Day brightening news

Today I went to Peaberry’s for brunch before going to work. I visited with my daughter and the staff there.  My daughter,Liz,  gave me some wonderful news that just made my day. She said that she will be taking the Wednesday – Saturday June 4th – 7th to spend time with me.  Liz and I will have a great time. I am already thinking of so many things we could do!

I love my family!

-vc

Guest Post on OLPC News

Today I am a guest poster on OLPC News.  I sent Wayan of OLPC News an update on how I like my XO now and he asked if he could put it up as a guest post. No XO Laptop for A Peace Corps Volunteer going to Ghana is my update. Wayan made it very presentable with a couple of photos and some editing. My friends will know I needed the editing! Thanks Wayan for letting me share my views.

-vc

Shedding again!

Oh boy I am selling my stuff again in preparation for the big move to Ghana.  Today I contacted B&H Photo with a list of all my photo equipment to see what kind of trade in they will give me. I really do not need three cameras. I don’t need 15 different filters in two sizes. I don’t need a big tripod. I never use it and a  little  one will travel so much better. I now have three camera bags. I don’t need three camera bags! So I am waiting for there estimate so I can send the stuff to them.

I sold my XO today. The new owner is very happy. I am glad. It just wasn’t going to do what I wanted it to do.

I sold my desktop today as well.  The buyer will wait until next week to pick it up.

I am trying to sell my enlarger and other misc.  darkroom equipment.

I am trying to sell a TV and a VCR.

That’s about it!

Getting down to 80lbs of junk is hard work!

-vc

Social Dilemmas

The Peace Corps Website has some materials to help me prepare myself for my new culture.

There are three situations and I am only certain of one answer.

Situation 1

HOLDING BACK?

You work as an environmental educator in a government ministry under an older host country national—who is much less technically competent than you. At staff meetings, you routinely outshine him, which causes him acute discomfort. Today, he asked you not to speak at meetings and especially not to disagree with him, even, and especially, if what he says is incorrect. What should you do?

my thoughts:

First I don’t think I would publicly correct this person. I am a new comer. I am trying to establish a relationship with him. BUT if I had I would apologize for not showing him respect. I would then say maybe I have been talking too much and I will let others have the floor more often. I tell him I will share when I have something important to add.

I wouldn’t say I won’t talk at staff meetings but admitting that I might talk too much is a good way to show humility.T And who of us doesn’t talk too much! Then saying  I’ll speak when I have something important to add reminds him I do have something to contribute. I would also remember that I can have an influence one on one and if a local staff member brings up something I would like to do it will carry more weight.

-vc

Any other thoughts are welcome!

Two Confessions

#1. When I applied to the Peace Corps Africa was on the bottom of my mental list.  I had no place I would not go but Africa was the last place on the list of PC sectors.

I am absolutely one with going to Ghana now. I can’t imagine a better place for me. It’s just interesting  how things work.

#2. When I read the descriptions of what PCVs do I said I do not want to teach. Partially because I thought the only thing I could teach in a class room was English as a Second Language and I wasn’t really interested. And because it seemed too much like a 9-5, which I was leaving behind for the PC. So I have spent the months since July 10, 2007 thinking I would be doing techie stuff, installing networks, or helping businesses use computers, or setting up software for some organization etc.

I was just a bit disappointed when I read my assignment. And a little scared. I have never taught for an extended time in a formal classroom setting.  My classes are short, and informal. The only tests are can you do what we were learning today. Most of my teaching has been done one on one. I know I am a good teacher. I love it and have had a lot of positive feedback. Here’s the but – but how will I translate that to a classroom full of students?

So I am doing the librarian thing, gathering information! I have talked to a college prof. I described what I thought I needed to know to successfully teach info tech. It’s always changing. What you learn today may change tomorrow. So I thought that the students needed to know how to discover what’s new and how to learn it on their own. She told me about active or facilitated learning. I wasted no time. There are two books by my bed on the topic with some excellent suggestions for learning activities.

