Monday, July 13, 2009
The western region is experiencing the worst rainy season it’s had in the past ten years this year. Everything is beginning to flood! This picture is a picture of my landlord, Ataku’s, farm it has flooded and the plants are all dying. Many people are beginning to loose their farms. Nzulezo, the village build on stilts above the lake has flooded. All it’s residents are still living there, fortunately the water has not become unbearable there yet. Many homes are starting to flood slowly as the water rises a few inches every day. The only road to my market town has washed out and can't be passed by cars now. The only other way out of my village the water has risen to the cars bumper. I hope I will be able to make it back to my village. It’s hard to see natural disaster happen in areas that already struggle just to get by.
My landlord is doing well. 2 weeks ago his pig had 10 babies so he was very excited after trying to have them for over a year. He was very disappointed when all 10 babies died within 3 days of their birth. Ataku says it was because of the rain, I guess he was right because 2 days after they died their pens were flooded. The water is now 20 feet off my back porch.
Enough of the sad news! The village is starting to fish again! The first of the boats are starting to go out and the fish that have been pulled in are amazing. They are the largest catches I’ve seen since I came here. It’s so exciting! When the nets are pulled in the whole village goes to see what the catch is like this year.
The kittens are doing fine, getting big and becoming trouble makers. They should both have new homes by now but the Ghanaian who promised to take Lucky is still in Cote D’Ivory. The kittens recently moved outside after a life in my room. My room is about 12X12 and its just too small for 3 cats and me. The liter box became too much to keep up with and my rooms was starting to smell. The kitten are able to climb on my bed now so I would wake up to liter box sand in my bed and cats attacking my feet. The mother cat got in the habit of brings rats into my room in the middle of the night. After 5 nights straight of waking up to throw the dead rat outside and her dragging it back in several times I had had enough. One of the final straws that broke the camels back was when I came home from work to little white paw prints all over my room. The kittens found their way on to my desk and got into the ashes from the mosquito coil I burn every night and had a ball. So they are now outside and they come to my window and cry for hours for me to bring them in. Its heart breaking but they are getting used to being outside. They are still adorable and come in every now and again for a few hours.
Yesterday was the grand opening of our visitor center in Ebonloa. We had been planning it for months and finally it is over and every second of it was difficult. We spent weeks preparing for the opening, painting, weeding, and preparing the gift shop. The visitor center looked amazing, we even spent the day before the opening decorating with ribbons and balloons. We spent the whole night before the opening praying the rain would take a day off but I guess we didn’t pray hard enough. It rained all day! The roads were covered in mud and even rivers of water. The opening ceremony started 2 hours late. We had chiefs from all over, representatives from the French embassy, the Ghana tourist board, Ghana TV, COSPE and Italian NGO, and many other VIPs. The show did go on… with wires to the loud speakers running through puddles and a generator running on high the opening prayers started. The poured a bottle of gin on the ground during the prayer to bless the opening…what a waste, I know. The drummers and dancers still preformed even out in the mud. During the middle of the ceremony chickens started walking around in the middle of all the tents. There was even a cock fight that interrupted one of the key speakers. 9 cars got stuck in the mud one of which needed to be moved during the presentation so there was a huge commotion during the presentation to push a car out of mud. The power went out during the ceremony also before we switched to the generator so the microphone and speakers were out in the middle of someone’s speech. Little kids ran in front of the VIP table during the whole ceremony covered in mud and in there underwear unaware that it was in appropriate. Every time something would go wrong…or something would be in appropriate according to the Western World’s etiquette the reps from the French embassy and I would look at each other and smiles. It was fun having someone there who also thought so of this was outrageous and someone who could laugh at some of the crazy cultural differences with me. At the end of the day when the ceremony was over and everyone’s best clothing and beautiful cloth has been splattered in mud the center was open. It was great to get home and shower off layers of mud and dirt after pushing several car out of huge mud puddles.
