In which I age.

In the words of Mark Twain: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” I apologize for the sizeable gap between the last missive and this one; I’ve had a bit of a cold, and the… creative definition of timeliness in Ghana seems to be growing on me.

Today marks a quarter-century of me. I apologize to everyone who suddenly feels older due to reading that.

It’s been a quiet, hectic couple of weeks here in my little town. School is well underway, computers keep dying due to the dust and heat, the rainy season has finally returned, and I’m slowly but surely building up my lab.

Last you heard from me, I was in Kukurantumi. We were in the full swing of the harmattan, which means that the rains disappear and dust and dryness are carried to us on the winds off the Sahara. It covers everything in dust and makes carrying water an even-bigger chore, and conserving water an even-bigger necessity.

I returned to a school awash in students, all eager to learn and have practicals (as they call computer lab time here). The typists were valiantly trying to type on dying computers, I had no lesson notes to speak of, my lab needed serious work, and I was feeling completely and utterly swamped.

Thus, I finally swallowed my pride, told my American sense of independence and self-sufficiency to take a walk, and learned, as a wise colleague puts it, “the necessary art of student delegation”. I’ve actually started enlisting some of my students to help me carry water in exchange for computer help or extra time on the computers. I have appointed lab prefects to help me herd students during practicals time, and I have even started sending students to market for me if I’m really lacking in some necessary staple like peanut butter, tomatoes, or phone units. It sounds small, but it makes a huge difference and has allowed me to do the following:

– write and plan lessons at least 1 week out
– research, propose, buy, and set up new(er) computers in the typing pool
– do all of the paperwork that Peace Corps has sent me
– finish the replies to my Coverdell classroom (that’s right, kids: you get responses by the end of the day TODAY)

Sunday marked the end of the dry season with a frightfully large thunderstorm, a *ton* of rain, and a power outage. The electric company spent most of yesterday fixing the lines, and when the lights finally came back on, we had to deal with several hours of “go-come” — lights flicker out, then flicker back on again. I tried — quixotically, one might say — to hold practicals, but eventually just gave up, rearranged the lab to fit two more computers, added some grades to my grade book, and sent students home with a promise that I would open the lab for a few hours on Tuesday evening. Lights were back on this morning, so I guess I have to follow through with that promise.

And with that, I go to get ready for my day. Enjoy yours, everybody!

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I'm just this guy, you know?