Nothing very exciting to report. The weather hasn't been the best (in terms of clear skies) due to the Harmattan winds. The only reason I learned this term is because one of our Ghana guide books felt it important to tell me that weather isn't great in Ghana from December to February. Winds blow sand from the Sahara into West Africa, and from my extensive research on Wikipedia, I have learned that the fog, low visibility, and lack of sun is known as the Harmattan haze.
Despite the lack of sun and general ability to see, Vlad and I decided to spend a few days at Butre beach in the Western Region of the country. We pretty much sat in the same chairs for two days watching waves, eating, reading, and swimming. Yesterday's trip home turned out to go quite smoothly despite thinking we would have to leave Butre by walking one hour to Busua with our backpacks after the man in the "tourist office" told us there was no tro tro to Agona on Sunday. Luckily, he told us he could find a driver in town, and we ended up paying the man to drive us in the town's tro tro to Agona on his day off. After that, things went pretty smoothly, except for when Vlad broke the window on one of the tro tros (no one noticed) and then found out, 30 minutes after ordering, that the restaurant we stopped at didn't have the meal he wanted.
Like usual, the kids are good. I keep forgetting to write about this, but we are changing the name of the orphanage to meet social welfare standards, and about a week ago chose to name it United Hearts Children Center. Because of the stigma associated with the words "orphanage" and "home," social welfare does not allow these to be in a name. We also decided to no longer have a name which implied religious affiliation, because the orphanage itself is not a religiously based institution and we don't want to present ourselves as one. Currently, the challenge is figuring out how to refer to it without using the word "orphanage," which appears to be the biggest obstacle yet.
Lastly, we have started fundraising for our newest project! We are going to build a community school that will serve all children, regardless of ability to pay. Despite public school in Ghana costing a small amount, the costs add up quickly when you factor in uniforms, books, supplies, and food, and ends up being around 15 times more than the actual year's tuition. United Hearts Community School will be able to provide for the children whose families cannot afford to send them to public school, while also enrolling students from families who do have the money. Check it out: United Hearts Community School!
I hope everyone is staying warm!