Day One: Someone to Watch Over Me by Valerie King

Our journey began at Logan airport with a fairly painless check in procedure at United Airlines. I was busy herding students to the desk with their passports and helping to tape up our 14 boxes for shipping.

Maura and I decided to upgrade for extrafiveinches of legroom.We wanted to see if it made a difference in our ability to sleep during the 10 hour flight from DC to Accra. At Logan, all the parents were hugging their children and there were a few tears. What a leap of faith these students and families take when they agree to go to Africa. I know what to expect but it will be interesting for me to see their shock and reaction to this new experience.

Once on board our long flight we tried to con the very nice flight attendant, Jeannette, to upgrade us to First Class. She could not do that but she was very respectful of our challenges and proceeded to give us some goodies usually reserved for first class. We had some mimosas, wine, special dessert, vanity pack and large bottled water for our journeys. With our extra leg room and special treatment it felt a bit special and a some pampering before our upcoming journey over dirt roads and hot temperatures. We had a nice United Airlines angel watching over us.

We stopped at a mall in Accra to purchase cell phones and some last minute bottles of wine and water (hmmmm I wonder which one we will like better after a long day!). One of the students said to me ‘Wow … this is not as bad as I thought it was going to be.’ I chuckled because I know there will be so many more shocks and adjustments yet to come. The students are all happy and excited so I am hopeful it will be a great trip for them.

We checked into a small hotel on the outskirts of Accra and I was pleasantly surprised to have clean rooms with air conditioning and wireless internet. As we were winding down for the night we heard some screaming and found out that we have other guests in the rooms (a few small lizards). What can we do? We are here and the lizards won’t kill them. I am looking forward to going to bed in a few minutes and catch up on some missed sleep.
Tomorrow will be a busy day.

Come back to hear more stories and check out the student blog that will have some entries soon.

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