August 18th, 2011
Going to Ghana comes with some inevitable tradeoffs. Unfortunately, I won’t get to spend a ton of time with some of my friends before they head off to college. I traveled to Ghana from the middle of July to the middle of August, so I also missed out on getting a job. Nobody wants to hire anyone who is only going to be there for two weeks at the beginning of summer and two weeks at the end.
So why did we pick those dates?
It came down to a few reasons:
- Weather: In Ghana, it can be only one of two seasons: rainy or dry . There are two rainy seasons in the south of the country, one that lasts from May to mid-July and one that lasts from mid-August to October. We arrived just as the first rainy season is ending, making for a dry but comfortable temperature. And we left with perfect timing, just as the next rainy season was starting up.
Weather for Accra (Ho, where I stayed, is pretty similar)
- Birthday (July 4th): I missed being home for my birthday last year because I was on a trip to Alaska. Though my friends on the trip made it a pretty unforgettable birthday, it’s always nice to be home. I’ll get to wake up in my own bed and hang out with my family for the day. And of course, you can’t forget the fireworks. I’ll get to watch the fireworks bonanza going off on the barge right near the end my block. Ghanaians don’t celebrate American Independence Day, and they even have a ban on fireworks. There’s no way I was going to miss the best part of my birthday.
- Buffer: It’s nice to have a little time to rest after the hard grind of school comes to a halt. I gave myself two weeks to sleep in, hang out with friends, and just generally relax before the big trip. In addition, it’s not nice to have to go straight back to school right after coming back from a trip either. It feels like summer has just started, and then school is back in session. Splitting the difference, we came up with a (roughly) two week buffer on either side. I think it will work pretty well.
For all the tradeoffs, in the end I have to realize, I got to go on a trip to Ghana, so you can’t beat that crazy excitement. I can hang out at home all year; summer is the time to go exploring while I can.