Moving Right Along

Progress!  Progress!  Progress!  Things are really moving along right now in Nkonya.  We have completed all 48 structures and have now begun roofing and plastering.  After that we just need to make the doors and have one final meeting on maintenance and sanitation.  There is still no word on the school latrines yet but I am under the impression that we will be able to start construction soon after completing this project.

It makes me so happy to see the community members all hard at work and motivated to complete this endeavor.  I know that many PCVs have problems with community mobilization for projects but that has not been the case here.  People are always asking me about the next step and appreciative of everything so I feel like I’m not really working at all.

The next project after the latrines will involve beekeeping.  Owusu has the materials but just needs the carpenter to build them.  With swarming season coming in September, I have told him to move quickly which he assures me he will.  There is a funeral for the chief’s brother in October so everyone is busy making preparations by renovating their houses.  Needless to say, all the carpenters and masons are in demand.  The chief’s palace, my next door neighbors, and the closest bar are all undergoing facelifts.

More good news, the volunteers from the region where the stabbing occurred have been cleared to return to their villages!  I know many of them have been yearning to go home so they are all quite excited.  While the situation was unfortunate we can’t let it stop our work and all the volunteers are in full support of returning.  It won’t be long until we hear great things coming from them I’m sure of it.

Last week I got some visitors from PCVs in another region of Ghana.  They are teachers on break right now so they are touring other Peace Corps villages and mine was the first stop.  We had a great time touring the town and checking out the latrines being built.  We even went out into the bush to where they make apoteshie (moonshine) and palm wine (less strong moonshine).  It essentially consisted of some old barrels and a distilling tube in a dirty pond.  The palm wine was pretty good though.  Very sweet and all the villagers were quite pleased with us hiking out there to sample the local brew.  Later on in the day some of my neighboring PCVs joined us for a movie night in the ICT Center.

The next day I went to a meeting for some volunteers in the Agriculture sector to plan for the next training group arriving in October.  We revised our sector’s overall project plan, knowledge/skills we need, and finally drafted a set of learning objectives.  Next month the trainers (both PCVs and staff) will meet to set the training schedule.

After this meeting I went to Accra for another meeting of the Volunteer Advisory Council.  One member from each region met with PC Staff to discuss a variety of volunteer issues.  This meeting happens three times a year.  Even though it lasted a little longer than we would like we talked about important solutions to make PC Ghana better.  It’s also nice to get to Accra (civilization).  We recently moved into a new office which I hadn’t seen yet and it’s definitely a much needed upgrade from the old one.  I also got my hands on a donated complete World Book Encyclopedia set from 2001.  Although a bit outdated, it’s certainly a great addition to my school’s library.

What lies ahead is finishing the latrines and what’s even more fun…grad school applications!  I was on the fence for a while but it seems to be more and more necessary.  Plus I get to keep putting off real life which I’ve been advised by my peers in the workforce.  I certainly don’t mind going back to college.  I’m applying to programs relating to International Affairs.  Peace Corps has confirmed my love for learning and experiencing new cultures so if I could make that a career I think I’d by one happy camper (even if it means having to take the GRE on October 24th).

I will still get to have a little fun in our PCV Fantasy Football League.  The draft is a week from today and I’m looking forward to it.  Since it is all volunteers in Ghana I think we’re on a level playing field for information week to week, but I will accept any and all insider info from you back home.  The same goes for grad school advice.

Lastly, a shout out to my cousin Devin and his new wife Meghan who got married in Gloucester, MA, yesterday!  I’m sorry I couldn’t make it but I wish you both the best and I promise I’ll make up for my absence when I come visit.  That goes for all the Burgoons in attendance this weekend.  I miss and love you all!

Steven

P.S.  If any of you have sent a letter since April, none of them have shown up.  I was even supposed to get my new debit card in the mail and that never came either so I think a bag of mail from the US went missing.  If you could resend any letters that’d be great!

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