Harmattan Continues

I’m back at my site after a few weeks on the road, and I arrived to a much welcomed view.  The two blocks of school latrines have been erected with only small details left to complete.  It has been a long, arduous process to get my community to contribute their share, and I was nervous of what I’d come back to see.  Hopefully by the end of this week both structures will be entirely finished and I can finally post pictures.  I know I’ve been slacking on the blog, but it has been months since I’ve posted any pictures.  I purposefully did this so I could post the pictures of the latrine project in their entirety.  The last step will be to have a community meeting to educate everyone how to properly use and maintain them.

As I said earlier, I was traveling to Accra to work on the Spelling Bee and take the Foreign Service Officer Test.  The Spelling Bee Finals were once again a great success!  We had 103 finalists from all over the country including two visually impaired students.  It was my job to escort one of those students around (sort of like a seeing-eye dog).  The boy I was with was thirteen, and it was his first time in the spelling bee.  He was so nervous the whole morning as he was practicing his words using a Brail word list.  On stage he got even more nervous, but when he got to the microphone he didn’t miss a beat.  He made it to the fifth round and came in the top sixteen!  The applause he got when he was finished was truly heartwarming and inspiring.  Not only was it a monumental moment in this boy’s life but for all of Ghana as well.  It was a testament that even the physically or mentally challenged can perform as well or better as the rest of society.  This is a lesson that Ghana is struggling to learn, but at least they are on the right track.

After the Spelling Bee, I dropped Jocie off at her site which is not too far from Accra.  The accommodations looked good, and there appears to be other volunteers always coming in and out.  She has already been working at a women’s clinic in the outpatient section taking vitals, giving immunizations and helping other nurses.  She hopes to be involved with delivering babies soon.

I then took the Foreign Service Officer Test.  This exam is for anyone who wants to be a Foreign Service Officer and work at an embassy.  The test consisted of many multiple choice questions and one essay.  The multiple choice sections consisted of history, geography, government, current events, management, English, and a biographical questionnaire about myself.  I won’t get my results for a few more weeks, but I’m not too optimistic.  The questions were very hard, and it takes most people a few times to pass.  Even if I do pass, I still have to write personal narratives.  If I pass those then I get an oral evaluation.  If I pass that then I have to clear medical and legal checks.  If I pass those then I have a final review.  If I pass that then I’m put on a list of names to possibly get hired.  As you can see it’s a long process so I’m not worried about my performance at this juncture.  I am glad I took it to at least get a feel for the exam.  Who knows maybe I aced it and I’m on my way to a career with the State Department.

Right after the exam I went straight to Kumasi to watch our office there for a few weeks.  It was nice to work on some things for grad school and start the process of getting myself a replacement volunteer for when I leave.  They would not come until December, but I will be long gone before then so I need to meet with the right people and fill the proper paperwork to get the ball rolling.

Now that I’m back in Sefwi-Nkonya I will see this latrine project finish and begin my replacement process.  There is another school sports gala in the neighboring town, so a lot of the kids and food vendors have gone there for the week.  There has also still been no rain in a few months which is normal but once March comes it should start.  However, it won’t be fully rainy season until April.

That’s it from my end.  The Ghana soccer team came in fourth place again at the Africa Cup of Nations after choking in penalty kicks in the semi-finals and then not caring about the third place match.  Certainly nothing like the Chicago Blackhawks (you’re welcome again for ending the lockout).  Still no news regarding grad schools but hopefully the next time I post I’ll know more.  Keep enjoying your white man’s winter!

 

Steve

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