Ghana- Day 2 / Heading to the Senase Village

Us, tourists, we are so ridiculous. We leave our “perfect” routine seeking something that can fulfill our mediocre lives.
Maybe, seeing misery up close is the only way we will open our hypocritical eyes filled with unfair and materialistic desires.
I feel ugly; ugly within my soul for realizing how horrible we are.
Not ugly on the outside, simply because I have not showered for the past 4 days, or because I caught myself peeing in a hole next to rats. These are not the things that disgust me – I disgust all of us, tourists, that easily come and easily go.
Feeling ugly on the inside is much worst; there is no such thing as make up or surgery to cover up so much ugliness. I am hoping generosity growing in our hearts will clean all of those messed up features we fool ourselves thinking it will make us look beautiful.

– By me, written on my journal on my way back to the ship

As I read my journal, I remembered all over again how my last days in Ghana made me feel. I wrote some stuff down, because I knew before I wrote on my blog, I wanted to make sure I was writing the right emotions.

I slept in a room with 17 people on a mattress on the floor.
The first thing that popped in my mind when I woke up was “Where am I?”
I actually woke up in the middle of the night and I remember praying. My journey in Africa did not even get started and I was already thanking God for that opportunity.
I still cannot believe I was in Africa. Saying that, it still doesn’t seem real.

We woke up, ate breakfast, which was bread with eggs, and headed to the Senase Village.
We met Frederick, he is Ghanaian and around our age. Three years ago,while he was getting out of school in town, he accidentally met with a few Semester at Sea students on the street asking for help to get around Ghana. The students, after hanging out with him, asked: ” Can you show us the “real” Ghana?”
Frederick, decided to take them to his village which is 11 hours away from town. The students were so shocked with the conditions the kids and the community from Senase lived and ended up helping the village.

Frederick, started a project called “The Senase Project” which students can see the “real” Ghana, by doing a homestay in his village, and helping out schools and the community.

I tend to think and analyze things too much, so throughout the drive I tried making myself busy. I bought some delicious bananas in the middle of the road and a lot of chocolate (Of course I had to try some chocolate.) The vendors are all of he street.
We stopped to eat lunch at a Ghanian cultural place, and I gotta say the food was AMAZING. I ate rice, chicken, salad and bananas the Ghanaian way. I don’t know how they cook their food, but it was so different and tasty.

While I was on the bus I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I knew I was going to see poverty, and I knew I was there because I wanted to help. But that was all I really knew.
When we first got to the village, I could not really believe my eyes. There were literally over 50 kids outside the bus, yelling and waving. They were treating us like they were our fans. I found out many of them never saw a white person before, or anyone that did not look African. I mean, they are 11 hours away from town, far from any tourist site, and do not have the means to just travel.

As I got off the bus, they all ran at me. I immediately wanted to cry. They were hugging me, touching my skin, and holding my hand.
We walked to Frederick’s house, and we had dinner, called Yam. The whole time we were there, we ate with our hands. It was dark when I first got there. They do not have electricity on the streets, but I could tell how poor the village looked. It also looked so dirty. Nevertheless, nobody seemed to care. The kids were still all over the place.

I met so many of them, but two of them marked my trip. Their names were Benys and Suse. I do not know how to spell their names, but a little girl was called Suse! She was so impressed meeting someone with the same name as her. Benys was 13 and Suse was 11, but she was already carrying her little sister on her back. They knew how to speak good enough English, so they asked me so many questions.
They were sitting on my lap, and touching my hair. They are not allowed to grow their hair until after high school. i looked from another planet to them, and still they received me with smiles and with no judgments.

It is true when they say a smile is the universal language.

After we ate and talked to all of the kids, they took us to the homes we were going to stay. We got split into different groups, and my group was a total of 4 of us. We had a decent room, although the bed was a lil broken. I was not even expecting a bed, so that was sweet.

Like I said, they do not have electricity, they do not have running water, so they do not have sanitation. I asked the lady where was the bathroom, and she took me to this little wooden house in the middle of the village, with three holes in it. She said I had to get in the little house, and squat on top of the hole.
Sorry once again if I am sounding too visual, but I also cannot emphasize the smell in there. As I got in, i saw rats running around. I immediately panicked, but did not want to make a scene, and look like a tourist.

