautions felt necessary at that point because it felt like i was ignoring all he others) Eventually , after i promised i would come back Friday he left. The other man stayed. I'm pretty sure i confused all of them,, but eventually the realized i wasn't french, Spanish or any other form of European and i told them i was American. Anyone else who has recently traveled overseas (including my friend Cameron who is currently in a State Department Program in China see here blog here ) may not be surprised that they're first response was that of " Obama, il est bonne non?". I assure them that Obama was good and then we realized that we'd been heading the wrong way so we turned around. Eventually we made it so i could see the globe and i began to try to get rid of them because i'd always been warned not to tell people where you lived. I managed to get rid of my original helper by thanking hima nd offering the few coins i had left. The second one ended up with my phone number a water bottle and made it all the way to the hotel. It was around 1P.M by the time i ot back to the hotel and i decided that was enough out tme for that day. Basically i did little exercise, read a lot and then went for a very short walk and eventually went out to dinner at a place run by nun's. We were there pretty late and even got to here the nuns sing Ave Maria, which was beautiful. That was all for that day. My next post should have photos of the crocodiles i saw at Les Crocodiles Sacres de Bazoule Until Then Katie

Burkin Fasso

I left for Burkina Faso on the plane at 12 A.M and we arrived around 1 P.M. Looking down and the wet, crowded landscape my first reaction was not of shock at it's battered state, but of excited to go explore it. The currency here is CFA and the exchange means 5,000 CFA = 10$. On Monday i had a free day because it was expected i would crash from jet lag but luckily for me i don't get jet lagged :). I started the day out by going to a guide my mother had hired on her last trip, who graciously led me to La Boulangerie (the bread store) where i bought some croissants and a pain au chocolat (chocolate filled bread. As you can see i'm being incredibly healthy :) ) I don't know if its the fact that they specialize in delicious bread or that the people are super friendly but i adore boulangeries. It's a good thing i had him to guide me because crossing the street can be a little harrowing. Of course there's no official cross walks and there a few stop lights ( which im not sure of their purpose), so your best bet is to look both ways and walk as fast as you can across, whilst avoiding cars and the wildly popular motorcycles that crowd the roads. Next i Decided to travel to Le Grande Marche ( The Market place) to check it out. I thought it woudl be fairly straightforward, and technically it was. The hardest part was crossing the streets. On the way there i met a nice man who had grown up near Nazingue, who helped me get to the market because he waas going there any ways to see his father's stall. He told me he had 17!! siblings back home and that he was an artisan. The market was huge and bustling with activity. Every couple stalls someone would call out Ca va or bonjour and try to get to me to come look at their stall. My friend was very helpful in making sure i didnt got into each of these stalls. Of course i went to check out his father's stall because i felt that i owed him a thanks for escorting me. Thats all i have time for now but i'll continue my story when i return. Thanks for reading -Katie

Saturday, July 14, 2012

First Day In Ghana

After 15 or so hours on a plane and many more in airports i finally arrived in Accra around 7 P.M So far I haven't seen much else except for my compound (which has a lovely swimming pool) and my house. The house i spacious and great as has been my experience with all government housing overseas. Tomorrow i leave at 9 A.M for Burkina Fasso until next Sunday. So i won't have much of a chance to explore until then. I'll try to keep you guys posted on Burkina Faso though. I'm hoping to practice my french there. I got to do a little on he flight because the stewardess assumed i was french and offered me food with french (which i politely declines using the least words possible). Anyways I'm off to bed soon. I'll write more later. -Katie

Friday, July 13, 2012

First Post

Hey, My name is Katie. Today i leave for Accra, Ghana, where i will be living for a few years. I created this blog to record my adventures in Ghana and anywhere else i travel. I've lived in Central America before, but I've never left the America's and I'm very excited to go to Ghana this afternoon ( i even get to stopover in Germany, if only for a few hours). This blog should include some recipes and photos as well. I enjoy cooking, sketching, traveling, and the great outdoors. That's all for now but expect posts about Accra coming soon.