1 Sept 2011 – Ghana Good-bye

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. – Dr. Seuss

What an amazing ride these past three  years have been. Here are some photo highlights cause I really can’t write about what I am feeling right now.

Battle Field

The first battlefield in the insect wars that raged in my bungalow at Sandema Senior High Technical School. I found a cockroach in my bathing bucket and tried to throw the cockroach outside. I failed and this is the results of my killing the cockroach inside.

Local houses in a small Bulsa village near Sandema, Upper East Region, Ghana

  

Cooking for Lenore

At Lenore’s house in Arowora, Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana.

Palm Nut Soup Cookers

My first attempt to make Palm Nut soup brought lots of helpers out of the bushes.

My Nala who’s now living in Sandema with my neighbors the Adajagsa’s.

Students studying at Sandema Senior High Technical School.

The view from my bungalow at BASCO, Trotor, Eastern Region, Ghana.

The Christmas Pineapple Werner and I decorated at BASCO.

Dancing during Christmas break at BASCO. The kids used plastic gallons for drums and their dinner plates for symbols or bells.

BASCO’s dance troupe performing a dance from the Eastern Region in Ghana.

A fishing boat on the shore at Winneba, Central Region, Ghana

The view of Fort St. Jago from St. Georges Castle in Elmina, Central Region, Ghana.

A Mona monkey at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in the Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana.

 Polishing hand made beads at the Cedi Bead Factory in the Eastern Region, Ghana.

A scene from the Volta River in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

I hope my traveling days in Ghana are not over and I will ride on of the MMT buses again!

Thank you everyone for following my Peace Corps Journey. Stay tuned to see what’s next for the Grandma who went to Ghana.

-vc

p.s.

I have been busy the past few weeks getting ready to go and traveling so I didn’t have much time to blog. Over the next few days i’ll do some catch up posting so don’t mind the weird dates!

-vc

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30 August 2011 – Happy 50th Birthday Peace Corps Ghana

 

 

Ghana is the longest continously running Peace Corps program.

Congratulations Ghana staff, PCVs and RPCVs!

Now who better than the Fab Four to wish you a happy 50th!

 

RPCV

-vc

August Sometime – Portia and Rofina

In August I traveled up north for my last visit with the Kampusi’s and my other friends up there. After my visit there Portia, Rofina and I traveled south to my site and then on to Cape Coast. Below is a slide show of photos I took of them on this trip. More about the trip to follow.

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-vc

12 July 2011 – Elliot Bawing

How ICT(Information and Communications Technologies) Tools are Making the World Smaller

 Left to right – Elliot, Vincent, Cahteriner, Dorcas

The invention of computers has contributed to the world becoming smaller. This is because computers help us to send and receive messages. Now a days, people hold the world in their hands. The computer also helps us to get to market our business on a network called the internet. You can also make video calls and chat with anyone from a different continent.

Also, the introduction of mobile phones have made the world smaller. Someone will ask why? this is because the mobile phone is also an easy way to access people all over the world. You can also send text messages and make a video and take pictures of people you like. You can us the mobile phone to browse the internet and for entertainment such as music, listen to radio etc.

The invention of the video cameras has also united the world and also helped in making the world smaller. The video camera takes pictures of people and loved one. It also stores videos of the past like the late Kwame Nkrumah and the independence of Ghana and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. The camera also passes videos and pictures through a wireless connection. And this helps to make the world smaller.

The introduction of radio has also made the world smaller. This is because the radio helps to transfer information all over the world. You can get information about what is going on at another country. You can share your views on matters concerning you or your country or other countries like Cote d’voire and the Libya crisis. And also for advertisement and listening to music.

The invention of television has also contributed to the world becoming smaller. Someone can ask how? This is because the television sends news live in your room. You can even see your favorite personalities interviewed right in front of your eyes. The 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP was shown to you right in your room as if your were at the place. You can even market your products on the television.

All the above points contribute to the world becoming smaller. Now you an get access to anything you want because the world is now in our own hands.

Bawing Elliott

Form 2 (Grade 8)

BASCO

Trotor, Ghana

Elliott is one of my favorite students in this class. He came the second term and his desire to learn made him stand out the first day he was here. He came to me and asked for notes for the two weeks he had missed. His essay also reflects some of the things Werner and I talked about in the class but I was impressed with his inclusion of world events like the Libyan crisis and Cote d’voire. He was one of the few students who tried to write a summary paragraph. Last his handwriting is neat and easy to read. Because mine is so terrible I always admire neat handwriting and as a teacher I love it when I don’t have to battle with the handwriting to understand the concepts written down.

-vc

12 July 2011 – Vincent Nyadedzer

ICT Tools are Making the World Smaller

ICT(Information and Communications Technologies) Tools have helped us to communicate more easily. Chatting through the compute allows us to chat with people all over the world. Through the use of ICT tools now you can send emails on the computer to another person in USA. You can also use the computer to send pictures, videos and music to your friends. If has made the world smaller because you can even communicate with your friends and family even when they are not close to you. Through the mobile phone you can also communicate with your friends if they are outside the country.

