9 October 2010 – Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

The past two weeks have taught me the meaning of this phrase the Peace Corps uses as a tagline. I didn’t really know before. When I was in America and people would tell me they were proud of me or that they couldn’t do what I was doing, I would tell them I was just living.  Yes, there were a few things I strongly disagreed with in Sandema – like the staff improvement fee and the fact more than half of it was chopped – but all in all I joyfully embraced the life in Sandema. As Helen and Liz can attest I even have embraced an African attitude towards time!

But this place is tougher.

I feel often feel on the defensive. It’s nothing anyone says but it’s like when you sleep over your best friends house for the first time and realize that her mom hates it that the two of you slept in till 10 am. The mom doesn’t say anything but you know she disapproved. In Sandema they said “The stranger can do no wrong” and I always felt that way among the majority of the people. And with my friends we would laugh about the differences in our cultures.

Maybe because of this defensiveness I frequently have a silent dialog with myself about they way the school is run. I will sit in a meeting and listen to a plan and scoff to myself that it will never get done. If I somebody promises me something I don’t believe that it will be done until it actually happens. Have I decided to stay in Ghana only to find I have become cynical and jaded?

I have figured out that the hard part is not living and working with people who have a different world view than you do but that it’s hard when they don’t understand that there might be another world view from their own.

I know I can be happy in what ever place I am in but this year will be a very different year from the past two.