pst bam

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It’s unfathomable that training is almost over. As far as i’m concerned, besides a couple very important peoples’s birthdays, the month of July didn’t exist. It feels like we just got to Ghana, but at the same time I’m definitely ready to get back some independence and get to my site. Training has had it’s ups and downs but mostly it’s just lasted too long. I’ll catch you up on what we’ve been up to: First I went to my site! I apologize in advance for not taking a single picture there, i’m not sure why i didn’t….. You’ll have to wait until September! Overall, the Upper East is beautiful. It’s still very green because it’s the rainy season, and it’s all savannah. It’s very “Lion King” minus all the exotic animals and plus a ton of goats. My school is right next to the Tongo Hills which are where the legendary topless shrine is located. In the other 3 directions from my house you can see for miles, which I love because pretty much every night there seems to be some kind of storm and lightening show on the horizen for me to watch. And when the storm is actually over my house it tends to be combined with violent winds and pelting rain. It’s a thrill every night. My house is 2 rooms – a sitting room/kitchen, and my bedroom. I have water in my compound and electricity, and I share a toilet and shower with another teacher and his family. I live on the school campus with a bunch of other teachers and families which is fun because it’s like a village in itself. Not to mention one of the teacher’s wives had just had a baby the day before I got there….that’s convenient!! My counterpart is a woman named Beatrice and she’s amazing, we are already the best of friends. She is one of the few female counterparts and is not afraid to speak her mind, which I love. Not to mention she’s a great dancer and likes to verbalize her love for me on a regular basis. I reciprocate. Sidenote: I’m writing this on my bed in my homestay at 8:09 at night and there’s currently a funeral parade going by which means about 45 minutes of amazing drumming and drunk people passing by my house loudly. Anyway, back to dancing. I, of course, ended up dancing with the students at the school the first day i was at site. Whenever I didn’t know enough sign language to finish a conversation I’d just start moving my body. Before I knew it the entire school was dancing in their free time, and teaching (or trying to) me some pretty cool Ghanaian dances. One of the older students is an amazing break dancer and apparently is a DJ when he goes home for holidays from school. He has some residual hearing so can lip read and talk a bit which I’m sure helps with his DJ’ing. I’ll try to get a video of him dancing up here sometime, it’s pretty amazing. What am i saying? I’ll be there for 2 years, i’ll definitely get a video of him dancing up, and becuase my blog is viral he’ll probably be the next youtube sensation. What is Peace Corps if not making youtube sensations out of deaf African children? I inherited 2 cats from the previous volunteer at my site! I already love them and we bond over sardines. Specifically, me being fed sardines by Ghanaians and then me feeding said sardines to the cats instaed. It’s a very mutualistic relationship. I also ate my first guinea fowl and eggs! Delicious and delicious. We have more of them than chickens so I’m lookcing forward to a lot of guinea fowl in my future. And my counterpart says we’re going to kill a chicken and a guinea fowl together so we can dissect them and she can show me where the gizzard is. I ate them and made the mistake of asking what part of the animal is was…oops. After site visit I stayed one night at the Peace Corps sub-office in Tamale where I had free internet (and neglected to update my blog, yes), and went to an Obroni Restaurant. Note: Obroni means “white person” so anything that sells anything remotely american or expensive is called Obroni. This restaurant had CHEESE! which i had them melt on FRENCH FRIES! YES! I HAD CHEESE FRIES IN GHANA! and I dare say I’ll have them again sometime. I also went swimming in a swimming pool which was neat. I then traveled to a small village in the Northern Region called Kpendua. No water, electricity or public transportation except market trucks that had killed someone from the village a week before we arrived. We were there to help the volunteer there with his PEPFAR (HIV Awareness) project. His project was making a feature film that included a storyline of a character being diagnosed with HIV and yada yada. It was a classic Ghanaian film, meaning very much like a bad soap opera, but it’s also pretty awesome because i’m in it and will probably make it to the big screens someday soon. This week was been one of my best so far, not only because the village was awesome, and there were two really cute babies we taught to say “I lub you” (video coming) that we hung out with all the time, but mostly because I got to eat my first rabbit! More delicious than guinea fowl, less delicious than cheese fries but the MOST delicious if it was ON cheese fries. We attempted to make pizza on the stove top and put the rabbit on it which ended up being different than Papa John’s but sweet nonetheless. We also helped out with the weekly baby-weighing in the village. EVery clinic has baby-weighing just to keep tabs on the babies and make sure they’re growing properly in their first couple years. It’s better in theory than it is in actuality. Everything is still hand written in books, so it’s nearly impossible to find records on each baby, and the number of children that come in is just pure chaos. It’s unbelievable to think how much the process would be facilitated by just one computer for record keeping but that’s a big stretch in a place with no electricity. Most of the mothers had no education at all and looked extremely young, but they all did a pretty good job at keeping their babies nice and fat! All except one baby were pretty plump and cute, and the mom’s would just hand them over for me to hold…awesome. That might be it for PEPFAR. Oh it was/is Ramadan. Happy Ramadan! Since then I have returned to my homestay and we are continuing to take language lessons and do techinical training. I have my language exam on Monday, but my trainer has already basically told all the signers that we’ve passed because we’re capable of having discussions on gender equality and political parties during class. They still haven’t told us who will be at swearing in, but it’s definitely someone official because they’re keeping the time and location top secret until the last minute. The Ghanaian president will definitely be there, does he count as a prince? I vote yes. Oh! and I have received questions about fufu. So fufu is a staple in the Ghanaian diet. It can be made with either yams, cassava or a mixture of the 2 (i prefer it with yams). They boil the chosen starch, then pound it until it’s a gooey paste. Then they give you a way-too-big portion, and you eat it with soup with your fingers. There’s definitely a method to eating it without making a fool of yourself but I have yet to master that. You’re not supposed to chew it, so you basically cut some off with your fingers, squish it around in the soup for a little and then swallow it. The first time i had it I hated it, but then overnight I decided I liked it and now get intense fufu cravings. I think fufu and i are at the beginning of a long a prosperous relationship. I will leave you with a list of why I’m luckier than other PCV’s. Hopefully they don’t read this list and get insanely jealous of me: – I haven’t seen an animal be killed yet (chickens don’t count) – My homestay mom serves me fruit and not just starch and weird meat – My homestay mom DOESN’T serve me snails or skin – I haven’t had a fever yet – I got to eat cheese fries – My mom sends me awesome dollar store post cards from the Canadian Rockies – At the time of writing this I have yet to join the “Club” (and elite group of PCV’s who just couldn’t get to the toilet in time… usually has 100% membership by the end of 2 years) – I get to have Godfrey as BOTH my language trainer and my assistant headmaster (I know you’re reading this Godrey! Are you gossiping about me? I’d tried to write that in twi but there’s no way I’d spell it right). Alright that’s all the news I’ve got for now. I’ll update shortly after swearing in or something. LOVE!