Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks!


The Thank You postcard before African Printers got ahold of it.

They announced the winner of the Barclay’s best places to watch a match competition and we didn’t win but top 10 out of 5,000 isn’t bad. Entries came from 190 countries. I asked if they could get us a banner or something to hang up in the TV hut saying we were top 10; they probably won’t but it’d be amusing if they did.
Last week we had a group of students come from Texas Christian University. They were polite as can be and bought lots, both favorites. Each weaver in the centre took one of the students and had them weave on their loom for like an hour, teaching them the basics. Bright said since I’m a full weaver now so I had to take one too. Enter Trevius Jones, an offensive guard for the #7 ranked TCU Horned Frogs. He was far too big for my loom so I took him to our biggest loom and started teaching. We were the only group without a language barrier and he caught on really fast so I actually had him doing 4 shuttles at once by the end. He didn’t weave as much as everyone else did but he did much harder designs with better quality. Tons of strings were broken from his pure power weaving technique but the weavers loved it.
He was hilarious, polite, and modest and therefore now I’m a Horned Frog fan. I needed a DI team anyways. His talking about missing Mexican food after a week without it has had me craving it since. The pictures from his fancy camera should be pretty cool; he’ll send them to me soon. Topping it all off he sent me an email saying I have TCU tickets when I get back this fall. The weavers made tons of money and I got to meet an awesome guy, which makes for a good day.
With less than 4 months left I’ve started to travel to the places I need to get to. Until now I’ve traveled lots less than most PCVs. The basketball guys won’t always have a coach 6 days a week but they’re catching on and we have some definite leaders emerging. Finishing my men’s cloth will be very hard as I barely wove last week and the next 2 I’ll be going to Accra and then Togo and Benin for a week. I’m pumped for Togo and Benin since my 1st planned trip there got canceled due to a hippo attack. Last week I traveled via ferry and that was the first time I’d been on a boat in almost 2 years; a mortal sin for a rower.
Slave Defense Wall at Adam's site. The villagers built concentric circles around the entire village to prevent slavers from capturing villagers.
1st Boat ride in a while!
videoEnd of a practice.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2 links you need to go to

Seriously awesome links
Our village website has just been published thanks to the hard working students of Dr. Pope's class at Grand Valley State University.
Check it out at:
www.visitkpetoe.com
It's a work in progress so feedback is needed.

VERY COOL
My village was just picked as a finalist for the top 10 places to watch Premiere League Football in the WORLD
. I submitted a picture, video, and text and if I win I get a round trip to an Arsenal game!!! I've at least won a team shirt.
Second from bottom on the list:
http://www.barclaysfootball.com/finalists/

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Some more Bball pictures

The Champs


End of practice this week

Saying bye to Julie and Andrea on consecutive days sucked. My cell phone will be pretty quiet and my social life at a standstill with them gone. Luckily I have basketball and weaving to keep me occupied.
I really need to get on my weaving because it’s almost official that I’ll be leaving Ghana right after our Close of Service Conference in September that is supposed to take place 3 months before you leave. This means I won’t miss the World Series or GVSU in Bama and I can bike and row before it snows. This also means I’ll need to get traveling, sort lots out and get a job, anyone hiring?
Basketball has started to take over my days but it’s been something else. This week we officially started the AgoSec basketball team. Sometimes we have girl’s practice in the morning and guys practice in the evening since it’s too hot to play during the day. The guys and I have really connected but if anyone wanted to have a great reality TV show they should have people coach a team of 13 year olds of the opposite sex with a language barrier in a sport they’ve never played. My best players for each team respectably are named Courage and Charity which I think is awesome.
Maintenance on the court is still almost a daily occurrence but its holding steady. The nets are long gone and I’ve had to take down and weld each rim as well as add a metal plate for reinforcement. I think that will keep them solid for a while and Ma is looking for heavy duty nets to mail me. The court being used this much is a good thing so I’m definitely not complaining. Last night after finishing reinforcing them I stayed and shot for a bit alone even though it was dark. So many people helped to build this thought and now it’s actually there and I love it.
When I’m not coaching I’m weaving and am now on my 7th double strip for my men’s cloth. Ipod is in the mail from Meg Hub which will really help me be able to weave longer.
We got our kente signboards placed throughout the region and so far I’ve had 4 texts about how great they look. Now we just got to get that visitors’ centre decked out and opened.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sign Up

Basketball has been quite a hit. The kids even asked if we could move playing up a half hour to be able to play more. For now a group of 10-25 guys informally get together everyday from 4:30 until dark. It seems there’s always some form of maintenance to do. I haven’t started an Agotime Secondary School team yet cause I’ve been gone lots and am still playing catch-up but I should next week or so. Yesterday I finally convinced some girls to come onto the court and shoot. It was just for a few minutes but you gotta start somewhere.
Of the regulars some leaders and standouts have already emerged. Richard is easily the most responsible of the group, Courage and Christoph are probably the best, and Alan is a brat. The progress over just a few weeks is insane (Granted lay-ups are anything but a sure thing). We almost looked sharp warming up one day. Their defense however is still exactly how they play defense in football. 2 guys without much pressure on the ball, 2 on the nearest 2, 1 deep and they just float and rotated around. It sounds like a decent zone but it’s not at all.

