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  • Writer's picturetarynfelder

My Extended Journey To Ghana

It's become somewhat of a tradition that my family takes me to airport before I depart for international trips. I was all smiles at Hartsfield since I had no idea my expected 16 hour itinerary would be extended to 30+ hours before I arrived in Ghana.

I arrived at JFK an hour behind schedule which is actually fantastic for a Friday evening flight from ATL to NY.  My connecting flight from JFK to Ghana was boarding when I arrived so I hustled a bit to reach my gate not knowing I would literally be sitting on the plane + at the gate for the next 13 hrs. The co-pilot’s window needed to be replaced [3.5 hrs] + passenger demanding to be let off plane right as we were departing and becoming combative with flight attendants [NY based crew so they handled him well] + passenger with history of anxiety having medical emergency from all the commotion [additional 2.5 hours on plane] + 5 hours at gate terminal after deplaning + 2 hours to reboard + takeoff = 30+ hour journey to Ghana.

This sounds like a nightmare of a journey, however after it was all said and done I grateful for it.  A few wonderful things resulted from all of this.  My friend Shavonn has a friend X [she really goes by X I’m not being secretive] that she’s been wanting to connect me with for awhile.  X and I knew we’d both be in Ghana at the same time, but hadn’t made an effort to connect.  She works for Google’s AI department, lives in SF, also flew to NY and was on my flight from JFK to Ghana.  We spent our 5 hours at the terminal bonding and geeking out from a conversation about qubits, her trip to Ghana with toastedlife, and my journey with CCS. I met half of the toasted life crew when we landed in Accra and I’ll be joining them on their escapades Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Here’s X, Tissanie and I at baggage claim in Accra laughing about all the craziness that happened on our flight.

Since I was going to be arriving in the middle of the night, and the drive to Ho was 3 hours from Accra I mentally prepared myself to stay in a hotel the night.  I was in constant communication with the CCS country director throughout the day and he told me not to worry they would be at the airport whenever I arrived. After arriving so late I didn’t think that would still be an option. Whelp, the toast life crew wasn’t going to allow me to spend anymore money out of pocket at a hotel [even though delta would reimburse me] so extended an offer for me to stay with them are their apartments in Accra for the night.  To my surprise, when I landed Mary from CCS was sitting faithfully waiting for me with a driver at 1 AM local time, even though they had been in Accra since 11 AM for my original arrival.  We made the drive thru multiple police checkpoints and I arrived at the home base in Accra at 4 AM. I can’t speak highly enough about CCS, I’ve experienced this level of commitment every country I’ve volunteered in.

The staff pushed all of my activities to late afternoon today so I could rest this AM, however I was still able to take a walking tour of the neighborhood, visit the campus of the Ho Technical University, receive a Ewe language lesson and construct a personalized agenda for this week. In addition to my work assignment at the Volta Region [teaching] hospital where I’ll spend time at the herbal dispensary, I’ll also visit Dr. Harry [photo below drawn by volunteer after visiting Dr. Harry], the "native" town doctor that specializes in herbal and energy medicine in the village of Kilkor, and the Akuapem center for plant based medicine research. Life Is Amazing.

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