Monday, February 22, 2010

Sisterhood of the Traveling Toilet Paper

After a week of good food, mommy-daughter slumber parties, and medical mishaps, I finally had to say bye to my mom on Thursday night. Luckily, I had no time to get homesick because I left promptly at 5:45 am the next morning with five of my girlfriends to Green Turtle Lodge, an eco-lodge about 6 hours away.

From magically finding six seats on a sold out bus, to getting the last two tents available, it seemed as though karma was balancing the scale after a week of somewhat horrible luck. This weekend was exactly what I needed to revamp. I was getting a little overwhelmed by all the smoke and exhaust polluting Accra and a camping trip under the stars, on a beautiful sandy beach at an environmentally friendly lodge was exactly the medicine I needed. Plus they had really good french toast!

We had so many adorable Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants moments this weekend. Between star gazing for shooting stars with our heads in a circle, sleeping on the beach till it rained at 3 am, and playing sober truth or dare, it was basically the best slumber party I've ever been to!

While at Green Turtle we got to go on a canoe ride through the river that runs along the local village. After convincing Emmanuel, our tour guide and the captain of our ship, to sing to us in TWI and asking him many strange questions I somehow found out that he loved to draw. Apparently, he really would like to be an artist but has no formal training whatsoever. When I told him that I also do a lot of art he got really excited and asked me if I could teach him how to mix colors. I gladly obliged, and spent the afternoon teaching him about the color wheel, 3-D vs 2-D, different mediums.... When I go back I'm going to bring my watercolors and oil pastels so he can try something other than drawing!

Talking to him really made me appreciate everything I've been blessed with. Being here has already made me realize how lucky I am to have even the simplest things, like water and power on a consistent basis, but I never really think about how lucky I am to have art supplies and an education system that, even with all of the budget cuts, still provides an artistic outlet to children. I couldn't even imagine my childhood without crayons/markers/finger paint/play-dough/charcoal... and I definitely can't imagine my adult life without art supplies. Being here has really helped me put a lot in perspective. Obviously acrylic paint is not a necessity, but it really does make me happy, as do hot showers, air conditioning and tofu. Being here has taught me that I can live without many things that we in America consider necessity, but that doesn't mean that I have to go back and continue to take bucket showers and not be able to flush the toilet for days, it just means that I have to be more appreciative and realize that the majority of the world can't even comprehend the kind of life Americans lead.

Moreover, my actions make a negative impact on the entire planet, so I should be more cognizant of how much energy I'm using and be aware of my carbon footprint, because everyone is being affected by climate change, but one country (my country) is disproportionately causing much of the problem due to our lavish lifestyle. So now that I know I can live my life with a severely smaller amount of water and energy I should work to cut down my personal expenditure.

And now I'll stop myself before I get too carried away about climate change, although I probably already have!


  1. Aw, sounds like you had a great time with your mom! And the eco-lodge sounds really cool—I've been wanting to go to a place like that called the hostel in the forest in Georgia—it has tree houses! Maybe next year for spring break or something.
    Also, it's always good to put things into perspective and appreciate all that we have. Although I am definitely not very far removed from the American lifestyle, I have been thinking way more about that stuff lately.
    Love ya!

  2. oh and the whole point of me commenting was to say that it's so great that you got to teach someone a skill you have! you are wonderful!

  3. Tree houses!!!! We have to go!!! I miss you!!!!