The End

As I write this I’m back in my parents’ basement, watching new Parks & Rec, and constantly checking my iPhone.  I’d say I’m readjusting to American life just fine 🙂  Yet it’s still so hard to believe that I’m home and never going back to Ghana, at least not anytime soon.

The last bit of my time in Africa was absolutely incredible.  I was reminded how lucky I was to be not only in Ghana but my village of Sefwi-Nkonya.  The amount of appreciation the community showed me was unmeasurable.  Despite the many, many, many times they frustrated and pissed me off (don’t worry you Americans do it too) in the end I was truly blessed.  This was all exhibited in my sending off party.

On the 4th of July (no coincidence) we had my going away party in the village.  I was joined by 13 of my other Peace Corps Volunteer colleagues for a day of fun and celebration.  The official ceremony consisted of speeches, singing and dancing.  I was also presented with gifts.  I was given kente cloth and chief sandals.  These are very special in Ghanaian culture.  The cloth is handwoven on a loom and is quite heavy.  The designs are representative of different stories.  Mine related to a a group of warriors planning for battle and were taken by surprise.  They were then brought to a foreign land where they went to live as their new home.  This was supposed to represent me also leaving for Ghana to be my new home.

The next part came as a complete surprise.  I was enstooled as a chief of the village.  This is an honor that very few volunteers ever achieve.  I was named Nkosuohene which mean “Chief of Development.”  I was completely taken back.  So when it came time for me to speak I was at a loss for words.  All I could muster was a ridiculous number of thanks yous and I’ll miss yous.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating with the community and my colleages.  Which again reminded me how lucky I was to be surrounded by such great volunteers.  Everyone is so motivated and works so hard to help others it’s amazing.  Not to mention they know how to throw a good party.  This became even more evident when one of the PCVs I know married a Ghanaian right before I left.  The wedding was short and sweet but the reception was a perfect way to say goodbye to all my new friends.

The final few days in Accra also went well.  Standard interviews, medical appointments and paperwork along with seeing some friends for the final time in a while.  It was great to see some of the staff before I left, too.  While we all get annoyed with each other from time to time, they work their butts off for us and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The flights home were uneventful, minus my upgrade to premium economy!  My family greeted me at the airport, and we went straight to Portillo’s.  I got a Chicago style hot dog and an Italian beef dipped, of course.  Then there was a Phish philled weekend downtown which was just absolutely fabulous.

Now it’s home for the next week including a weekend trip to South Haven and then it’s off to Maryland!  I wish I was home longer but that’s the way life goes.  I want to say thanks to everyone who’s read this blog and supported me all through the past 2 years.  I could not have done it without you.  Everyone is welcome to visit me in College Park right outside Washington DC.  Until then take care!

Steve

P.S. I thought about a more reflective post but that would be impossible and go on forever.  If anyone ever wants to talk more feel free to contact me!

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