All Quiet on the African Front

I know I know it’s been six weeks since my last post.  To be honest things have been pretty quiet over here.  Most of the work I have done has been on grad school applications and studying for the GRE.  Now the GRE is over (got a decent score) and my applications are mostly complete so I am coming into the home stretch.  My first deadline is December 15th so I plan to have them all submitted by that time.  The final list of schools is American, Arizona, Berkeley, Chicago, Indiana, Maryland and Notre Dame.  All the programs are related to development work in one way or another.  Again, if anyone has advice please feel free to pass it on.

The household latrine project is complete…almost.  All the latrines are built but we’re still waiting to have the educational meeting to discuss maintenance and sanitation.  The school latrine construction has also yet to begin.  The job was awarded to a contractor but his price is too high so we are working on that.  As they say in Ghana “It’s coming…”

I helped at two regional spelling bee finals and the kids did very well.  We even had two blind students advance to the national finals which is incredible!  Being physically handicapped anywhere in the world is difficult but especially here in Ghana.  Any impairment is viewed as a curse and you are treated as a second class citizen.  It is sad but the courage these kids have is amazing.  A few of my colleagues are teachers at schools for the deaf and they are doing some fantastic work.

For now, my immediate plan is to hold the meeting and at least start construction before I go home for the holidays.  I will also be going to some PCV villages way out in the boonies (even more remote than me) to show films and sign people up for CocoaLink.  We also have a new ambassador who will be hosting Thanksgiving at his house like the previous one.  This is one of the best days of the year as all volunteers get together to have a great feast.  While I haven’t met him yet the fact that he is doing this means a lot to us.  Although he is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) from Afghanistan so he knows our pain.  He was also the ambassador to Libya before he came here, and it was his replacement who was unfortunately killed in the attacks.

Luckily everyone is safe here even with the elections just a little over a month away.  There is more arguing than usual but no threats of violence to worry about.  I even met the Peace Corps security manager for West Africa and he’s not concerned at all.  PCVs in Sierra Leone are a different story with their impending elections, however.

Yes, I was did vote from here, as well.  I thought my ballot wasn’t going to come but low and behold it finally showed up.  I am registered in Illinois so even though it means nothing (thank you electoral college) it’s still a right we enjoy.  My newsfeed has been cluttered with political updates and opinions and reading from here it’s funny.  Everyone’s so concerned how if so and so wins then everything is ruined.  I can tell you right now no matter who is president America will still be America and it that is awesome!

Finally my 3G has been working great in my village and I have been streaming Notre Dame football games.  Yes it is “Posh Corps” but I love it!  It looks like I won’t be able to see my Blackhawks but as long as I can play my own hockey in Tower Lakes I’ll be fine.  Speaking of when I’m home, start to make elaborate plans.  I arrive the morning of Monday, December 17th and fly out the afternoon of Wednesday, January 9th.  With the exception of a few days in Michigan (25th-29th) I’ll be in Chicago ready to party!

That’s it from here.  Quiet like I said which is fine with me.  It’s a little bit of a lull in my service right now trying to make sure I get these projects complete but hopefully I’ll get some new things on the horizon.  Then before I know it I’ll be at home letting you all buy me food and drinks 😉

Steve

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