Illova Blog #3: Touring Ghana
Oct. 4, 2012
Senior women's tennis player Tatianna Illova is studying abroad in Ghana, Africa for the Fall 2012 semester, and will be blogging to share her experiences during her time over there. Tune in for updates over the next few months to see what she has to share.
Being a student-athlete at NC State for three years and then coming to Ghana as an exchange student is very different for me. I have so much more free time than ever before. Since I was six years old, I have been playing tennis so I was always busy with school and my sport. Going to class and having all those hours I usually spent in practice free is very different. I had to find some activities in order to enjoy my life here in Ghana little more.
They have set up times for cross country, soccer, volleyball, handball and swimming, and people can come any day and join for free. Me and few of my “obroni” friends have been attending cross country almost every morning at 5:30. Last Saturday, we also had a race. It was us and the “obroni” team from our International Student Hostel (ISH) against other dorm halls at the university. We ran six miles which included two huge hills. It was tough, but we did great! We came in second place, which happened for the first time in ISH history! We were very happy because we barely got six girls, which was the minimum. Also, I have been swimming every other day with two of my friends. The university has very nice big outdoor pool with warm water, which is heated by the sun. It is the only time when I can feel warmer water on my body since showers are cold.
A few of my friends and I go on trips. We have gone to a beach which was very beautiful. We drove six hours there on Ghanaian roads, which is not much fun. After almost getting arrested for not brake light that wasn’t working (which actually was working), we made it there and it was totally worth it. There was an awesome beach with no people around. It felt like we landed on a lost island. Our first day on the beach, I got pretty sunburned. Although, I was using sunscreen, I am on malaria medication, which makes my skin very sensitive to sun.
This picture shows the only way I could stay at the beach the next day.
Soccer is very big in Ghana and people love playing and watching it. There was a Ghana vs. Malawi game going on so we decided to go. It was a great experience for me. Before the game all the “obronies” were so excited, buying Ghanaian flags, and made things with Ghanaian colors. There were TV’s and cameras everywhere recording us buying all their things, and also after the game, many of us were interviewed by radio reporters.
Also, I have visited other places such as Canopy Walk, the Cape Coast Festival, slave castles, and a Lberian refugee camp. This coming weekend we are going on a trip to Kumasi. We will visit local wood carving places and Kente weaving villages, as well as the biggest market in West Africa.