Saturday, November 15, 2008

On making it through another week

Another long week has passed. It’s been quite a drama-filled week too. The first trainee to go home left this week. I’m not going to go into the details – we’re all pretty bummed to see him go. The moral of his tale is don’t get involved with members of your host family. I think I’ll just leave it at that.
The other major issue I had to deal with this week was the lack of funds in the Peace Corps coffers. The budget for Peace Corps/Ghana has not been increased in several years, despite inflation and the rising cost of food and transportation. So when PC needs to give us our weekly allowance, the cash is not always there. We were supposed to get paid last Friday but no money was sent up from Accra. We ended up having to wait until this Friday to get our $2/day. Now, I know we’re supposed to be living near the poverty line and all, but I find it incredibly irritating that they just didn’t give us anything at all for an entire week. Luckily we get our meals for free during training. But there are other expenses that simply can’t be avoided. Take toilet paper. One roll is 40 pesawas (100 pesawas=1 cedi). That’s more than the cost of a taxi to New Tafo. So when I found myself facing the choice of either getting to the Hub Office to maybe get paid or buying something soft with which to wipe, it was difficult to decide. It’s a good thing I had a lot of notebook paper lying around.
On the plus side, Marion and Alan returned yesterday. Marion’s mother passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago, so PC sent her home for two weeks. Her husband Alan went with her. They confirmed their awesomeness by bringing freshly baked cookies and several newspapers and magazines with them when they returned. Marion said she’d help me with baking the pies for our Thanksgiving potluck (since I live with the baker, I’m lucky enough to have access to an oven). I think we’re going to go with chicken instead of turkey, since turkeys are so expensive and we’re all broke. There has been talk of a roast pig though - one of the environment volunteers is staying with a pig farmer. Of course, that may just be wishful thinking.
Monday we’ll be meeting our counterparts, who are coming to town for a workshop. Then we’ll all go with them to our individual sites. I’m planning on taking as much of my stuff as possible with me, as I’ll have my counterpart to help me. After that, there’s just two weeks more of training before we swear in. Fun times.
Okay, I have to go to Addo Nkwanta now – the environment PCTs are having a cross-sector demonstration for us. As we say in Gonja, “To, kamanto!” (“We’ll meet again!”).

PS – Here’s a funny anecdote I have to share. I was walking down the path with one of the Ghanaian trainers when she says to me, “Wow, look at that huge cock!” She was of course speaking of the big rooster standing on a porch nearby, but I couldn’t help but laugh on hearing these words come from an elderly woman’s mouth.

1 comment:

Connie said...

Hi Hannah! Hope you are enjoying Peace Corps so far. I remember feeling really drained during training but once you get to post things are so much better! You actually feel like an adult again without people telling you what to do and where to be all the time...haha. Have a great African Turkey Day!

- Connie