Monday, March 29, 2010

Lots of Cement

Visitors' Centre as of this morning with WALLS.

The Court 1/2 paved.

Earlier this week we had some really strange weather. All day it was hazy and extremely humid. Someone told me there was a big sandstorm up in the Sahara causing it. Now it’s back to normal bright and hot but you kinda miss the sun when you have it so much and then lose it.
Lots happening at site but I really haven’t had to do too much besides pay people, make sure things aren’t too crooked and be around if they need me. Basically I’ve been weaving a bunch. The basketball court is over ½ paved and moving fast now that we switched masons. My friends Alan and Marian built a school and they went through 3 masons so Alan says I’m not doing too badly. The water has been out for a vast majority of the time slowing progress. This morning we organized all the 1st years to go to the stream with buckets even. I felt bad but the kids didn’t seem to mind. The changing of masons and lots of extra costs will be cutting the cash really tight but I guess we can do without pimp uniforms.
Rumor has it our All-Volunteer Conference at the end of April is going to be in Ho. 130 PCVs 25k from my site sounds like the perfect time to have our opening ceremony and tournament. Gotta have it done by then. We already have our men’s and women’s captains for the PC teams and my weavers are even getting a team together. I’m tempted to play for the weavers; I’m getting halfway decent at weaving and they need me a little more. But I really like to win so I’ll probably play for Team PC.
The visitor’s centre is moving along very quickly. These builders are from the capital and don’t mess around. We got off to a rocky start when we couldn’t find some of them a place to stay and we weren’t helping unload the trucks when they came. They’re used to working with small communities where everyone knows what’s going on and helps. We have 12,000 people living here and not even all the weavers know what’s being built. That’s my fault along with the board. The paramount chief came up big with an extra room for them to stay at and I asked the guys at our weaving centre to help unload the cement bags. Now things are going smoothly.
The days are flying by and there’s lots of fun stuff coming up. I’ve even been on the same book for over a week now which is unheard of (granted it’s on the Supreme Court and Sandra Day O’Connor doesn’t exactly make for a quick read). Spring is packed with trips, social events, conferences, and unfortunately some work. Summers are very busy for us so it looks like my 230ish days left here will be gone in no time. Got to start thinking about what to do when I get back…well after Europe on the way home that is.
Guy we randomly saw in Accra. I helped build that playground with my entire 8th grade class and we all got those shirts!
We get everything in plastic bags and they litter the ground. People try to make things like purses and such out of them. This is a rain coat made from frozen strawberry yogurt packages. I wanted to get it for my niece's 1st bday but not sure if her parents would let her wear it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Some of the first pictures of kente weavers taken by missionaries. Just this week I was given a huge Dutch report on kente which is awesome.1912
1908
1907
1906
1888-1895
1865-1868
We’ve made no progress on the basketball court the last few weeks. This is mostly my fault. My primary assignment has been keeping me busy which is great. The people building the visitors’ centre will be coming back Monday to start up again, I have a few orders from the German embassy, and there is a SNV (Dutch) volunteer doing research on kente who I’ve been trying to help out. Kristine stole Bright for like a week to conduct interviews all over the traditional ruling area making my hours of weaving a day very lonely and she’s also doing a supply chain analysis. I’ve gone along on some of the interviews and have even learned some new stuff. She and another volunteer drove Bright and me to the biggest kente market on St. Patrick’s Day. The market is close to my favorite beach in the world too and Bright had never been in the ocean so we had to go. Bright and I needed shorts though so we stopped on the side of the road and I found the only green shorts (Nigera Football) I could. We were off for Guinness on the beach, come on it was St. Patty’s Day. This research stuff is hard.
On the way there we experienced a first for me in Ghana, a radar gun. We got clocked going 72 kph along the coast and apparently the speed limit was 50 kph. Luckily the police here are beyond corrupt and 2 Cedis ($1.33) and a smile from the girls and we were on our way. Bright swimming in the ocean made the whole trip worth it. He swims in a local creek so he can stay afloat but that’s not exactly the ocean; especially here the waves can get awesome. The ripe tide is also intense and very dangerous so we were worried about that and didn’t tell him other things we probably should have such as closing your mouth when waves come and not to open your eyes under salt water. Whoops, sorry Bright. He still had a blast and I could tell the other weavers were jealous when we got back.
There is also another American living in Kpetoe now! Patricia is retired and married to a Ghanaian so she just moved here. Their house is very nice and we’ve met a few times for meals. Between her and Kristine I’ve been socializing more than I ever here in Ghana. I still even get to see Julie and Andrea once in a while too. It’s weird to say the least but very nice.
I haven’t forgotten about the basketball court though. We actually are getting a new mason because we’re so sick of waiting for the old one. Lots of PCVs are waiting for the opening tournament. The kids at the secondary school are too. All this had to wait however because the president of Ghana came to town on Friday to break ground on a new youth employment dealy. It’s been busy but lots of fun. By looks of it I’ll be all over the south of the country the next month so it won’t slow down for a while which will make my time left here fly by even faster. 2.5 strips of the 19 needed for my men’s cloth.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Holy Mole (it rhymes here)

One of the best part about visitors is that they take lots of pictures! Here's a hodge podge of the last 2 weeks.



























video
Katie’s 2 week visit flew by. We covered more of the country than I ever thought she’d want to. It’s great having guests because I probably wouldn’t travel to the tourists sites if they didn’t come (or be able to afford to!). The highlight of the trip had to be Mole National Park. We went to Accra to catch an overnight bus to Tamale (13 hours) then ended up hiring a cab at 4 am to cover the last 4 hours on probably the 2nd worst road I’ve been on here. We made it with one flat tire and our cloths COVERED in dirt. It was so worth it. A monkey stole our sunscreen, warthogs were everywhere, antelope roamed, and we probably got within 30 meters of 2 elephants on our safari. After almost week on the road we made our way back to Accra. There Katie bought me a t-bone steak, took us to the irish pub, and even got us a room at a resort that cost more than a month of our living allowance. It was awesome.
The last month has been the hottest since I got here. Of course that means no power or water (3 days and counting so far this time). The nights are just miserable and my water barrel has a hole in it so my emergency supply is 2 buckets. Michael saved me after my run this morning by giving me one of his family’s buckets to bath with. I really hope water and power come back soon.
The last 6 weeks or so have been my happiest times here. I’m not really sure why; just lots going on and lots to look forward to. Everyday I am just excited about what I’m doing and you can’t beat that. There’s only 8 months left so I gotta get as much done as I can in that time. The basketball court is 1/3 the way paved, don’t ask, but I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the month so we can host a basketball tournament right before hang gliding on Easter weekend. With power out if the sun’s out I’m weaving. Finished my 1st of 19 strips for my men’s cloth this morning!
Togo, the country I live on the border of, just held “elections” and there has been some riots in the capital Lome (2 hours away). Last time lots of Togolese came over to Ghana, thankfully the border guards all know me and still let me run through.