The visitors’ centre is basically done and looks great, complete with a signboard. We’ve had some major issues with placing the signboards in other districts. Actually we’ve had lots of issues lately. With my service coming towards the home stretch I’ve been stepping back more and more and honestly I’ve been kinda disappointed in how poorly the governance board has performed. I gotta get it through to them that it’s not my project, it’s theirs and that I won’t always be there.
Today I have a big meeting with my boss and counterparts to decide for good if I get replaced or not. I’m really not sure how it will go. There’s still lots of work to do and I think it’s one of the best sites in PC but lots of villages want PCVs. Tomorrow we have a meeting to sort out the issues on the governance board with the paramount chief. It should be pretty interesting.



This week my 2 closest friends (location and level) leave. Julie is going home for a while for a wedding and Andrea is going home for good. The 3 of us have been a constant over the last year and it will definitely take some adjusting to life without them. They’re the only ones that I saw consistently enough to be up to date on what’s going on in Kpetoe. You rely a lot more on a lot fewer people here. I plan on weaving an excessive amount until Julie gets back.

Here's the link to Andrea's great fall during para sailing that Julie so kindly posted for the world to see.
http://vimeo.com/11440320

Monday, May 3, 2010

KPETOE BASKETBALL





The last 2 weeks have probably been the busiest and most fun of PC. With the All Volunteer Conference being so close to Julie and me we planned events on either side of it. The weekend before 14 of us went down to the ocean. A storm rolled in late afternoon, so cool. 3 of the guys stayed out in the huge waves; I stayed in the water but not quite as deep since I swim like a rock.

126 volunteers went to one of the best hotels in the region for conference. AC, wireless (1/2 the time), warm water, swimming pool, and good eats. PC ran the conference exceptionally well. We didn’t have too much free time between HIV/AIDs and admin meetings but when we did we took advantage. Thursday night was prom. Julie and I both made Prom Court. Sinae and I were one of the best dressed and the 1st couple to jump into the pool still dressed. Adam Luck is the best DJ in Ghana. Friday night was talent show. I showed some of the kente I’ve woven and some of the acts were just hilarious.
We make animal prints look good.
Rock, Paper, Scissors competition.
Biggest personal news out of the conference is that it looks like I’ll be replaced by another PCV. I had been told that I would not be so had started working accordingly but this is great for my community. Not official, but if I do get replaced due to the change of training schedules there would be an overlap with the new PCV. It looks like I could be headed home in September rather than Nov/Dec since I know I wouldn’t have wanted the old PCV there for my first 3 months. I could move to a large city and take on an admin role but if I’m in Ghana I want to be in Kpetoe. This means leaving all my friends earlier, I have to get my US life in line real quick, and work harder on my men’s cloth. We also got a 40% living allowance increase which tells you how under paid we were but still great news.

We invited everyone out to my site after the conference for a basketball tournament and kente, but figured 20 max. At least 57 PCVs came! We had 9 teams for the tournament (complete with trophy), on a boiling hot day. Since some people had to travel that night we had to play from 10:30-3:30…suicide basically. I swept the court with my phone on my hip so I could give directions but some sweat wrecked it leaving me phone-less on the day that I would need it the most of course. Due to the ugly 9 teams bracket and double elimination my team ended up playing 6 games. By the time we made the championship against a great team that had played 3 we were seriously hurting. Adam Luck and I both had heat strokes and are still recovering but it was still so much fun. All night my legs kept cramping but having so many people seeing my site and what we’ve done was absolutely amazing. When people who are doing amazing things compliment what you’ve done it doesn’t get much better.

My friends at site came through huge to help host everyone. Patricia took off for the weekend so we could use her beautiful home. Since it’s so nice we had our older PCVs stay there and they loved it. Mukaila got the District Assembly Hall for me, Bright got me mattresses, and all my weavers transported them. Andrea, Julie, and Kristine were running around town getting stuff all day. Basically all of my close friends came through huge and allowed people to have a great time. It was the biggest non-PC organized event in our time.
videoCan Ghana handle these moves?