That time of year is rapidly approaching. Holiday shoppers, carolers, trees, and lights all abound…well not quite. Yes Christmas in Ghana is certainly different. Looks like it won’t be a white Christmas but at least I can wear shorts.
Since Thanksgiving it’s still been pretty low key. I’ve been teaching still and working with my neighboring volunteers. In the official syllabus I am supposed to teach the kids how to access and use email so I inroduced them to email, Facebook, and Google. They were very impressed and hopefully we can get internet at the computer lab so they can practice. We also tried to Skype but my connection isn’t good enough. That certainly would’ve blown their minds.
That same day a hunter killed a monkey in the forest so he showed me how to prepare it. I didn’t end up eating it but I am told it’s “very sweet.” Maybe I’ll try it next time. Supposedly a hunter killed two gorillas two years ago. Not sure how true that is but it’s certainly possible.
We also had a graduation ceremony for an adult literacy group. They all learned how read Twi and do basic math. They were all very proud it was a great site to see. A VP of one of the NGO’s visited from the US so it was nice to talk to her.
Another Peace Corps Volunteer came to my village and showed HIV/AIDS and family planning videos. The turnout was fantastic! We showed them in the ICT Center which actually turned out to be too small which is a good problem to have I guess. The speakers were also not working so we had to use my laptop speakers but if everyone was quiet you could still hear. The videos were in Twi and they were comprised of little skits which I think the Ghanaians enjoyed.
The next night we went to another volunteer’s village and had similar success. We showed it outside and many people came. After we were finished with the videos we showed the Avatar. Needless to say they were thoroughly blown away. Even though they had no idea what people were saying the visual effects impressed them. Overall I now have a better understanding of how to set up presentations in my village and definitely plan for more in the future.
Yesterday I went to a festival put on by the King of the Ashanti people. The Ashanti is a very large tribe with its king being the most powerful chief in all of Ghana. The ceremony was the various chiefs from all over the country greeting and presenting gifts for him. It was very cool seeing the various tribal colors and entourages of drummers and horn players. It was very “African.”
Now I am going to begin work on a project to record my local dialect (Sefwi) for audio language training tapes. An older volunteer started a project and his goal is to record all the languages and dialects in Ghana. He hopes that this program can even spread to other countries. It serves as a teaching aid but also as way to preserve these languages for the future. Not many people speak some of these dialects and there are no written records so to record them would be pretty cool. I’ll probably do the majority of the work after the holidays. Recently I was also asked to write a blog post for the World Cocoa Foundation so when that gets posted I’ll put up the link for that.
It’s hard to believe that I have now been here for six months! Time really flies and I’m sure it will only begin to move faster. At the end of this week I will go to the beach with another volunteer to relax and perhaps work on his research project. He’s studying the coconut industry of coastal villages. After that I’ll come back to site for a few days before I take off for the North where I will spend my birthday/Christmas in a national park with elephants and hippos. New Year’s Eve is still up in the air but I have plenty of time to figure that out.
I’m certainly missing everyone back home especially this time of year but I’ve made great friends and have new family here now as well. I don’t know if I’ll post again before the big day so Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to you all!
P.S. A teacher in my village wants a pen pal from the US so if anyone is interested please email me (email@example.com) your address so he can send the first letter. I think it will be pretty cool and involve little effort. He and I would greatly appreciate it.