Yesterday we had our first pre-trip meeting to get through preliminary info about going to Ghana Africa. Wow!
Curry, from Signs of Hope International (SOHI), his assistant Heidi, Derek (Alex’s Dad), Aaron, Robi (my sister Rebecca’s husband) and I were all there. The only Signing Time Foundation team members missing were Alex and Leah, they were in school.
(I’m taking the picture)
Left to Right around the table: Heidi, Curry, Robi, Aaron, Derek
We went over so much information! But here is a quick rundown:
The guys can wear shorts and t-shirts, the girls need to wear dresses or skirts with t-shirts.
Shorts should be long.
Wear open shoes or sandals, but not too open. Think Crocs.. ooh maybe I could get Crocs to donate!
Do not bring too many different pairs of shoes, shirts or pants… or bring a number of shirts that are identical. The children only have one outfit and are very distracted by people showing up in numerous outfits with all kinds of shoes.
Most anything you bring will come back orange (from the red dirt)
Do not bring shoes with a soft or material insole. You will be walking in mold after 3-4 days.
Do not bring jeans or anything that will take a long time to dry.
If you are bringing something for the children, you had better bring it for all 250 of them.
Do not pay more than 12 or 13 cents for a loaf of bread. They will try to get you to pay up to 30 cents when they realize you are an American. (FYI I could drop 12 cents in a parking lot and never think twice!) But OK!
The children will come up and press on your skin to see it turn whiter and then back to normal. Their skin doesn’t do this, so it’s quite novel. They will pet the hair on your arms and if you have hairy legs (especially women) they run their hands on it and say “It’s SO beautiful!!!”
Girls wear small earrings. All of the children have their heads pretty much shaved because of lice. So the only way to tell the girls from boys is by their earrings. When an American girl is not wearing earrings, they get such a kick out of it “Are you a boy?” They tease. My husband Aaron always wears tiny silver hoops… so we will see what teasing HE gets! Heidi is guessing it might make Aaron the most popular guy there…
I am sure he would be, but then they told us this:
NEVER use your left hand to wave, shake hands, eat… basically just don’t use your left hand or you will offend everyone. There is only one thing your left hand is used for and it is offensive to use it for anything else. For example SOHI had a group who volunteered for more than 2 months. Their final day some of the volunteers waved good-bye with both hands in the air. Curry later received a letter letting him know how offended the headmaster and teachers were. Just to make it fun I would like to mention that my husband Aaron is a lefty. This should be interesting.
Oh and if you are walking down the road and a large black man comes out of the forest with a large machete and holds onto your arm, don’t worry! They just like to make sure you are getting, wherever it is you are going, safely. Ok, sure, uh-huh, I’ll try and convince Alex and Leah not to run and scream. Just throw all stranger danger training out the window!
Now you probably want to donate just to see what happens!!