Greetings from the middle of Ghana’s Brong-Ahafo Region. I have returned home after a long week of conferencing, flip-charting, group discussions, and unexpected productivity. I made some friends, pissed some people off, got some really good ideas, slept too little and danced too much, and enjoyed myself.
This week’s All-Volunteer Conference was organized around the subject of HIV/AIDS, but the most useful and productive things (in my opinion, anyway) happened outside the sessions. I’ve taken over the position of ICT Think Tank Coordinator, which means that I’m now responsible for coordinating all volunteer-related ICT needs and technical support. When I wasn’t in sessions, I was fixing computers, talking to people, making plans for future ICT projects, and getting to know all of the volunteers I didn’t know from all over the country. We also had a prom and an entertainment night, which made for some very entertaining and enjoyable times. I also played more cribbage this week than I have ever played in my life. No joke.
I also was able to take some time and visit my host family from PST. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I walked into the courtyard. I only got to see them for a few hours, but it’s amazing how strong the bonds are that tie people together. We talked, we laughed, we ate fufu together, and then I went back to the conference.
I did get some bad news: the Ghanaian presidential election was undecisive. By law, a candidate must take at least 50.1% of the vote in order to win. If no candidate gets at least 50.1% of the vote, the highest two vote-getters go to a run-off election. In this case, the run-off is 3 days after Christmas. Because there have been some minor issues of election-related conflict in Ghana, and because of a long and strained history of election violence in Africa in general, Peace Corps scheduled the conference during the election so that they could be sure of our whereabouts. Because the election has gone into a run-off, Peace Corps has decided to put us on standfast for 10 days beginning on the 24th and ending on the 2nd of January. Standfast means that we stay at site with no travel unless explicitly pre-approved by the Country Director. It wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for the fact that Christmas falls inside that period of time. I didn’t have any big Christmas plans, anyway, but I was looking forward to the ones I did have because they involved good friends and bacon. Mmmmm, bacon.
Anyway — now, we return to our regularly scheduled life, already in progress. I have 3 final exams to write and grade before heading to Accra for Barcamp Ghana, and then heading *back* to site for the 10-day standfast period. As ridiculous as this sounds, I’m kinda looking forward to it. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve been putting off here at site, a lot of projects I’ve been meaning to do, and I have been travelling way too much on behalf of Peace Corps. All I want to do is stay home, walk around, talk to my colleagues, and do as much nothing as possible. Sometimes, the most powerful things are the most simple.
That’s all I’ve got. Talk to you next week.