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A New Beginning

The emotion was totally foreign. A new assortment of neurological sensations flooded my body as I left the last person I knew behind in the airport terminal. I walked on wobbly feet straight into a new world. Everything felt so different as if everywhere was my new home, the beginning of my own independent investigations of foreign places and unique opportunities. My mother cried. I almost did too. It was the only thing left to do.

The passing strangers were now my best friends. I placed my Peace Corps acceptance folder face up on my lap hoping it would attract some attention, as if it were a conversational doorbell I wanted anybody to come up and ring. I wondered if there was a person around who felt as I did. These were my first steps in a grand adventure I could neither anticipate nor fully comprehend.

***

The sun bows silently behind the seaís salted horizons. The scene from the coke bottle window of the airplane made me feel as if I was looking out the window of a space ship hovering over a liquid garden. It was my first time flying over the Atlantic and I was taken aback by itís massiveness. This trip was real.

***

I landed in Ghana early morning; I remember the feeling as the plane descended towards the airport. I could not believe that I was actually witnessing something this exotic! To think that yesterday I was in the urban, over-industrialized clutches of New York and now I was in Africa!! I remember anticipating wild animals running through the fields, around which we were now landing, nothing of the sort appeared of course. Actually everything was quite normal; our ideas of Africa are really misinformed. But the feeling that I was riding on was almost imaginary, beyond anything I had ever experienced before.

***

Only a day had past. I was one day old in Ghana and already so much had happened, I was still in awe of the transformations that had happened overnight. I remember going running that first day through the streets of Accra (the capital city). I was on the opposite end of a vast number of stares, laughs and indecipherable native slander! It is hard to relate the foreignness I felt. Everything was odd. The feel and smell of the air, facial expressions, the way people walked, the way they dressed, their gestures, a world I never knew existed was performing in front of my eyes.