Monday, December 14, 2009

The exams at AGOTIME SECONDARY SCHOOL (where the court is being built). Too hot inside the buildings.

Akpeteshie distiller James. Palm wine goes through this twice to become Akpeteshie.

foundation of court filled w/sand

Michael's class only had 1/2 day of school so they came over to play catch.
Lately the Hammonton (I spell it differently each time I think) season has been in full effect. It’s when the winds change and the temperatures do too. After this it gets really hot. Right now the nights are cool and there’s a constant breeze. It sounds refreshing but lots of people, especially PCVs, get sick during it. I’ve been sick for like 2 weeks now but only 1 really bad night and day. That night I had to put on my longsleeve tshirt for the 1st time here and covered up with my lightly used sheet and was still freezing; it wasn’t fun at all. The next day I just stayed in bed, read, and listened to BBC and now am feeling a bit better.
As for the basketball court, our sand man (literally) finally found a new source and got us the needed loads. Now the foundation is filled and it’s a good spot to stop as both the school and I will be going on break and the sand can settle. When I get back we will get the backboards made, install the poles, lay the concrete, and paint the court. That will still probably take a while but overall we’ve moved pretty well even if it doesn’t seem like it to someone in the States.
All the required information for the visitors’ centre will be with my NGO as of Wednesday so hopefully by the time I get back things will be ready to roll on that too. Lots of stuff has been happening in Kpetoe so it’s pretty cool. Topping all of this we no longer have a “tv hut,” we now have a building with walls and a ceiling fan! Next thing you know that internet cafĂ© that’s been “coming soon” since March will open.
With my trip home this close the last week has gone by so slowly! My friends here have given me presents for my parents and will cover for me on work, yardwork, and bills. I’ll miss them but I think I’ll be so busy catching up with family and friends that the 3 weeks will fly by. My computer lessons with my friends here haven’t quite reached the point where I’ll let them blog for me however, so this will be the last entry until I get back January 8th.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our first try at the floorplans for the visitors' centre. All those years of Chuck Messengers Architecture class being used.

Poles for the basketball court at the welders.

This is my token cute African kid for the day. Ladies I'll be home in 10 days; I'm building him a court.

Our initial signboard, we'll see how much it changes.
Internet everyday last week was fun but once I found out I was healthy I was ready to get back to site. While I was gone there was absolutely no progress on the basketball court which was disappointing but we’ve made up for it lately. Still doesn’t look like it will be done when I go home but Friday Mukaila and I finally tracked down some poles! The welder did them over the weekend and yesterday Mukaila got them delivered all the way to the school. Now we just need to find some more sand (something my dad says Africa shouldn’t run out of).
I’ve also been getting kente ready to take home and meeting with our tourism group about the plans for the visitors’ centre. We get to design our billboards and pick 6 locations throughout the country to put them. We also got to design the actual visitors’ centre within given dimensions; this is the stuff that I love to do and the guys are excited about it.
I have only been weaving about an hour a day so progress is slow on my latest pattern but we did set a 1 day record with 28 visitors on Saturday. 18 were Ghanaians from Accra and spent more time watching me weave than any of the other guys. I thought they’d be mad but they were amused. Bright and Joshua also decided that it was insane that I had been here for 15 months without having the “meal of the chiefs.”
One night I asked what they did for Christmas since I had only been in my village for like 2 weeks last Christmas and didn’t know anyone. They said go to church and have a special Christmas meal. Worst decision I’ve made in Ghana was asking what that meal was.
Cat. Only men are allowed to eat it the “meal of the chiefs.” They wouldn’t let me go home without trying it. Joshua tracked down one and told me how feisty it was. They were so excited about it all week. Sunday rolls around and they come to my house to take me to where it’s prepared. On the way we did a shot of Akpeteshie to “grow our appetite.” Rule to live by from Danny V: “Anything you need to take a shot before eating can’t be good.”
Akpeteshie is by far the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s Ghanaian Moonshine, double distilled palm wine that tastes like gasoline mixed with tequila that’s “industrial strength alcohol.” Seriously, it’s disgusting but it’s very cheap and gets the job done.
There was plenty of cat to go around especially since I only had 2 pieces. They made fun of me a lot for not eating much. By the time we were done I was late for my tourism meeting (usually I wait hours for them) but no one was mad, they were so proud that I’d finally had cat.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving in a small World

Congrats to Lumen Christi football for their 8th state title!!
Grand Valley is moving towards another national title too so that helps me deal with Arsenal's falling apart of late.
Thanksgiving at the Ambassador’s was very fun. I was the first to arrive at embassy employee’s house of the 3 of us staying there. You might not think much of it but it had Armed Forces Television, hot water, and AC in every room. I watched Home Alone 2 one morning!
Me-What state you from?
Me-What high school did you go to?
Host-You wouldn’t know it because it’s not around anymore but it was St. John’s.
Me-Which combined with St. Mary’s to form Lumen Christi.
Later that night we figured out that he’s friends with my aunt who is now a nun. If you met Sister you would know why after he found that out he was even nicer to us.
Thanksgiving had awesome food that I have never been more thankful for. It was open bar with actually good drinks too. Before I knew it the Ambassador was mixing my drinks and from there it got fun. I did lose my Adidas sandals that I had worn for over 430 straight days here. My feet have so many blisters from this new pair I’m trying to wear now.
While hear I also sold a lot of kente to other PCVs or Expats that I’ve met. I’m getting to know more and more Expats and they are an extremely interesting bunch. I feel pretty lame compared to most of them but they can’t weave kente so it’s ok.
I’m stuck in Accra for Midservice Medical so I can’t really do too much for the court. I did what I could so they could get some stuff done while I was away but we’ll see. It’s Hammaton Season which means the changing of the winds and I’ve got a cold. This is the first time I’ve been sick in Ghana.
Today I have a meeting with my supervisor about starting work on our visitor’s center! The plan would now be to break ground by February. There are a few steps we have to do until then which should keep me kinda busy when I get back from the states! 17 days!
Happy December!!