In which our intrepid hero becomes a bonafide hippie and enjoys a beer

That’s right. I’m now an honest-to-God Peace Corps Volunteer, worthy of my
Birkenstocks and everything. I took my oath on Tuesday, the 19th of August,
2008 at approximately 10:45am. The ceremony wasn’t all that grand of an
affair, but it wasn’t exactly a slouch, either: we had a brass band and a
group of us presented some traditional African drumming and dancing.

I played the cowbell, which is the equivalent of the conductor’s or
bandmaster’s role in Western music. The¬† cowbell ties all of the other drums
together, and helps to make order out of what would other be a chaotic mess.
It was loud and happy. As soon as I talk to Patrick, who has one of the most
awesome digital cameras I have ever seen, I’ll get some pictures up.

Tuesday night also marked another milestone: my first African beer. On a
lark, I decided before I left for Ghana that I wouldn’t drink anything with
alcohol until after I swore in. The benefit of that decision was that the
Castle Milk Stout that I had tasted *really* good.

Ghanaian beer – Castle, Star, Stone, Guinness Foreign Stout, and Guilder are
the major varieties — is 6-8% alcohol by volume and is sold here in 22
ounce bottles (that’s about 750ml for those of you playing the metric game
at home). It took me one Castle and a rum and Coke to get a very nice buzz

Wednesday morning was our last event as a group — a farewell breakfast,
after which we all took off for our sites. I got to Kumasi, spent about 3
hours downloading email, uploading pictures, and helping a friend set up
their computers for the wireless at the Kumasi sub-office (the more things
change, the more they stay the same). I also spent that time waiting for my
obruni lunch to be delivered — a double cheeseburger with french fries
which was well worth the wait.

With a cheeseburger consumed, Andrew happily enjoying internet access, and
nothing else to do, I said my goodbyes and made my way to Kejetia station,
which is the station I go to in Kumasi to get a trotro to my site, and which
also happens to be the biggest station in Ghana. Words don’t do it justice,
but just imagine a Greyhound bus station, taxi stand, and tailgate party all
rolled into one that is the size of a football stadium and is surrounded by
traffic circles and high-rise buildings. It’s incredible.

And now, I find myself at site. I got in late last night, made myself some
macaroni and cheese, boiled a gallon of water to hold me over until morning
(my water filter hasn’t made it yet — boiling and bleach for the time
being), and promptly went into a tidy little coma.

I woke up this morning at 8am, fell promply back asleep simply because I
could, watched movies on my laptop, got out of bed at the crack of noon, and
hauled water. I spent the rest of the day deciding where everything  is
supposed to go, and carrying things from room to room as a result. Tomorrow
is market day, which means that I will go to the town market with my wallet
and a list of things I need for making the house comfortable and happy, and
return with full hands and an empty wallet. You may expect a full report
next week.

A quick note on the subject of pictures: I had planned to upload a bunch of
pictures, as well as every email I’ve sent to this list, to my blog when I
got to the Kumasi sub-office. However, because no plan survives first
contact with the enemy, and because everybody who arrived at the KSO had the
same idea that I did, the internet connection slowed to a crawl and was only
useful for email and some token web-browsing. They’re coming. I promise.

Tune in next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. (Holy pop culture
reference, Batman!)

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I'm just this guy, you know?