Today is our last day in Ghana. It is definitely bittersweet. I have been sleeping so well the past few days in the volunteer house. It was raining all morning, I guess we have officially entered the rainy season. I had made plans to meet up with my friend Ryan, who has moved to Accra to help with his dad’s business. I was very excited to meet up with him and to learn more about what he does as well as share our exciting stories from the past month. So the four of us caught a cab after getting covered in mud and soaked from the rain. It took a really long time to get there because of the rain and the bad pot holes. We were all shocked as we walked into the mall… It was like a normal North American mall. It had grocery stores, it had a Walmart type store, and it had a bunch of stores that we have back home like Birkenstocks, Puma, and Sony. To go from Eguafo, where the only food you could buy was bread and eggs, to a full grocery store that had every single food item you could think of, was weird to experience. The mall also had a movie theater and a food court. We looked around the mall, but we all didn’t have any money to spend. We were really just there to look around and to check out how different it was from Eguafo. We went into one store that had the most expensive furniture items, one chair was selling for 500 Ghana Cedis. It was so weird to go from people asking us for 10 peseways (10 cents) to people spending 500 cedis on a chair.
We went to the food court and split some fries. It was exciting to have fries and to have salt and ketchup again! We were waiting to hear from Ryan about when he would be arriving at the mall. After we ate, Ryan called and said he was here. We went to meet him but I hadn’t seen him in so long, that I totally forgot what he looked like! He found me and ran up to me to give me a big hug. He was eager to find out about every experience we had and what we thought about our time here. He offered to take us all out for lunch, which was so nice. He drove to a really nice restaurant and said we could order whatever we wanted. We all got chicken swarmas that had fries in them. We also got juice, which was the first time we have had juice in a month! At lunch we talked about everything. We asked him about some questions we have had and he asked us about our volunteer experience. We all learned so much. Ryan had graduated from Humber but moved to Accra to help with his dad’s business. His father owns a very successful company that sells pool stuff, toilets, doors etc. It is like a home depot in Ghana. Ryan was only supposed to be here for a few months, but he decided to extend his stay to help out his dad more. After the most delicious lunch I have had in a month, Ryan drove us to his dad’s office. His dad wanted to meet with us to also talk about our month here in Ghana. Ryan was telling us about how crazy the driving was (as we had already experienced), and said you have to be very aggressive or you won’t get anywhere.
We arrived at the office and Ryan introduced us to people that work at the company. Ryan is very, very busy and works super hard at his job. We then waited to see his dad (they call him the director). When he was done with a client we went into the father’s office. It was like he was a mayor or something very important. He office was massive. It had 3 couches and a huge flatscreen TV. In the back was a step that led up to a massive desk. We spoke about our experience, but he was sad to hear that we were leaving later that night. He said that next time we come, we can stay with them and he will show us around. Their family is one of the nicest family I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Ashley had asked about houses and what their layouts look like. Mr. Frempong said that he would show us a house. We did not realize that it was their new house that he was showing us. It was MASSIVE, the biggest house I have ever seen. As you walk in their was a pool to the left, a fountain to the right. There was a guest house that was so big, and had a family room and a gym. The backyard had 2 big doghouses, as well, they are planning on getting different animals to live there. The house was unbelievable. It was still being built but Mr. Frempong showed us around and told us what would be where. The most impressive and coolest part was in the master bedroom there was a huge balcony, on the balcony, there was going to be a pool. He said if we come back we can stay in their house anytime. I would love love love to see it when it is done, it was absolutely beautiful. After viewing the house, we went back to the office, and Mr. Fremong had his personal driver (no big deal) to drive us back to the volunteer house. Eric at IVHQ volunteer house explained the directions to the driver and we were on our way.
It was getting pretty late, and we had to leave for the airport at 6:30. The traffic was very bad getting home and we started to panic that we wouldn’t make it, but we ended up arriving just before 6. Elyse and Michele were also panicking because they didn’t think we would make it back in time. We had already packed everything up, thankfully, so just had a few last minute things to do. We ate dinner quickly, and met some of the new volunteers that had just arrived that afternoon. Most of them were from America and were really excited to have been arriving. We shared some of our stories, and one of the girls was going to Eguafo, we were all so jealous! After finishing eating, the cabs arrived. We got all our stuff into the cabs and were on our way. It also took a while to get to the airport as the traffic was very bad. We made it through customs and had some time to kill and some Ghana Cedis to spend. We had our last Fan Ice and I bought a few last minutes Ghana souvenirs and snacks. After an hour of waiting, our flight started to board. Our time in Ghana was done. We were on our way to Amsterdam for our layover.
While on the airplane, we all had time to reflect about our past month. Today was so different from anything else we had experienced. The division of wealth was so apparent, and Ryan also explained that in Ghana, you are either super super wealthy, or you have very little money. There doesn’t seem to be any middle class. When people think of Ghana, they always think of the villages, like Eguafo, in which people have little money. But there is a completely other side to Ghana, in which the people are very wealthy and many areas are developed. It was a really cool way to end our trip, by seeing the other sides of things. It was also so nice to meet a friend across the world and to share our experiences.
This was one of the hardest and best month of my entire life. It is a time that I will never ever forget. It has changed me. It is just amazing to think about how happy the people in Eguafo were even though they had little money. They saying “Money can’t buy you happiness” really was shown to be true over the past month. It was such an amazing opportunity and I am so thankful that I was able to go on this journey. I totally would love to come back to Ghana; it is such a beautiful country, with some of the happiest and nicest people. Thank-you Ghana for the best time of my life. I will never forget the people, the kids, Eguafo, and the stories that truly made an impact on my life…