Friday of dead week spring quarter, which was June 3, was the date of our last pre-Ghana group meeting. We all met at Leslie’s house and ate some food, had some Twi skits performed, and discussed some final details and logistics. As we were leaving, we said to each other “See you in Ghana!” It felt surreal that we were all actually on the verge of going to Ghana in just a few short weeks.
So a few weeks later, we embarked on our flights to Ghana. I was on the first flight that arrived to Ghana from our cohort. On June 25, I arrived at approximately 9:00 am in Accra, along with Rachel, Emma S., Emma H., Caitlin, and Professor Chavez. We were the first ones to the house. For a few hours, it was just us. Eventually by the end of the day, we had all arrived and were settled in to our house. As each group arrived, we were there to greet them and say “Awkwaaba!” (“welcome” in Twi) to our friends from UO.
Now, six weeks later, it’s the opposite situation. I am on one of the last flights to leave Ghana out of our group. Half of the group left on August 6, and then quite a few more left the next day. Now, on the evening of August 7, there are only three of us left in the house – me, Andie, and Derek. It’s an even more surreal feeling than the one I had at that June 3 meeting. Now instead of saying “See you in Ghana!” I was saying “See you in Oregon!” While the flights getting here all arrived on the same day, the departures are more staggered. By the time I go to the Accra Airport on the morning of August 8, a lot of people are already going to be home.
The house, which is so big, feels so empty now. After living with 15 people for over a month, it feels so weirdly quiet with only 3 of us here. Even though I know I will see everyone again soon, I feel sad now being here without them. Sitting in the common area where we congregated most of the time feels different. When we first arrived, we had no attachment to it. It was just a room upstairs with some furniture. But over the course of six weeks, we had so many good times in that room.
The table in the common area is no longer filled with food, silverware, napkins, laptops, laptop chargers, water bottles, beer bottles, first aid kits, lotion, bug spray, sunscreen, and any other assortment of random items that we all had on there at any given time. It is now clean, with nothing on it. The circle of couches and chairs, which almost always had several people sitting in them, now only contains a few people. The laughter, conversation, and hip hop/R&B music that could often be heard is gone. The only sound really present now is the humming of the fans.
It now looks like how it looked when we first got here and none of our stuff was scattered around. But it feels different. I have many memories of this room now. The games of mafia and charades we played, the jokes we made, the deep conversations we had, the beers we drank, the food we ate, the couches we all fell asleep on from time to time – and now that most of the people associated with those memories are gone, I’m sad. It doesn’t feel the same without them here. I’m happy that we made so many good memories, but I am ready to go home.