— When I think about my life in America pre-Peace Corps, I can’t recall questioning everything I did at all times like I so often do here. Of course, I do remember feeling discontent because I needed to go and do and be something bigger than anything I’ve known before. Here, I find myself putting a horse on top of another one at all times. Instead of going out and simply LIVING and being present in the crazy and interesting experiences that are possible any given day, I feel stuck in my mind. I analyze WHY or WHY NOT for every action I take to the point of madness. In these last 5 months of my service, I am going to live my days as they come, without examining or obsessing over what I could have or should have done; I’m doing the most that I can at this time and I need to trust that.
After having been in Ghana for a year and a half, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many Ghanaians from every part of the country. I am always entertained by the variety and rarity of people’s names, especially when they are the name of a particular virtue. I’ve compiled a list of some of my students’ names and also other people I’ve met:
—-love (e.g. Queenslove, Jeslove, Christlove)
I was invigilating (proctoring) final exams this morning. After I had walked around watching my students for an hour, I settled on a window ledge towards the back of the great hall. Saw something moving in the corner of my eye; on the window ledge, 1 foot from the back of one of my student’s heads, was a live bat squirming around.
Welp, don’t want to cause a disturbance so I’ll just…. walk away.
After the success of the water sachet hammock I made, I continued making them with the children who live close to me as well as with my students. I was SO HAPPY when I found out that one of the girls I taught the method to had created something of her own… a hammock for a baby!
It is creative thinking like this that I try to instill in the students that I teach; creativity is so often overlooked or ignored in Ghanaian schools, yet it’s a quality that is so important to foster in the future generations. Every country has it’s problems that will be best remedied by citizens who can think of innovative solutions.
I thought it’d be funny to give a play-by-play of my day today. Also, I’m bored.
5-8 AM: Woke up sporadically due to roosters going apeshit. We get it, the sun has risen.
8:30 AM: Dragged myself out of bed (it’s my day off from teaching at 7 AM so I slept in late) and made coffee. Real coffee. Thanks Mom for the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Christmas package! Ate bananas and groundnuts because I’ve become Ghanaian and can’t eat one without the other now.
8:45 AM: Got water from my barrel to wash my face & brush my teeth.
9 AM: Finished reading The Grapes of Wrath.
11:30 AM: Got dressed and walked down to campus.
12-2 PM: Taught my class for 2nd years while sweating profusely.
2:15 PM: Walked down the road to buy phone credit to text my friend back. Primary and JHS students just closed from school so I was attacked- never a bad thing because they’re nuggets.
2:30 PM: Walked to my friend’s shop to try to get something printed, but the power went out.
3 PM: Got back to my house, handwashed my sheets and curtains (Harmattan gets dirt and dust in absolutely everything!)
4 PM: Ate some porridge while helping students with personal computer issues. Fixed the webcam issue that keeps happening on Windows 7 and figured out some stupid Bluetooth thing. My students are obsessed with Bluetooth on their phones/computers if they have one, but it seemed to be a short phase in America when it was actually popular. Therefore I don’t really know what I’m doing.
5 PM: Practiced head stands. Seriously.
5:30 PM: Decided to torture myself with an Insanity workout. Shaun T is a terrible human and kicks my ass. I’ve been trying to work out more since every day some one tells me “Yaa, you have grown very fat!!! What are you eating?” In Ghana it’s not an insult, just an observation. But from the view of an American female, it’s quite possibly the worst thing to have someone say to you while looking you up and down. I usually respond with something like “I’m training for a fufu-eating contest.”
6:28 PM: Thought about bathing, and then realized I don’t have any water to do that today.
6:30 PM: Heated up the kontomire stew I made yesterday and made some pasta to eat it with. Nommmmm.
6:50 PM: Went next door to ask the twins (Joseph and Josephine) what kind of birthday cake they want me to make. After realizing that my neighbors have an oven I’ve been baking a cake for every child’s birthday and they love it! (They want a chocolate cake so I have to go to market tomorrow and buy some cocoa)
7 PM: Started watching Seven Pounds and then got depressed and decided to do some lesson planning.
10 PM: On tumblr, writing this now.
I think some people may have ideas that as a Peace Corps Volunteer you are adventuring/holding babies/breaking down cultural barriers/dancing with the villagers every day… which is, I’m sorry to say, not true. But, I enjoy days like today because it shows me that I’m truly living my life here not as a tourist or a stranger to my community, but as a teacher/friend/”auntie”/coworker who just happens to be an American.