As I was trying to concentrate, my thoughts were running like crazy. There it was, my first night in the village.

What bothered me the most, was not the fact that I was peeing in a hole next to rats in the dark. It was the fact that for me, that was all an experience; for them, that is their lives — or all they’ve ever known.

I went to sleep at night, thinking a lot about what I saw. I wasn’t even there for a day, and I was already so carried away. I did not even imagined what was waiting for me the next day.

Ghana – Dia 2 / Indo Para a Vila Senase

Nos, turistas, como somos ridículos. Saimos das nossas rotinas “perfeitas”, em busca de algo que nos preencha nessa vida medíocre.
Talvez, vendo a verdadeira miséria de perto, seja a única maneira de abrir nossos olhos hipócritas de desejos desiguais e materialistas.
Me sinto feia; feia na minha alma, por ter me dado conta de como somos horríveis.
Nao feia por fora simplesmente pelo fato de nao ter tomado banho nos ultimos 4 dias, ou por ter feito xixi em um buraco repleto de ratos. Nao sao esses motivos que me dao nojo – Nojo que sinto e de nos, turistas, que facilmente chegamos, e facilmente vamos embora.
Se sentir feia por dentro e muito pior; nao existe maquiagem e nem cirurgia que cubra tanta feiura. Eu espero que crescendo generosidade no coração de todos, limpe esses traços exoticos que nos enganam, achando que estamos lindos.

– Escrito por mim, no meu diário enquanto voltava ao navio.

Enquanto lia o meu jornal, eu lembrei de novo de como eu me senti nos meus dias em Ghana. Eu escrevi porque eu sabia que antes de escrever algo no meu blog, eu queria ter certeza que estava escrevendo as emoções verdadeiras.

Dormi em um quarto com 17 pessoas em um colchão no chão. A primeira coisa que veio na minha cabeça quando eu acordei, foi “Aonde estou?”
Eu na verdade, acordei de madrugada, e comecei a rezar. Nao sei se estava com medo, mas a minha jornada na Africa nao tinha nem começado, e eu ja estava agradecendo a Deus por essa oportunidade.
Ainda nao acredito que estamos na Africa. Ainda dizendo isso, nao me parece real.

Acordamos, tomamos o cafe da manha, que foi ovos com pão, e fomos a Vila Senase.
Conhecemos um rapaz chamado Frederick. Ele e um Ghanian e da nossa idade. Três anos atras, Frederick enquanto saia do colégio, acidentalmente encontrou uns estudantes do Semestre do Mar, que pediam ajuda para onde ir em Ghana. Os estudantes depois de terem conversado com ele, perguntaram, “Voce pode me mostrar a ‘verdadeira’ Ghana?”
Frederick entao, decidiu leva-los a sua vila, que e 11 horas da cidade. Os estudantes quando chegaram la, se chocaram com a maneira que as crianças e a comunidade viviam em Senase, e acabaram ajudando a vila nos dias que ficaram por la.

Frederick entao, comecou o projeto chamado “O Projeto Senase” que da oportunidade a os estudantes conhecer a “verdadeira” Ghana por morar na villa e viver como eles, e ajudar as escolas e a comunidade.

Eu sempre penso e analiso as coisas demais, entao no caminho ate la tentei deixar a minha mente ocupada. Comprei umas bananas maravilhosas, e muito chocolate (claro que eu iria experimentar o chocolate.) Os vendedores estão sempre rodando por todas as partes.
Paramos para almoçar em um centro cultural da Ghana, e tenho que dizer que a comida estava MARAVILHOSA. Eu comi arroz, frango, salada e banana estilo Ghanaian. Nao sei como eles cozinham a comida deles, mas era bem diferente e tinha muito sabor.

