Sorry for the long delay in posts. I’ve been busy working with other volunteers as well as traveling. All has been well here in Ghana. I’m still loving the Harmattan (dry season). I’ve been seeing my breathe in the morning which I think is a welcome sight. The Ghanaians disagree, however, claiming it is too cold as they shiver everyone morning wearing coats and hats.
School has begun but still not all the students have reported. The solar power for the ICT Center has still not been fixed since a storm knocked it out around Thanksgiving. Apparently they have already replaced the unit twice due to faults. I have talked to the company and hopefully they fix it sometime soon. I was under the impression my NGO was taking care of it but that was false.
With this new year came high fuel prices which sent the costs of everything up. While not as high as Nigeria it certainly created an impact felt across the country. There was also a natural gas shortage conveniently when my stove runs out of gas for the first time ever. Luckily the natural gas came and fuel prices have dropped slightly but not to original levels.
My main activity recently was helping my neighboring volunteers teach HIV/AIDS as part of a football tournament. There were 4 teams each from a different village participating. The week before the tournament we went to each village to educate the teams (all made of males in their 20’s) along with community nurses. WE lectured them on basic facts and modes of transmission, led condom demonstrations, did role plays and a game show, and had an exit quiz. Afterwards the teams has to do a skit to educate their communities.
We felt that this part of the project went well. The players paid attention most o the time and even appeared to have fun (especially with the condom demonstration). The problems came at the actual tournament when a team was refusing to play because their opponent had players from other villages. Even though this tournament means nothing and is more about education they still want to win. Ghanaians don’t care about the competition or the spirit of the game they care about winning and getting a trophy. While the games did end up being played after one volunteer gave them an earful in the end the tournament never got finished because the Ghanaians ended up in a brawl over a “bad call” in the championship. Unfortunately we ended up leaving with the trophy the other volunteers made and the other prizes they were going to give out. No fighting was the one rule that was emphasized and the Ghanaians could not follow it. Almost every football match I’ve seen in Ghana has an involved a fight or argument. It’s truly sad that Ghanaians can’t get past the fact that it’s just a game. So while the project ended on a sour note we think in the end were able to reach some people and hopefully changed some lives and saved some babies.
Now I am at a hotel for a workshop with all the Natural Resource Volunteers from my group. Hot water, a pool, air-conditioning, satellite TV and good food are all included. There’s supposed to be free wifi but of course it’s broken right now. At this workshop we’ll review the first 4 months from site and how to move forward. We will learn how to write grants and how to get involved in more projects. I’m hoping to learn more about building latrines in my village because I’ve come to realize people are pooping in the wrong places e.g. my latrine, the disgusting/dilapidated school latrines, the school urinals, and also just on the ground in front of their houses.
That’s pretty much it from here for now. I’ll give another update after the workshop. The Africa Cup of Nations has also gotten under way. It’s essentially the World Cup but for Africa. Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are the two favorites to win so there is a lot of excitement in these parts. I hope everyone’s new years are going great. It looks like winter finally has it’s grip on Chicago and their sports teams are dominating. I’m definitely missing me some pond hockey.
P.S. I’ll post pictures next week or if this wifi is ever fixed.