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.