Saturday, November 21, 2009
I typically crawl out of bed at about 5:30 am, cursing the existence of goats, chickens, and alarm clocks. From 5:30 to 6:30, I clean the house in some capacity or do laundry. It's amazing how quickly things gets dirty here so I have to do some sort of cleaning pretty much every day. After getting ready for work by about 7, I walk to the market and get corn porridge for breakfast.
Around 7:30 I get to school. Officially school starts at 7:45 am but the students come early to sweep the compound and clean the classrooms. In practice, assembly can be anytime from 7:30 to 8:30. My classes are generally in the mornings so most days I’m done with teaching by about 10:30 am. I spend the rest of the school day working on the next days lesson plans, helping some of the kids with their schoolwork, or just hanging out with them and the teachers. At some point I get a quick lunch from the school canteen and get back to school in time for the closing bell, which can be anytime from 2 to 3 pm, depending on how the headmaster and teachers are feeling that day.
After school, a few of the kids will sometimes come over, to fetch water for me, ask questions, or just say hello. Twice a week, I’ve started to meet with some of the students at the school for the HIV/AIDS club I mentioned in my last post. The English teacher, Sammy, also wants to work with me on a debate and drama club that we’re going to start sometime soon, probably in the next week or two. I finally got my bike in working order so I’ve been going on bike rides occasionally later in the afternoon after it stops being unbearably hot, or I’ll do a bit of yoga, or workout in some capacity. In the early evening, I head over to the market again to get things for making dinner. If I’m feeling lazy and don‘t feel like cooking, I go and get an egg sandwich at about 8:30 pm and talk to all the drunk folks milling about town. After dinner, I’ll watch something on my laptop (thanks for stocking up my hard drive JP!) or read for a bit and go to sleep at about 10:30.
Saturdays are spent either going to Cape Coast for internet access and getting things I need for my house or visiting my closest Peace Corps neighbors. On Sundays, I usually keep to myself and turn down invitations to go to any of the 10 churches in town while evading questions about why I don’t go to church every week. People here get quite persistent about this.
So that should give you some idea of how I spend my days here. I know it’s not terribly exciting but there you have it :)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Another exciting thing about the end of the sports meet is that the students are going to be free after school closes and I can start the “health club” that my counterpart Alex and I have been talking about. The idea of the club is to teach the students about health issues, starting with HIV/AIDS then moving on to other things and eventually train a selected group of them as peer and community educators. We’re going to start by getting all the junior high/secondary school as well as some of the older primary school kids to come to the first session and take it from there. More on this to come.
The meet itself was a chaotic good time. The first day consisted of the track and field events. My students did quite well, finishing in the top three in a lot of the events and second overall. The next two days were soccer, volleyball and netball. The boys volleyball finished second in volleyball and first in soccer. The girls were eliminated in the first round in volleyball and were supposed to play for first place in soccer but, because of an alleged ringer on our team, they were disqualified. My actual teacherly duties consisted of occasionally herding groups of students from one place to another. Most of my time was spent walking around and taking pictures.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The house is pretty close to set up, just as soon as Kofi the Carpenter puts in my shelves, which he was supposed to do about a month ago. I spent a few days haggling and arguing with him, rather heatedly at times, and as a result we are now fast friends(seriously). It seems as if Ghanaians actually enjoy a good tiff, or at least Kofi the Carpenter does.
Classes officially started on the 15th of September. Day one was spent watching kids hack wildly at weeds with machetes, and day two was spent in a raucous worship session conducted by the teachers followed by more weeding. Thankfully, I was only asked to witness the supplications and not lead any of them or participate for that matter. This seems to be a trend by the way. The next Wednesday was just about exactly the same. I did get to do some teaching on day three finally. I’m teaching seven roughly hour long lessons a week for now, although my counterpart asked me to take over the form threes for math next term as well so that number might go up in a few months. During my first lessons with both classes I’m teaching, I gave my students a brief review of what they supposedly learnt last year. Turns out, they didn’t really learn much of it, so the first few weeks of term are going to be spent reviewing stuff. My form one class, to whom I’ll be teaching both math and science, is going to be a bit of a challenge. They don’t really understand English for one, and also it’s the classroom with no roof, so I’ll either be baking slowly under the sun or running frantically from the rain.. The form twos, to whom I’ll just be teaching math are a bit better at understanding me, so I’m pretty sure I can make at least some progress with them.
That is all.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This weekend, there was a festival in Cape Coast, which I went to for a day with some friends. It celebrates the end of slavery and is held every two years. There were chiefs paraded in palanquins, guys walking around on stilts, people dressed in colorful costumes, and also a monkey. I took some pictures.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Right now, things are pretty slow. I’ve been hanging out with some of my students who are attempting to teach me a mixture of Twi and Fanti, both of which are spoken in my village and only the former of which I actually know a bit. A couple of kids asked me to tutor them in math and physics so I’ve started doing that almost every day, provided I don’t have to go to Cape Coast to pick up stuff for the old homestead, or they’re not out farming.
I’ve also been spending at least a few hours a day outside the house interacting with the people, buying things at the market, and busting out my Twi, much to the amusement of everyone around. A good portion of people go out to farm during the day so the village gets pretty quiet, except at night, when there are boisterous church services into the wee small hours of the morning.
On an unrelated note, I’m going to start a garden so if anyone wants to send me stuff in the mail, basil, cilantro, spinach, jalapeño, and zucchini seeds would be greatly appreciated, as would any dried fruits, nuts, candy, or just about anything that can be made by just adding water. I’m also trying to get mobile internet at my site, which I think should be fast enough to use Skype on occasionally.
Anyway, you all should keep me updated on the goings-on out there and I’ll keep posting on here with at least some degree of regularity.
My host family