Hurry up and wait

It’s interesting how little it takes to make me happy.

Case in point: I spent 4 hours with about 150 of my colleagues standing on an airport tarmac with nothing to eat or drink, waiting to see Barack Obama for 30 minutes. When he finally arrived, we were nothing short of ecstatic. When he mentioned the Peace Corps, we lost it. When he came around to shake hands, we *really* lost it.

Of course, my feet ached with a vengeance and my body was not happy about the whole lack of food or water, but this was one of the few times I was happy to be in Accra.

Accra, as most Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana will tell you, is not something you enjoy; it’s something you endure. Getting in is a pain (all the roads around it are in some state of perpetual construction/repair), getting out is a pain (Circle station just. plain. sucks.) and everything is at least 2x as expensive as the rest of Ghana. Its one redeeming quality would be the food you can get there — nothing takes the sting out of travel quite like a nice burger.

And now I’m back in Seikwa. I returned to a garden full of weeds, a house full of cobwebs, and a cat who let me know in no uncertain terms that she was *pissed off* about having to sleep outside for 3 weeks. Nevertheless, I was happy to finally sleep in my own bed and wear clothing other than the 3 shirts and 2 pair of trousers that I had taken on the road.

I also returned to a most pleasant surprise: the girl’s dormitory has electricity! After almost a year, I finally get a proper computer lab! I enlisted my students to help me clean out the room and move the computers down into it. All I need now is a couple of electrical outlets, and I’m in business.

The computer lab is one of those examples of the pace of life in Ghana, which I think is best described by the term “punctuated equilibrium”. It might take 6 months or more for something to happen — the construction of a building, the paving of a road, the digging of a well, or the arrival of new equipment — but when it finally happens, it happens fast. I’m told that sinking the power poles, stringing the lines, and connecting the building to the grid took about 3 days, and the electrical meters are due to be installed on Monday. It’s a complete departure from the rigidly-scheduled American way of life, where being 10 minutes late is cause for alarm, and despite being chaotically unpredictable, it somehow works.

Alright; time to make dinner and relax. Enjoy your weekends, everyone!

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I'm just this guy, you know?