The rainy season has returned. It’s rained twice in 24 hours. It also means my cell phone/internet provider now has a legitimate excuse for their consistently random service outages. MTN = Most Terrible Network.
Not that I’m, you know, bitter about that or anything. If it weren’t for the fact that so many people already have my number and it would be a serious pain to get the new one to them, I’d switch to Tigo in a heartbeat. Alas, I am restricted by my own popularity (which, consequently, is a phrase that has never been uttered by me.)
Some interesting things have happened since my last transmission from the trenches. I got asked to go talk to some art teachers, started assembling a small army of students, went to the North, and came back to the south. Let’s do an anachronistically-ordered list for old time’s sake, shall we?
(And yes, I am being rather exuberant with my choice of vocabulary. What of it?)
ITEM THE FIRST: EDUCATION OF THE DIRTY ART HIPPIES BY THE DIRTY ICT HIPPIE
As is typical of Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana, Art teachers are asked to wear many hats: many teach English or ICT in addition to/instead of Art. As a result, I was invited to come and present a session on teaching ICT and all of the fun ICT-related things you can do with Art at the Art Teacher’s Inservice Training. Handouts were dispersed, CDs full of open-source software were distributed, pizza was eaten*, and a good time was had by all.
It was a wonderful opportunity to see all the other dirty hippies that I didn’t get to see at my IST. It was also a good excuse for me to get away from site for a few days; I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but I was starting to get pretty burned out. Which brings me to…
ITEM THE SECOND: THE RECRUITMENT OF MINIONS
Being one of the only computer-literate people at the school makes me busier than a one-legged man at an… well, it makes me busy. It often requires me to be in at least 3 places at once. In order to reduce some of my burden and introduce some good ol’-fashioned experiential learning into my school, I have selected/appointed/volunteered some of my students to help me run the computer lab. Basically, the idea is that if I’m not around, they can open the lab, answer questions, record names for credit, and shut everything down at night.
So far, it appears to be working pretty well. I can sit in the lab, write lesson plans, and answer the occasional advanced question while they keep order. Not that there’s a lot of rowdiness involved with teenagers using computers (more sloth), but it’s still nice not to have to answer student questions and staff questions at the same time.
ITEM THE THIRD: THE DISTANT NORTH, AND ALL OF THE JEWELS THAT CAN BE FOUND THERE
Last weekend, I went north of the White Volta, which (if you listen to them, anyway) is where all of the *real* Peace Corps Volunteers are assigned. You see, the northern 3 regions of Ghana are incredibly impoverished places, as well as being really hot. So, not only do you suffer from the heat, you suffer from the lack of things you need, like chalk, computer equipment, electricity, etc. And since Peace Corps Volunteers love to compare how much they suffer, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll eventually be out-suffered by someone from the Upper East, Upper West, or Northern Regions**.
I had two reasons for visiting the North. The first was to drop off the ICT Software Repository and redo the ICT bulletin board at the Tamale Suboffice (that’s TSO for those of you playing the Peace Corps Acronym Game at home). The second was Caroline.
Now, those of you who are quick on the draw realize that this is now the third message in which I’ve mentioned her name. You’re also probably realizing the significance of last Saturday’s date. Allow me to save you some inquisitive email: yes, we’re dating. Yes, she’s awesome. Yes, she’s as nerdy, if not nerdier, than I am. I liiiike her.
We cooked, we worked on nerd stuff, we went out for hamburgers on Valentine’s Day (you know you’re in Peace Corps when anything resembling American fare can be considered a romantic meal), and we exchanged gifts. Again, a good time was had by all.
Alas, the weekend ended, I was forced to return to my site, and she hers. Nonetheless, I feel recharged and ready to educate the students in my care.
And now, here I sit, once again procrastinating in folding and putting away my laundry. I might just open up the DVD collection and watch a movie, natch. I hope you’re all staying warm out there. Until next time…
*The Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General is in Ghana doing a performance review of sorts, which means that there’s an OIG inspector traveling about and interviewing some of my colleagues. It just so happens that the OIG inspector was at the KSO at the same time I was, and invited everyone that was standing around out to pizza — her treat. Seeing as free food — nay, free AMERICAN food — was involved, I jumped on that opportunity like a flea on a dog.
For those of you who speak internet, all I can say is OMG OMNOMNOMNOMNOM WIN KTHXBAI.
**Personally, I think we’re all closet masochists.