Monday, July 6, 2009


OH MY GOSH! This was the best and worst day so far. Ups and downs~ 

I woke up early and went on a jog with Lyn, Tyler, Jordyn and Kate around Asylum Down. People were looking and waving and cheering us on. Most people will look at you but not smile...until you do and wave hello. Then a huge grin will spread across their face and they will say "hello, hi". Oh, and then we found out today that the reason we were taking such cold showers was because our hot water switch wasn't on. And here I thought it was this "typical foreign let's take cold showers" experience. No. 

Grey Memorial School is the school where we will be teaching our “bag of tricks”. We went this morning just to get acquainted with the headmistress and to take a small tour of the school. As we walked in there are kids in yellow uniforms (dresses for girls and shirts for boys) all over the open court yard. I think we hit it at recess. We walked down the hall and, through the barred or brick windows, we could see the kids looking up from their desks and waving. 

We looked in each of the eight classrooms that have agreed to let us teach and we got to choose "our class". Carlie and I chose classroom 4...roughly fourth grade. When we got to the end of the hall we were in front of the kindergarten class and that's when the mayhem began! We didn't really know if we could take pictures or not because we never want to be offensive, as if we are gawking at them, but holy cow...they LOVE cameras! I easily had 12-15 kids around me looking up and smiling to take a photo. I would take one and show them and there would be this pause...then AHHHH! I swear it's like they've never seen a camera before. They would try to take one and be holding it backward towards their face. Hilarious. 

What I thought was most humorous and fun was how three of the kids would grab my arm and rub it and just look at it... because I am WHITE. One little girl stuck by my left side and held my hand the whole time. She was adorable and the one who was rubbing my arm the most. Took me a second to figure it out. Haha!

Pure Joy

We left the school and had class for two hours. It will be good because we will have cultural experiences for assignments. So, so far the day has been wonderful right?! Just look at the faces. Now begins the trip from you know where. We all hopped in taxi cabs to head to the Teshi Orphanage, supposedly a 20 minute drive. About 5 minutes out we're flying down the freeway and suddenly hear this Psssss and I realize we just blew a tire. We ease over to the side and the man's like "don't worry, I fix it, don't worry".
We're thinking, oh well we knew one of these junkers was ganna break down sooner or later right? But another taxi stops and the man says we better go on without him so we hop in the new taxi. He says he has to get gas real quick around the corner if that's ok and we say sure. 5 miles later and down through the most random little, I don't even know, grass land/town area we stop at this tank. I don't THINK so! Looked like it was about 100 years old.
So we continue down the grasslands till we find an illegal looking pump with 10 men standing around the one pump, all watching it fill up. Carlie, Valerie and I sit quietly in the back seat as we wait our turn for the lone pump. Not gunna lie, Carlie turned to me and said, “Girls, I think we should make a plan for what we would do if it got dangerous.” We didn’t really feel nervous, but all the surroundings said we should have. Just before we took off again some guy popped his head in and started talking to us. He seemed friendly and actually made us laugh. His parting words were, looking quizzically at Carlie, “My sister (meaning me) is too white.Tell me why. (Turning to me) Are you German?” Awesome. We finally got back to the road and sat in traffic for an hour. Ugh. 

We drive through the most sketchy town where our driver pulls over at a corner and, pointing to the police station, drops us off promising the orphanage is right behind it like Lynley said. We get out of the car, dodge the traffic and realize we really don’t feel good about where we are. But how would we know? We’re just put in a taxi and told to find the Teshi Orphanage behind the Teshi police station. Nice. I grip my purse in my right hand and whisper to the girls “Pray Hard girls” as we b-line it to the gates. And to call it a police station is a huge stretch. Cinderblock building, graffiti, dirt road…it all fit in with the shanty little shacks, buildings once under construction now left desolate, hoards of people all carrying their objects to sell jumping over the puddles everywhere in the muddy streets. 
The man laughs as I ask if the orphanage is close. “You’re in Teshi Noir (black), you need Teshi.” That seemed a fitting name. He points to the direction we just came and I feel like crying. We turn around and my only goal is to find a taxi as soon as I can. I see a group of taxi cars across the street and head there. The people backed away from us until we found one young boy who said he would take us. He was so surprised we didn’t argue when he said it would be 5 cedi. “5 cedi?” “Yes, 5 cedi, yes.” It was so close it should have been 1 but we didn’t know and just wanted to be out of sight.

Back down the strange roads with people and goats darting through traffic to where we hoped was the Orphanage. We pass a van stuck in the mud potholes and I pray, again, we can just get there safe. Finally I see the green doors that say Teshi Orphanage across them. We pay Samuel his 5 cedi and I seriously said “I love you!” Unfortunately, as luck would have it, as I get out of the car I cut my leg on the car and show up angry, relieved, and bleeding. Lynley cleaned me up and we’re all hoping my tetanus shot really is up to date. But we got about 5 minutes with the kids, took one group photo,

then got right back into the taxi to head home. No joke, about 3 miles down the road the taxi I’m in pulls over and the driver got out. As soon as he lifted up his hood I said “That’s it! I’m cursed.” We got out and hailed the next taxi we saw, arriving home safe. Never again…until Wednesday when we go back~ 

The rest of the night has been pretty chill. We have our first day of teaching tomorrow AND our first day of A.I.D.S. research/teaching. Big day. We are bonding as a group and everyday I am happy I am here. Some of us had our first sick day and sadly took the medication we thought we might not need, but nothing serious. It is days like today that test your patience, and remind me that I really am in the Lord’s hand.  After all we saw and having been in some of the places we were, we came out safely on the other side.


  1. Wow, Anne Marie. What a beautiful day. Your life of "first experiences" is getting very very full of tender and sweet moments. Loved hearing your laugh on the video with those BEAUTiful children. Loved hearing their laughs, too. Those FACES. MMmmm. And, yeah...I guess that "five miles" turned in to be quite the little journey with a surprise ending...a simple tank. We have this set little 'vision' in our minds of something, and the "station" turns out to be a tank...takes ya back for just a moment, huh?

  2. Okay. Now I hear the full story. Dad and I thought your post ended abruptly yesterday, but did not realize that you had lost internet connection. We are grateful things turned out the way they did...and also to know you all were thinking ahead and at least trying to be aware off where you were. Lesson learned. Love you. Always in our prayers.

  3. Way to stick it out. I'm glad there were three of you together and that you weren't out past your curfew. I learned in Portugal that when my companion and I stood shoulder to shoulder the wild dogs on the streets wouldn't come as close--we probably looked five feet wide to them with our hands on our hips. Maybe scary people are scared off in the same way when you stand together.

  4. ANNIE!!! i love reading about your adventure and the video of those kids and you is adorable. i hope you are having the time of your life and enjoy it! i love you so much and can't wait to hear and read more about it!

  5. Anne Marie...I hope your director has everyone travel in the bus and not the taxi's from now on...bless your heart girl. You are in our prayers.