Trick or treat! I will definitely be missing out on the Halloween festivities here. To answer everyone’s question right here right now, no they do not celebrate Halloween over here. Some volunteers throw their own parties but there aren’t going to be any close by me. It looks like I’ll be going to a nearby village with the two volunteers close by and we’ll have our own fun.
The meeting in Accra went very well! Various stakeholders for my project were there including representatives from the Ghana Cocoa Board, one from Hershey’s (RPCV Ghana ’82-’84) and World Cocoa Foundation (RPCV Burundi ’80-’82). Hershey’s is the sponsor for the project with WCF as the main implementing partner. The Ghana Cocoa Board is also crucial as they oversee all cocoa activity and regulation in the country. They are pleased with the progress made thus far and are excited for the future. My role will be to spread the word signing up for villages and farmers. I have already talked to my two aforementioned colleagues and both their communities are interested.
Aside from the meeting the trip as a whole was good. I got to meet up with other volunteers in Kumasi so it was nice to hear how they are doing. It sounds like a lot of them are having tougher times than I am. I don’t know if it has to do with their attitude or maybe I just got really lucky with my site. Some had housing issues or issues with their supervisors. I certainly can’t complain in either department.
I finally got a package from my parents containing some great goodies including a hard drive full of movies and a Kindle. Hopefully this doesn’t result in me staying in my room reading and watching movies all day.
Accra was also great as I got to meet more volunteers and eat some American food (pizza and chicken wraps). I definitely don’t get nearly the attention there as other places because they’re used to white people. In fact I’d see some multiple times a day! I also got the royal treatment from my NGO who paid for a hotel one night and gave me a per diem for two days equivalent to over two weeks of my monthly stipend! I actually calculated out my monthly stipend and after converting to dollars I am expected to live on about $7 per day. Now many of you may think that number very low but it’s actually plenty. I’m living closer to $5 per day.
Well after my Halloween extravaganza tonight I will go to market tomorrow and then just teach the rest of the week. The new computers are set up which is nice but whenever the power goes out then only the five that run on solar power will work. I will need to figure out how to teach using all computers and then switching to five on the spot. Hopefully I will start teaching organized night classes at some point as well. One thing I have noticed is that yes many students to come to the computer lab outside of school hours to practice but they’re all boys. Girls never come. I assume this is because they must all help with chores but that doesn’t make it right. I plan to figure out a way to solve this issue but it will probably take some time. But going from sad to happy, a student came to my room last night for extra help in English! He kept saying he would come and I naturally didn’t believe him but sure enough he came. Could this be that one child’s life that I have an impact on?
Have a Happy Halloween and bring on November!