The beginnings.

by racheliliadis

Still in the air, the group anxiously awaited the arrival into Liberia. After about 11 hours, we finally landed in Accra, Ghana for a two hour layover in order to refuel. The stop was much needed as many of the group members took the opportunity to stand up, walk around and even get some fresh air.

But the real trip didn’t seem to begin until we found ourselves standing in the customs line. The air was hot and muggy. The room was crowded, filled with people who were speaking foreign dialects. But even halfway across the world, we were reminded how small the world is. After making small talk with the security guard in line, we discovered he used to live minutes from 12Stone and went to Gwinnett Tech. It really is a small world.

Walking through the doors from customs to baggage claim was pure mayhem. The Liberian Airport is small due to destruction from the previous civil war. The room was crowded with people waiting around one carousel for their bags. We made our way through the tight crowd, keeping a watchful eye on our personal belongings, and discovered that all of our bags made it!

After leaving the baggage area, we loaded up the cars and started the drive out to our temporary home. It wasn’t until the drive that people started to realize that we weren’t in America anymore. We suddenly felt like millionaires, taken back by children playing in the dirt, roaming without parents. Women were sitting outside fixing other women’s hair. Men were cleaning their motorcycles. Street vendors were attempting to sell fabric and produce. This world was much different than our own. Thirty minutes later, we arrived at the compound.

The compound is beautiful. We have lovely accommodations that include warm meals, cool showers and cozy beds. After the long trek from America to Africa, we are going to sleep exhausted, yet thankful. The journey has just begun.