 

Eric Mintah, Vincent Nyadedzer

They have also helped us to share experiences. Through the use of satellite you can watch the world coup together even if your mom and you are not in the same country or if you are far away from the host country. You can even get information from on the radio of what is going on in another country. At the same time if our mom or dad is in another country they will also get the same news. The the use of these things the world is becoming smaller.

ICT tools have helped speed up the spread of information. Through the use of the internet you can send information to people when something has just happened. But in the olden days you would have to write a letter on paper, walk and give it to the person. Through eh use of phones you can send messages to your friends outside the country. But in the olden days you needed to walk before you could give the message to the person. Through the use of a PA system it allows people to know what is going on in the town if a person is far away. Today the world is in a computer age because the use of computers, radio and phones are everywhere and this has made the world smaller. Even now if you are holding a phone or sitting bet side a computer the world is in your hands.

ICT has effected my life because now I can talk on the phone to someone and feel like I am physically talking. These tools have also made my communication very easier and faster.

 

Vincent Nyadedzer Kwabena

Form 2 (grade 8)

BASCO

Trotor, Ghana

Vincent comes from a middle class home. He has had access to computers and internet in his home for a few years. He’s very good with computers and taking a special computer class with my counterpart, Eric Mintah. Vincent listened well in class when I invited Werner for a discussion of how ICT tools helped him to stay in touch with his family and know what is going on in Germany. His essay reflects some of those ideas.

12 July 2011 – Ago Catheriner

Communication

 In the ancient days, our forefathers used to walk to send information to others and also travel by foot but today dues to technology we have a device called the computer that is making the world smaller eg. Email, and chat. Another things is that there were no cars so our forefathers would walk a long distance to deliver and listen to messages. But today we can chat on the phone, and computer. Another thing is the mobile phone. Scientists have discovered mobiles that have made our life easier and faster. Now people can move from one place to another country. Also people can call their cousins in another country, anywhere in the world.

 Shared Experiences

Information is a fact that we learn. In the past years there was no radio in the world so people didn’t listen to the news. Later, if you wanted to listen to radio you would have to go to a far place where people have gathered – with the kings and queens. Another thins is the P.A, system, if people gathered they needed to speak loud so that all will hear them. So they used a machine called a P.A. system. Furthermore one thing about the P.A. system is that like out dooring people uses for loud music and add radio. There was no television in the world before so our fathers could not watch television but now we can watch television from all over the world. Another means is that people will be in a far place watching a football match this is played in another country and we can also see it. All these beautiful things mean that ICT(Information and Communications Technologies) is making the world smaller.

Ago Cahteriner (Girls Head Prefect)

Form 2 (Grade 8)

BASCO

Trotor, Ghana

 

Cahteriner attempted to do a compare and contrast essay. Although she didn’t hit the nail right on the head I felt she did a good job for her first attempt at such an essay.  She is a quiet studious girl and yet she managed to win the position of Girls Head Prefect in the elections this spring. Prefects help run the school and serve in various posts such as, Dining Hall Prefect, Grounds Prefect, Games Prefect and the Head Prefects (boys and girls).The Head Prefects manage them all.

-vc

William Terkerpety – Form 1 BASCO

5 July 2011

          Today the world is like a computer because the use of this tool (computer, radio and even phone are everywhere. These days’ people just hold the world in their pocket. The reason for me saying this is that the use of all the above mentioned age becoming common all over the earth.

Computers today are on source of communication tool used across the globe. To send information though the computer (Internet) is faster than traditional mail. Through the Internet you can send information and within two or three minutes you get the reply. This same tool helps us listen to music from all over the world. It helps send information in a form of action to people from far away, to do this people use video cameras, for example we could use the BASCO network to send videos of our school to Madam Vicky in the USA.

There are many tools that are making the world smaller. Not only the computer but also mobile phones are making the world smaller. Mobile phones or the telephone network can relay not only voice but also pictures and written information as well. Telephones communicate over land, sea and air sometimes using high frequency microwaves.

Not only computers and telephones are making the world smaller but also cameras (still photos and videos) are involved when sending pictures through the internet. The camera, on the other hand, works like the computer when talking about making pictures. The reason is that people can send information in a picture through the video camera. We are able to see some important people from the past e.g. Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkruma and Martin Luther King Jr. When special events happen with the help of cameras we set information about these events.

The world is becoming smaller because when all these tools are used, the world is contained in a netbook. Me saying this is not a joke, because, how can people put this large word or earth in their own pocket? Phones are not very expensive. Now the world has become an information and communication age because all of our daily lives depend on television, radio and computer. And people use the phone more than all the rest. I can say that the world is contained in a mobile phone.

William Terkpertey

Form 1 (Grade 7)

BASCO

Trotor, ER

Ghana

24 June 2011 – Dreamy Hippy Haven

The next day I moved to the Rising Pheonix. The Bradt travel guide said it was the best bargain for the money. For me the highlight was that it was on the ocean.  The Pheonix’s owner has just bought the place and it is a bit run down but it’s clean. The menu is still a work in progress but it’s a good vegetarian option in Accra. Both times my food was not well cooked. The bun with the veggie burger was burned and the tempura veggies were not hot nor crispy. Oh but the humas and pita platter was delicious. There were even green olives with it.  The new owner seems eager to make a go of the place and I am sure that when the cooks learn more about cooking the unfamiliar food that it will be good.

