Saturday, 21 February 2009

Final Blog (Dumfries - 11 - 21.2.09)

Hello there.
So I've arrived home 2 days ago.
Back to good old Dumfries & Galloway where it's cold...

Landing in Heathrow freaked me out a little... with the modern-ness, underground tube, sky scrapers, many, many white people... (I'm so used to Black People now.)
When i got to my sister's flat, she had a fridge, a microwave, a cooker, a TV, a DVD Prayer, a laptop, warm shower!, toilet that flushes! ....I felt like I came back from The Stone Age or something....

Anyway, it was nice to come home. I live in middle of nowhere so I'm taking in the country side before I can return to the civilization (Dumfries Town Centre!). I just went for a walk with my dog. It was cold but it was quiet and pleasent. I feel like I belong in Scotland. I forgot how much I missed it.

So, my plans now is to sort out my photos and have an exhibition...
Sign on.... Get a Job...
Being in Ghana made me think about my life, my future and my dreams. I realized that music is one thing I cannot live without. I had this thought of me being 30 years old, regretting that I didn't even try to make it. So this year, I'm going to play in a band and do what I love doing, playing and recording music. I'm not wanting to become a multi-million selling stadium rock star or anything like that. I hate all that anyway. My music is quite obscure and it's only catered for the eclectic tastes. If i can just play gigs and release at least 1 CD, that would be my dream come true. Anything after that is up to fate.

So..... Ghana was a life changing experience.
The best thing I have ever done.
10 weeks flew by quickly, and slowly at the same time.
Thank you so much for reading my blogs. I appreciate it.

jamie x

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Ghana Authorities, Dead People & "Don't fall in Love". (Ghana - 10 - 15th Feb 2009.)

Hello everyone, I'm in Accra just now.

The last few days was seriously fucked up.
I apologise for my inappropriate use of the english language, but by the end of this blog, you'd understand why.

I'm going through mixed emotions... I feel home sick, but at the same time I don't want to leave Ghana.
I nearly got arrested on wednesday because we (or josh in my group) upset the villege elders in the villege next door. I still strongly disagree with the whole thing and I did nothing wrong...

On friday night, I saw many dead bodies lying on the road side when we drove by a big traffic accident. The bus inconviniently stopped, so we got the full close range view of the unfortunate. That seriously freaked me out. Seen the faces of the dead was the thing that put me off the most. All this was happening to us while 23 people simply die right in front of us, like people come and go from our planet on a covert belt in a manufacturing factory, whats suitable for dispatching and what's getting binned. I'm not religious, but sometimes I wonder what God is trying to tell us...

This trip has been an eye opener for me....
Getting rushed to the hospital, seen the difference between the rich and the poor, seeing poverty, seeing corruption in social aspects, many other fucked up things and ignoring the first advice I got: "Don't fall in love". Why do I fall for someone at the wrong place at the wrong time. I distracted myself from doing good to Ghana.... What I'm I doing?

I'm sure I'm a bigger person & more mature.
I feel I have a better understanding of the world and the humanity.
I have met so many amazing people from around the world.
I have met so many amazing Ghanaians.
I would never forget them.

When we left the villege, a boy called Ben, whose family cooked for us, cried as if he'd never see us again. That moment will always be projected in my mind on repeat.

Few weeks ago, I went to someone's house were they had a fridge, a cooker, a TV and a DVD player. That serioulsy freaked me out, like I came out of the stone age!

Anyway, we are flying home tonight. 10 weeks, 70 days, 1680 hours...
This was undoubtably the toughest thing I have ever done and it's all coming to an end.
Jamie, give yourself a pat in the back.

I'll write another blog when I get back to conclude my trip.

so... when can I come back here???

jamie x

Sunday, 8 February 2009

2nd Last Blog. (Ghana - 9 - 8th February 2009)

Hello everyone!
Sorry I haven't had any chance to write any blogs in the past few weeks.

So... my remain time in Ghana is quickly ticking away.
I will fly home on the 17th February. So I want to enjoy next week as much as possible...