Like any good information professional I conquered my fear with information! And imagine I’ll be teaching classrooms full of young people to use and hopefully enjoy tech just as much as I do. Hopefully teaching them how to uwe this wonderful tool.

Thus I am one with being a classroom teacher.

-vc

The Gift of Sara

This whole process has been filled with little graces and gifts along the way. Sara is one of those gifts. She is going to Ghana with the PC as well. She found my blog and contacted me.  We have been communicating since then. She helped me through the frustrating days of waiting for my invitation. We are sharing the obsessing over what to bring and how much and our fears and expectations. I think she willed me to Ghana.

In a comment on my “more sure..”post Louise (another gift) said “trust the universe.” I wasn’t really concerned about going across the Atlantic to a totally different culture without knowing anyone. Now THAT sounds crazy as I write it down. But I am so surprised how happy I am to have the chance to get to know Sara. And how very comforting  it is to know that when I go to Philly on June 7th that there will already be a friend there.  I think the universe and The One who controls it knew better than I what I needed.  Thanks!

If you want to follow Sara’s journey her blog Ernest Whimsy is under the Peace Corps links on my sidebar.

-vc

Ghana Ghana Everywhere!

Just like when you buy a new car and then you see that car everywhere, Ghana is everywhere!  This wekend my mom. my boss and a co-worker all saw Anthony Bourdain visit Ghana on  his show No Reservations.  read his and his crew’s blogs while you are  there and check out this great link to Ghana tourism

I think my brother saw this British reality show The Challenge.

Sunday when I was at my ex-mother-in-laws she gave me the name of a monk from Ghana and his phone number here in the states. Her niece works at Genesis House in Westfield, MA. She met Brother Mark there. He is on retreat. I talked to him yesterday. He was warm and friendly just like he told me his country will be.

Ghana is everywhere!

-vc

Time for a new look

Decided it was time to change the look of my blog.  Something less cooporate and more exotic.

-vc

Vow of Celibacy

I have been thinking a lot about sex and my Peace Corps service. I’d like to say that these are my thoughts about what I think I should do. I believe I should pay attention to my behavior. That the only person’s moral behaviour I should judge and evaluate is my own behaviour. I have so many things to pay attention to with myself that I do not judge other people.

It started when I read the book American Taboo. The PCVs in that book were sexually active. While reading the book I felt that this caused bad feelings among the volunteers and with the local residents. Maybe as a stranger in a culture I don’t really understand I might not want to do
something that would make it harder for me to fit in. The sexual relationships also caused shifting alliance between the PCVs, this also concerned me. I know sex will not be the only possible reason for problems between PCVs but just one.

The second time I this idea surfaced was when I was thinking about what I want to get out of my PC service.  I realized I wanted to use this time as a time of personal reflection. A time to think about the next stage of my life. i thought sex might get in the way of that. I also want to devote myself to service. Knowing myself i become very selfish and very focused on the other person when I am in a relationship. i don’t want that to get between me and the work I will do in Ghana. I know i might be thinking more about the next time I could be with THE person than my next day’s lesson plan or getting out and visiting my neighbors.

The next time this came up was when I read the section in the welcome packet about personal safety.  Heterosexual sex is the most common way PCVs get AIDS. Even with the testing the Peace Corps give you and your partner. Even with condoms being handed out. Why is that? I would  say human nature. I was married for 24 years and we often got carried away in the moment and “forgot”. To me it would be common sense to avoid that risk.

The last thing that factors into my decision is that I was celibate until I married at 22. So I know I can do it. I know I can live a full and happy life without being in a sexual relationship. I will certainly miss an intimate sexual relationship probably even more than Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia!

-vc

Calling all 060708 Ghana PCTs

Hey everyone let’s connect. I just was thinking that maybe the people looking at my blog from the Peace Corps list of blogs might be going to Ghana in June.  A little over a month ago i met Sara, Earnest Whimsy  blog.  We have been emailing and it has been such a great help and comfort to me maybe we should all try to connect before we meet in June.

Can you believe that it’s all most here?!

So leave a comment and we can connect.
-vc

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