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
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