Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Gang's All Here.

By Grace Hermanns

From the first day we arrived, to our last night of song and dance, I have grown incredibly close to these people I now call some of my best friends. We arrived in a hurried state, jet lagged and just ready to crash. But that first night we sat by the illuminated pool and I looked around, trying to see if I could remember anyone's name from orientation. I knew Michelle from high school, Aly from enduring our awful flights together, and Ben. Because Ben is pretty and I liked to look at him.

If I had known on that first night all of the things we'd come to endure as a group, I would have been horrified. From rats falling from the sky, to malaria, to pigs on a beach, to being groped at the beach... how could I have known that even with all of the setbacks, that I would still have the best experience, and that was all due to my colleagues. 

At the very least, it was amusing to hear all of the awkward and shocking moments each one of us encountered. 

Together, we made 3 hour dinners fun. Together, we fumbled our way through a traditional Ghanaian dance. Together, we power walked through the street hagglers. Together, we tried to figure out if his name was Manuel or Emmanuel. Together, we still don't really know what Fufu is.

Our group is as dynamic as it is dysfunctional. In our first group debriefing, we all had so much to say that we talked over each other and got on each other's nerves. On the six hour bus ride to Cape Coast, Kerry and I bonded over vomiting, me out the window, her into a plastic bag that had a hole in it. On one of the first nights we explored Osu, Ben showed us the "stomp and hip roll" move he has perfected to a tee. 

Morgan missed her weave, Josh missed Chipotle, and Allegra missed Chris. But now, after this experience has come to a close, I miss them all.

Ghana has showed me that you can take 19 very outspoken and passionate people, put them on a bus that leaks water from the ceiling, and turn them into best friends. Being back in Athens, Ohio isn't quite the same now. I can't just walk down to the lobby to hang out with the people who are soaking up some WiFi. We can't hail a taxi to go to Pinocchio, although Allegra would probably take a taxi to get there from Ohio if she could. And we can't flounder our way through Ghana anymore, laughing at the ridiculous things that we had come to expect to happen. 

The reason our trip was successful, in my opinion, was all due to the group of students that were selected. We made the best of every situation. We tried things out of our comfort zone. We supported and encouraged each other.  

I will certainly miss Ghana and all the wonderful Ghanaians I met there. But now we each hold a little bit of Ghana inside us, and it's not complete until we're all together. Thanks for the memories, guys. In the words of Spongebob, "the gang's all here."

The gang on New Years Eve at the Movenpick Hotel. Photo by Carley Berman.

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