No matter about the food the view from the hotel and restuarant is well worth the 40 Ghana Cedis I paid for a room. The compound was situated up on a ledge over looking the ocean.  It was dreamy and not a bit of a nightmare!

Here are a few pics.

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10 June 2011 – Thoughts on 3 years in Ghana

Today marks the end of my third year in Ghana. Seems like a good time to reflect.

Would I do it again?

Yes. Positively, absolutely, yes! Most likely I will volunteer for Peace Corps again through their Peace Corps Response program.

What have I learned?

How to take a bucket bath.

How to hand wash my clothes.

How to let the sun clean some of my clothes.

How to eat fufu and tee zed.

How to make jolloff rice, Wakeye, tee zed, banku, tomato stew, groundnut soup, palm nut soup, gari foto and crème caramel.

How to eat in a shared bowl with my hands.

How to squat and pee.

How to face a class of 70+ High School students.

How to speak Buli.

How to speak Twi, small small.

How to say a few words in German.

How to stay cool in 110 degree heat.

How to wear a two yard.

How to shop at a Ghanaian market.

How to get along with less.

How to dance High Life.

How to do traditional Ghanaian dances.

How to buy the best spring rolls off someone’s head in Kumasi on the road to the Peace Corps sub-office while riding in a tro tro.

How the people in Sandema rebelled against the slave raiders and won.

How to use gray water to flush my toilet.

What have I accomplished?

I can only have hopes about what I might have accomplished. My first hope is that I have inspired some students out of the 500 I have taught while here in Ghana like some of my teachers have inspired me. Mr. Grant, Mr. Farnsworth, Dr. Wilson and Grady Spires all contributed to my love to learning, I hope I did that for some students here.

I hope that I have given a positive snapshot of an American to the people in my communities.

I hope one person listened to me when I said that America is not the Promised Land. There are poor people there. Immigrants struggle and often take the worst jobs. I hope they heard me when I said it’s good to travel to broaden your experiences but where ever you go there will be obstacles to overcome and challenges to face. (Maybe this sounds anti immigration but really most Ghanaians I meet here think if they go to America they will get rich and that all whites will be as good to them as those who come here with NGOs or volunteer organizations.)

And I hope the friends I made here will remember me as long as I remember them. Even though America is not the Promised Land I hope at least one of them can come to see my home as I have seen theirs.

My Peace Corps service has been an awesome adventure. Like all adventures it has had some rough spots but these have been three unmatchable years.

-vc

18 May 2011 – Vetting

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This evening we vetted the candidates for the prefectorial elections. Prefects are school leaders. There are various areas of leadership like the dining hall, the compound(or grounds), entertainment, and then the heads of the prefects the senior prefects. There is a male and a female for each position and then also an assistant for each position. These are elected positions but the candidates are screened or vetted before they are allowed to run. This is the way elections in Ghana are also held so this is a practical lesson in Ghanaian democracy.

The Headmaster, Senior Housemaster, Senior House Mistress, a representative from the teachers and me, a volunteer representative. We rated them on appearance, composure,verbal expression, knowledge and self confidence each aspect was worth 10 points. If the candidates earned an average of 25 pts or higher they were allowed to run for office. Although during the vetting the students were challenged that they didn’t follow the school rules they were not rated on this. Our headmaster once had a teacher who had faith in him, even though he didn’t follow all the rules, so this was applied to our vetting procedure as well.

The candidates were very different from American children. When they entered the room they greeted us, very quietly, then most waited until they were offered a seat.  After they were seated most waited with lowered eyes for the questions. Most had to be told more than once they needed to speak up so we could hear them.

The first candidate we interviewed, Vincent, surprised me. He was running for Senior prefect In class he is outspoken, often answering without being called on and eager to help other students in the lab. Here he set the pace for shy and quiet responses. He answered most of our questions with one sentence even when given a softball question – Tell us about yourself- he had very little to say.

My final score for him was 10 pts less than three of the other panel members.

Later on a boy, running for Dining Hall Prefect, came who looked us in they eyes while he waited for questions, spoke loudly as he answered the questions and said he wanted to be a doctor when asked his future plans. I scored him 10 pts higher then two of the other masters.

My cultural biases came through here. In Ghana respect, show by the lowered eyes, and humility, shown by not talking too much about your self are valued highly, even when going for a leadership position.

I am not sure all their shyness had to do with respect and humility because when i helped to vet the prefectorial candidates in Sandema the students were more outgoing. These JHS students are younger, self confidence usually grows from JHS to SHS. They High School students had a better command of the English language so spent less time understanding our questions and forming their answers.

Now that they have been vetted they will start their campaigns.

-vc

The photos in this post were taken after the fact. The head master saw me taking photos of the campaign posters and was so excited when I told him about blogging that he set up a mock vetting so I could also have photos of that.

-vc

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