Sunday, March 22, 2009

after a long absence from town even lifting included a fan base
Going from seeing no Americans to being with double digits of them is a big change. We had a blast and actually learned a lot but after a week and a half of travel and conferences I was ready to get back to my village. Some good times included Amber trying to find jeans in Kumasi’s main market, which makes Shipshewana look tiny. When we travel or bargain it saves the girls lots of money and hassle to have a husband. They kept wanting me to go into the “changing room” (a curtain they put in front of the entire stall) with my wife to make sure I liked the jeans, and thought I was crazy for letting her pick out her own pair.
I also found a city that I like more than Ho; Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo region. We had pizza with cheese that cost me 3 days pay at a 3 star hotel after swimming in the pool, so worth it. That night we went out with a bunch of British students and volunteers. They thought it was cute to call me Ginger to which I coughed 1812 back (barely a win I know but they didn’t). Then they wanted to do US vs. Britain 5 man chug off, and in the words of Adam Luck, “We ain’t scared.” The Ghanaians wanted to join too. We lined up and I was first against some giant 3 inches taller than me. I made my college buds proud though and beat him and with Steve as last man we beat them. The Ghanaians didn’t understand and drank all theirs at once so they won. This is the culture exchange PC wants right?
After that mini vacation I got back to site with lots of work to do, something that is very nice. The welcoming back was very touching. It’s frustrating though because we need our entire tourism board to approve the constitution before NCRC starts planning to build our visitors centre. Wednesday was market day in Ho, Thursday was market day here, Friday was funeral day, Saturday our Secretary was out of town, and Sunday is Church. Lately if I get a little frustrated I just go weave. I’m not good at it but I’m not horrible anymore. A group of Canadians came 2 days ago and I let them try it on my loom. They wrecked a good 6 inches of my cloth but better mine than one of the master weavers. One of the kids paid in Canadian money and Bright thought he was rich when he got a Canadian nickel.
This morning I was asked to read at mass, as if I don’t have enough attention focused on me. I wish I had a camera with me; it was scary but pretty cool to read in front of a pole barn full of people so different than me but still there for the same reason.
I’ve started to get serious about building a basketball court here. I have people in the District Assemble and the Paramount Chief looking for the best site for it and I’m starting to work on quotes. Once I get a quote I’m going to do a proposal through the PC website that let’s me list my project and ask friends and family to donate to it until it’s reached. That’s means if you’re reading this I’m probably going to bug you for a little donation, sorry. I don’t think it will be all that expensive though and huge family is definitely a perk of being catholic. I know it would get tons of use.
This week is pretty exciting because my real sister Beth is having her second kid! When I got the call for her first one I left the girl I was on a date with to go see them (a fact which Katie still gives me hell about). Sorry Beth, don’t think I’ll be making it for this one.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mamma Aggie and lil' Nana

The new Ghana tourism logo

Host stay family reunion plus 1 nephew!
Sunday at mass, which is usually 3 hours of Ewe that I just sit or read the bible during I thought I heard English. I looked up and listened and it was English. Turns out the youth group decided that since some people, aka me, didn’t understand Ewe they would also do the readings in English. Now I can't doze off, that would kinda defy the whole idea.
The workshop that I’m at is easily the most relevant information I have received since I got here. We have had presentations and collected information from USAID, NCRC, and West African Trade Hub. My supervisor was also here so we worked on my village’s tourism constitution which is taking forever. It didn’t take much to convince me that exporting should not be my first focus but rather getting tourists to come to my site. The computer they brought to make the presentations wasn’t working so they used mine. The entire group of 40+ got some good laughs out of my pictures when the screensaver came up on the projector and Adam Luck was sure to not let them take it down too soon. During one of the HIV/AIDS lessons there was some major discussion among the Ghanaians about if you could get AIDS from putting breast milk in your eye to calm an itch, as you can tell the lessons are needed, and who does that?
Some other great perks of this meeting have been the reunion of 13 of us, going to see my homestay family (with my new 2 month old niece), and getting more of my Christmas packages! The PCVS love my family as we finished off boxes of cookies in record time. I was sad that the package that had sweatpants for my little brother Kwoko hadn’t gotten here yet but I’ve rarely had a warmer reception. Mama Aggie did her normal DAN DAN DAN song and dance and Nana kept saying “Is this a dream?”
Compared to the other guys I’d have to say my site is pretty sweet. Like lots of things are headed in the right direction, I’m really lucky. My mom sent me a great idea that I’m excited to get back to site to make, stationary with kente. Just a small bit on the front of the card makes a really cool product. Mr. Agba really loves the brochures that my family helped me get printed and they will really help to get some awareness of Kpetoe until the visitors center gets built.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rowing Goon in a loom

The set up of the thread

Keta on the Lagoon side

Most of the neighborhood clan in my kitchen
This last week has flown by but nothing too thrilling has happened. At Ash Wednesday service the whole church (think pole barn) was packed and thoroughly entertained that you could actually see the Ashes on my forehead unlike theirs, as I’m the first white person to attend St. Stephens.
Since PC won’t let me go to Accra to get packages and tickets to the Blackstars World Cup Qualifier I went to Keta beach Saturday. Keta is gorgeous. It’s a strip of land only 2 k wide between the Atlantic Ocean and Keta Lagoon. The Lagoon is wide enough that you can’t see the other side but there’s no beach there so go to the ocean side. A Rastafarian man operates a hut with ice block chilled drinks and food that they literally go catch after you order. I had some grilled barracuda, after about a 2 hour wait, that was pretty good for fish. There is an insane undercurrent so I never go out past shoulder height but even there the waves are powerful and fun.
Business has been slow lately so that means that I get to weave more. Right now I’m doing a pattern that only requires me to weave with one color so it should be easy. The set up was harder because that is where the pattern is in this cloth, so now I make good progress in a day. I am the tallest weaver anyone can remember so it’s not exactly comfortable in my loom. I’m sorer (more sore?) after a few hours of that than after a work out.
The 13 S.E.D. (small enterprise development) volunteers have our In Service Training (IST) back in Kukurantumi starting Monday for a week and then I have some Volunteer Action Committee (VAC) meeting so I will have to be away from site for almost 2 weeks. I’m excited to see my buds from training and to visit with my host family but I don’t want to be away from site that long.
There was a lion attack about 10 k from my village, good thing my running route is the other way. They were going out with tranquilizers last I heard, I want to see it if they get it.

“All of Congo could play and they still could not score on the Blackstars”- Mukaila as the Blackstars beat the Democratic Republic of Congo 3-0.