Today is Intentional

This all started from signing up for and completing the 2011 Death Race in Pittsfield, Vermont. During the 48 hour race I encountered 3 mountains, 1 river 120 some odd logs to split, 5 gallon pales of water, 100lb back packs and way more mud and freezing water than any human should ever be exposed to.

Today I am preparing for the next big adventure. Come join me on this incredible journey!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ghana Part 5: The Beginning

The driver jockeyed for the smoothest part of the road for 14 hours straight.  Our overnight bus back to Accra was sleepless.  We swerved across a swiss-cheese dirt highway with dozens of other trucks, buses and cars.

The smooth part of the road

Just before dawn we emerged from the excessively air conditioned bus to a thick humid darkness.  Back in Accra safely we found our hostel, slept three hours and rose to find food.  

Fed, rested and ready to explore I made the request I had been waiting the whole trip to make.  I wanted to visit Agbogbloshiealso fondly referred to by locals as Sodom and Gomorrah.  I learned about the Accra suburb through the PBS Frontline Report on Digital Dumping Grounds.  Watching that video whet my appetite to explore this 'factory' of sorts.

The ash under our feet warmed the air around us even more than the usual thick blanket of heat.  We walked amongst young men burning the plastic off electronics to extract the precious metals and sell them for paltry amounts.  My eyes and lungs burned from the black smoke that rolled over the dump.

Ash and tar river
Burning plastics

From what we saw, the vast majority of the waste in Agbogbloshie came from the western world.  During our short 30 minute visit, I found monitors, keyboards and CPUs with stamps from Canada, US, and the UK. 

I remember using these
Korea -> Canada -> Ghana

I met a young man about my same age. He asked me where I was from:
"America" I said.
"Oh! I love America; I would like to go there one day!"
"What would you want to do if you went to America?"
His American Dream is to sort through American trash.  This totally blew me away. 

$4.20GHC = $2.24CAD

One computer monitor and CPU has less than 1lb of copper.  Depending on how many people are jockeying for each computer's metals it could take dozens of burning computers for one person to accumulate 1lb of copper. 


I've taken a long time to digest my time in Ghana and the only conclusion I can draw is that I am so happy that I followed through with my promise to visit Lindsey.  This trip was a huge commitment for me and I had a difficult time keeping my word.  I had to take time from work, save money, get shots and visas, book a hostel from thousands of miles away and then fly 1/2 way around the world.  

And THEN the adventure started.  

It feels so incredible to have accomplished this goal and I am looking forward to revisiting my goals this weekend and seeing what is next!  

I came across the video below recently, and the unique pairing of a favorite childhood story and the fanciful world of Burning Man got me really excited to see what I could accomplish with my head full of brains and feet full of shoes.  

 Where will your feet and brains take YOU next?

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