Enquanto estava no ónibus, nao tinha ideia do que esperar. Eu sabia que eu ia ver pobreza, e sabia que eu estava ali naquele momento porque eu queria, e porque eu queria ajudar. Mas eram as únicas coisas que sabia.
Assim que chegamos na vila, eu nao acreditei nos meus olhos. Tinha literalmente mais de 50 crianças, gritando e dando tchau. Eles estavam nos tratando como se fossem nossos fans. Descobri que muito deles nunca viram uma pessoa branca, ou qualquer pessoa que nao pareça Africana. Eles moram 11 horas da cidade, longe de qualquer lugar turístico e sem dinheiro para viajar.

Quando sai do onibus, todos correram ate nos. Eles me abraçavam, tocavam a minha pele, e apertavam a minha mao. Imediatamente fiquei com vontade de chorar.
Caminhamos ate a casa de Frederick, e comemos algo que se chamava Yam. Comemos com as nossas maos todo o tempo que moramos la.
Estava escuro quando chegamos, eles nao tem eletricidade nas ruas, mas deu para ver o quanto a vila e pobre e suja. Mesmo asssim, ninguem parecia se importar. As crianças corriam por todas as partes.

Eu conheci tanto deles, mas duas meninas marcaram a minha viagem. Os seus nomes eram Benys e Suse. Nao sei como se escreve o nome delas, mas tinha uma menininha com o meu nome! Ela estava muito impressionada por ter conhecido alguem com o mesmo nome que o dela. Benys tem 13 e Suse 11, mas ja carregava a sua irmanzinha nas costas. Eles sabiam falar ingles suficiente, e me fizeram mil perguntas.
Elas estavam sentadas no meu colo e tocavam o meu cabelo. As mulheres nao podem crescer o cabelo, so depois do colegial.
Eu parecia que era de outro planeta, mas mesmo assim, eles me trataram com risos e sem julgamentos.

E verdade quando dizem que a língua universal e o sorriso.

Depois que comemos e falamos com todas as crianças, nos levaram para a casa onde iamos morar. Nos dividiram em grupos, e o meu eramos 4. Tinhamos um quarto decente comparado com outros lugares da vila. Tinhamos uma cama, apesar dela estar quebrada. Eu nao estava esperando uma cama, entao foi otimo.

Como disse, eles nao tem eletricidade, nao tem agua potável, muito menos sanitation. Eu perguntei a moca onde ficava o banheiro, e ela me levou para uma casinha de madeira no meio da vila, com 3 buracos dentro. Ela mandou eu entrar na casa, e me agaixar em cima de um dos buracos.
Perdão se mais uma vez estou sendo meio visual, mas eu nao posso nem descrever o cheiro que tinha la dentro. Quando entrei, vi ratos correndo. Eu imediatamente entrei em pânico, mas nao queria fazer um drama, pos nao queria parecer uma turista.

Estava tentando me concentrar e tinha mil pensamentos correndo na minha mente. Ali estava, a minha primeira noite na vila.

O que me incomodou, nao foi o fato de ter que fazer xixi em um buraco com ratos no escuro do lado de um lixao. O fato era que para mim, aquilo tudo era uma experiência; para eles, aquilo sao suas vidas.

Foi dormir a noite, refletindo muito sobre o que vi. Nao tinha nem um dia que estava na vila, e ja estava emocionada. Nem imaginava o que me esperava no dia seguinte.

Categories: Ghana | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Ghana- Day 2 / Heading to the Senase Village

  1. James Gonser

    Suse, you are learning a lot on this incredible trip. And your personal writing style is really great. I feel like I’m there with you and understand what you are going through. The photos really help as well. You are doing three really important things; traveling, learning and helping others. Keep it up and thank you.

  2. Nani

    Ai, amiga! Foi um dos posts que eu mais me emocionei. Preciso saber de tudo com detalhes, to com saudade. te aaaaaamooooooooooooo

  3. Igor Alexandre Vilas Bôas Simões

    Prima, eu amo muito vc e me orgulho cada vez mais da pessoa incrível que vc é. Tô morrendo de saudades bjs

  4. Rose Sampaio

    Obrigada por dividir essa experiencia, as palavras escritas nao podem

    descrever tamanha emocao, mas voce conseguiu passar o suficiente
    para nos fazer pensar, refletir, comparar, aprender e mudar.
    I love you!

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