Going to Ghana was a life changing experience. Being able to sail on the same path of my ancestors who were starved to death, tortured, treated inhuman and jumped/thrown overboard was an emotional time but an honor. For the first time in my life I was not a minority and it was liberating. Being surrounded by my sistas and brothas is a feeling I will never forget. On my first day I received my Ghanaian name Abena (Ah-beh-nah), meaning I was born on a Tuesday. Within the four days of being there I learned so much more about my history than my whole 20 years of living. I was so welcomed in Ghana and everyone let me know I was home. I made some connections both professionally and personally. I’m extremely grateful to be able to have this experience in particular because it has taught me so much and shown how little I knew. Forwards Always, Backwards Never. #BlackIsPower
While in Ghana I had a field class where we visited a more Urban hospital and a rural one as well. But for the most part I hung out with Locals who showed me around the town and taught me the history and stories about certain landmarks. I Loved it there! It was such a cultural experience I will cherish forever.
As of today i have been at Semester at Sea for 10 days now. Within these past 10 days, I have experienced and learned so much then I have my whole 20 years of living. There are students from all over the United States and the World. I’ve met people (students and staculty) from India, Jordan, Pakistan, Uganda, Ghana, China and Vietnam. Meeting these people I have learned about their culture first hand from their personal lives which has been enriching. The gentleman from India showed me his brothers’ wedding and Hindu weddings makes American’s weddings look like a joke. Life on sea is a unique one, you literally never know what you’re going to get or see. On day three, I experience a minor case of sea sickness which is no joke. I could feel the ship rocking and riding every wave we encountered. Although the water can be rocky it is extremely beautiful. The way the sun hits the waters during the day and watching the sunset at night is so gorgeous. The food here is delicious and we have meals from different cultures such as jerk chicken, paella, Mediterranean Sea chicken, Vegetable glass noodle soup, etc. (It’s buffet too!). So far I’ve seen whales, mountains and Morocco for the first time in my life.
Our first port was Barcelona, Spain and it was GORGEOUS! During my experience in Barcelona I experienced the beach for the first time at the Mediterranean Sea! One of the media staff wrote about my experience and posted it on the Semester at Sea story! In Barcelona I had a field program at the facility called CRAM. At CRAM I learned about how dangerous pollution to the marine life and all to us as humans. Fun Fact, it is expected by 2050 there will be more plastic in the water than fish. My next port was in Valencia, Spain. It was a less tourist experience and more cultural experience. In Valencia I went to the beach and got in the water and road the waves. After the beach I went to a restaurant called Tampas and had the Valencia Paella. In the Paella it was chicken, rabbit, snail, green beans and rice. Although I didn’t eat the snail, I ate everything else and it was tasty. While talking to locals, I learned about a different view of tourism. Tourism is major income for most locals and countries in general but for the locals its becoming a disturbance to their sense of community. I thought it was interesting because I never thought about it in that light and made me become more aware of the type of tourist I am. Semester at Sea has brought me so many life lessons, new beginnings and so many memories I cannot wait to see what’s next for me.
P.S. I brought my stuffed animal Raffael and everybody loves him he even made an appearance on our embarktation video!
As of today, I have been in Hamburg, Germany for a day now. The journey here was long and tiring. I drove from St. Louis to Kansas City which was a four-hour drive then the flight in total was twelve hours, so sixteen hours in total of traveling. Luckily, I traveled with a fellow student from the university, so it made the trip just a little bit better. I had a 2 hour and 40 minutes lay over in Iceland where I received my first stamp! Once in Germany, we decided to take the cheaper route and take the train and walk to the hotel. The walk was a bit more than what I expected but 360 euros over 20 euros made it worth it. Oh, and did I forget to mention the hotel doesn’t have air conditioning (thank God its cool around here) so we use a more natural air approach. Down the street is a strip filled with food and shopping stores. Yesterday, I had my first Germany meal it was like a beef wrap and it was delicious. I did a little exploring since I’ve been here but not much.
Today, my travel buddy and I walked to the ship to see where we need to go and see MV Odyssey in person. The ship is GIGANTIC! Like it was everything I could imagine and much more. Seeing the ship made the journey to get to this point worth it. To see my progression of setting a goal, achieving the goal and soon living it was such a beautiful feeling and I’m so proud of myself. Seeing my new home (for the next four months) let me know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I am so ready for this life changing journey! I cannot wait to see the world, explore different cultures, eat exotic foods, take pictures and meet so many people. This will be challenge being away from my love ones, but it will be worth it. I board the ship Sunday September 9, 2018 at 10:00a.m.