I have to say one thing. In the previous blogs, I mentioned names of people in the group, positively and negatively. I feel bad for talking about them behind their backs, but at the same time I need to be trouthful to my self in reporting back my experiences.
This will be the 2nd last blog in Ghana. If I can, I will write another blog next week, and then a final blog when I get back to Scotland. Internet is hard to come by around these neck of woods....

2 weeks ago, me & Jo (girl from London) went to Kumasi (2nd biggest city) together. The rest all went to Accra to get wasted and sunbathe and all that jazz. We were more interesting in exploring the country and see cultural things. We took a overnight bus from Kpando to Kumasi. It took us 10 hours. I sat in the back seat, tight and no legroom. Nice.
We arrived there around 8am and went to check in to our hostel.
Kumasi is the 2nd biggest city in Ghana. But it looked far more bussier than Accra.
Soon after, we went to the Kumasi Fort, where the British Army used to occupy. There was a military museum inside.
To my surprise, the room was full of Guns, Rifles & missles seized from the Japanese Army.
Yes, Ghanaian soliders (British Army) fought against the japanese during the 2nd world war. Bet you didn't know that. Neither did I. There was also a Japanese flag full of signatures. This really creeped me out as I remember hearing my granpa fighting against the british in southeast asia...

Anyway, spend the rest of the time chilling out and eating. The longer you stay in Ghana, you get used to the con-artists. Few guys tried to rip us off. If we tell them we're not interested in buying anything, they tell us we decieved them and lied to them. And they wouldn't leave us alone. Bastards. They talk shite as well. They often talk about paying the school fees, then change the story to paying for the kids.

The next morning, we went to the kumasi market, the biggest market in west africa. The place was huge. Shops everywhere you see. I was the only white person in the area (Jo is asian). It feels weird being the only white person. It made me think about the foreigners in the UK and how they get treated. Despite the size of the market, no body bothered us.
Then we decided to just go home. But the transport system on sundays are little complicated. But the first tro tro bus, yes, the first bus we checked out was our bus!
So we got on the bus and went home... End of the Kumasi adventure.

So we stayed in the catholic school for 2 and a half weeks. At first I found the place weird, but soon fell in love with it. I formed a choir with 20 students (where I just played the guitar in the backgroud) and taught them to sing "Blowin' in the wind" by Bob Dylan. I taught in total 16 hours in 1 week, classes after classes. Teaching them 1 line at a time. Very slow, but they all learnt the song quickly. I organized them into groups, bass, alto, soprano & mezzo soprano (by request of 1 girl!). They all loved the song and they sung it well. They even suggested harmonies. We had to perform the song to the whole school during our last mass. I taught them to stand up straight, line up, follow my hand signals and be aware. Just to look professional.
They sung it note perfect. They sung it in african style. It was amazing. Afterwards, Sister Cicillia thank me in front of the whole school for being the first person to bring music to school. I felt a little emotional...
So we spent the last day hanging out with the students and exchanging addresses etc.
Me, Stanley the physics teacher and 2 people in my group climbed a hill next door to the school.
The previous week, the whole hill was on fire. Some Ghanaians love to start Bush fires, everywhere! So they can get rid of the grass, or to catch some animals. They don't have to burn the whole place. But they do. It's illigal. They don't care. Surprisingly, nobody died. But it happens everyweek, nobody cares about fires.
The whole hill was covered in ash. It was horrible...
The following morning, we left the school at 5am to go to the cape coast. It was so sad leaving the students. I don't know why, but I got so close to them. They were like my brothers and sisters. I got them all to write notes for me. Most of them remembered all the little things I did for them. Many called me the Virgin Mary (I can't be bothered explaining...).

Last weeked, all of us headed to the cape coast.
Elmina castle is the oldest european building outside europe dating back to 1400's.
Cape Coast Castle is where the slave trade started. The tour was intence. I can't imagine how the british treated the black people. I can't believe anyone would do such evil...

Anyway, my time on internet is running out so I better go.
10 days till home.
jamie x