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

Advertisements

14 July 2011 – Turning the Tables

Today I proposed to a Ghanaian man!

Werner, my German friend, and I went to the bead market in Kofftown(Koforidua). We went our separate ways but found each other at the T.K. Beads tables. I love these tables because you can find melted glass beads, powdered glass beads, and painted glass beads in all colors of the rainbow. There must be 15 sq ft of tables filled with beads.

We chatted with the owner and purchased some beads. Then I asked if he knew where I could find the Ashanti brass beads. He took me to three tables across the aisle from his table. I found some nice individual pieces as well as three strings of brass beads. I went over to Werner, at the table next to mine. The owner of T.K. Beads came to check on us. Werner asked about old beads. They were at the table to the right of the Ashanti beads.

I thanked the T.K. Beads owner for his help even going as far as to take us to other trader’s tables. He waved his right arm, collecting all tables on his right and left in a arc and said “These are all my tables.:

Bead lust over came me and it blurted out “Will you marry me!”

Oh my his face was so shocked! Ghanaian men can sure dish it out but they can’t take it. He stuttered once or twice then composed himself, pointing to the woman behind the old beads table he said “But this is my wife!”

I looked at her and we both laughed. Then with a twinkle in her eye she said “Oh but in Ghana we can do it. He can have two wives here.”

I told her that her husband looked like a rich man with all these tables of beads and I needed a rich man. I hugged her and called her my sister wife. Then the negotiations began. I wanted to know who would do the cooking. The junior wife does the cooking and I didn’t want to be cook or junior wife. When she said I had to cook I said the marriage was off! I told her that pounding fufu was too hard for a white lady. The husband joined in and said I would get strong, then the wife said I could make the soups and she would pound fufu.

We haven’t set the date yet but you are all invited!

(Only kidding, Mom, Liz, Becca, Beth. I am coming back to the US for sure and with no husband in tow.)

-vc

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

26 Aug 2011 – Last day of COS(Close of Service)

It’s with bittersweet memories that I end my service with Peace Corps. I am now officially called an R(eturned)P(eace)C(orps)V(olunteer) but as I am still in my country of service and not returned to the USA I feel like I am in limbo. Georgette says it’s like Peace Corps Purgatory! Now I am an American tourist in Ghana. Weird feeling I must say. Already the prices seem cheaper than when I was a PCV!

I didn’t have much to do today – an exit interview with the Country Director, Mike Koffman, a meeting with Bob Gingrich, the Administrative Officer, and I collected my travel reimbursement for coming here.

During my two interviews I discovered that what I felt was my greatest accomplishment happened in the toughest part of my service.  When asked by both the CD and Mary Norah I felt that working with Eric Mintah and transfering my skills and knowledge to him was my greatest accomplishment. He was my co-teacher at BASCO.

I’ll close this post with a picture of the memorial rock they painted for me at BASCO.

 

RPCV

Vicky Chase

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

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

One day in December – Crème Caramel My Turn

 Ever since Thanksgiving I wanted to make Crème Caramel. Twice I bought the eggs and ended up using them for something else. Today was finally the day.

 Last night I took the top off two Ideal Milk cans and let them soak in warm soapy water. This morning they were sparkling clean and ready for the burned sugar and custard. So was I.

 I collected the ingredients and laid them out on my cooking table. First I set the water to boil. Then I beat the eggs and sugar with a fork. Oh how I wanted a wire wisk. The eggs were somehow frothy when I added the milk to them.

 Then I remembered I should have burned the sugar. While the sugar was carmelizing I greased the milk tins and the notebook paper with Moi margarine. It is by far the best margarine in Ghana.

 I poured the carmelized sugar into the tins. The margaine melting made a lovely pattern and gave the sugar a sheen. Then I put the custard in. I folded a napkin (Dish towel) and put it in the bottom of the pan with the boiling water. Then put the filled milk tins on the dish towel.

I set my alarm for 30 minutes, grabbed a book and sat in my favorote chair. I could hardly wait.

The alarm rang. They were finished. Hot as the tins were I managed to loosend the sides and dump the crème caramel out on to a plate. All along I had been documenting the process with my camera. As you can see from the last picture taking photos was not the first thing on my mind.

 -vc

2 March 2010 – The heat is on

2 March 2010 – The heat is on

Today it is so hot that:

 My chapstick melted in its tube and it was in my house, out of the sun.

 I made tea with the water in my water filter.1

 My M&Ms turned into M&M.

 I boiled a lobster in my solar heated water barrel.2

 I sat with two wet hankies on my thighs while marking papers.

 The sand in front of my house turned to glass.3

 I used  AAA4  last night for the first time.

 My new teakettle has melted Daliesque all over my stove.5 

 It took me three times as long to walk to class what with walking slower, stopping in ANY shade and frenquently drinking from my water bottle.6 

 1. Ok so tepid tea but it was warm! and it too, was not, in the sun today.

 2. We don’t have lobster here in the north but when I put my hand in to get water I pulled it out quickly! I love my solar water heater! A blue barrel with a black top. I put it outside and the afternoon sun heats the water.

 3. Well no, not really.

 4. American African Airconditioning (see post last March).

 5.No not really. I just wanted to mention my new tea kettle that my wonderful sister-in-law, Melanie, sent to me recently.

 6. My freezer is a wonderful thing. I put a half full Dr. Pepper bottle in the freezer. I lay it on its side, the top elevated slightly to avoid frozen water in the mouth. Then when I go somewhere I fill it the rest of the way with water from my filter.  I have ice cold water for about an hour during this hot season and up to 3 hours in the rainy season.

-vc

« Older entries