I'm sorry I wasn't able to post pictures, the internet is just too slow. I will update soon with stories and pictures of President Obama's visit to Ghana. It was amazing. I will also come back and add some cool pictures I have. I love you and miss you all!
Monday, June 1, 2009
(or Lily Trotter)
*One of my favorite birds!
*One of my favorite pictures
(or Senegal Kingfisher)
Cinnamon Chested Bee-eater
Western Reef Egret
Great White Egret
*Of course I can't tell a difference between any of these Egrets
African Pied Hornbill
(or Black headed Weaver)
Their are tons more but I'm out of time! I hope you enjoyed them Grandma and I wish you could be here to see them yourself. Love you and miss you!
I've been working hard but I've managed to find time to play hard too! A nearby beach resort has had 2 Australians and 3 Americans staying with them for several weeks. I was able to use their surf board and go surfing. I was also invited to stay the night for free for their going away party. One of the owners, my friend Nina, also returned home to the UK for vacation. The going away party was beautiful complete with beach bonfire, fireworks, candle lit dinner, wine, and chicken curry.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
It's hard to believe I've been living in Ghana for one year and 8 months. 6 1/2 months to go! It felt like last week all of my Ghanaian friends realized I will be leaving soon. My landlord and his family asked when I will be leaving and so did my NGO. Both told me they would cry when I leave. I am excited to get home but it will be hard to leave Ghana. I have bought my close of service (COS) ticket home. I'll be backpacking through West Africa with my good friend Terri, who is also a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Ghana. We will leave Ghana in early November and go through Burkina Faso, Mali, Gambia, and Senegal. We will fly from Senegal to Morocco and explore there for a week before taking a boat across the Gibraltar to Spain. In spin we'll meet up with 8 other PCVs from Ghana and take a 14 day cruise across the Atlantic on our way home. The cruise will stop in Portugal, the Canary Islands, and the Bahamas. It's going to be an amazing trip home. I'll get back to the US in December just in time to relax for the holidays.(This is part of the crazy crew that will be making trouble on the cruise!!! Taken at my village on a fishing boat!)
Everyone has been asking me what my plans are after PC and I'm not sure to be honest. I'm not even sure where I will end up living but I will figure it all out when I'm home. For now I'm focusing on my work in Ghana and living for the moment. Work has been going great, after distributing the 10,000 copies of the brochure I made last year for the stilt village, Nzulezo. (These pictures are Nzulezo, the stilt village and some of my friends that live there) This year I created 5 different posters to promote new attraction in my area and my NGO has just made 4,000 copies of them. Our most famous attraction is Nzulezo, a village built on stilts above the Amansuri Lake, which is protected by Ghana Wildlife Society, my NGO. You can take a 1 hour canoe ride from Beyin to the village on stilts. There is also the Meandah crocodile pond which you can continue to from Nzulezo an additional 15 minutes. The crocodile pond has a boardwalk nature trail that is 500 meters long. Last time I was there I saw a mona monkey swing across the trail on my walk to the observatory on the crocodile pond. The last time I went to the crocodile pond I stayed the night there to research the crocodiles. The Amansuri wetlands is home to long snout, dwarf, and Nile crocodiles. (To the left is a terrible picture of me at the crocodile pond) We are also promoting a new visitor center at a village called Ebonloa. Ebonloa has a nature trail and is located on the Amansuri Lake as well so you can go to Nzulezo from Ebanloa too. In addition to Ebonloa you can see akepteshie distilleries and learn how the local people brew the local gin. Then there is the sea cruise, taking hand crafted wooden boats with an outboard motor 1 hour to sea and returning. Whale season will begin soon and you can actually see the whales jump from the shore. Another of our attractions is For Apollonia, a trade castle that was also used during the slave trade. (The picture to the right is Caitlin, Sarah, and I on a cannon outside of the castle. To the left is the inside of the castle.) Well you can imagine with all the attractions I'm staying busy. Our project was originally funded by the Dutch government, when that contract ran out the French decided to fund us. Our French funding ended this month and they just visited this week. We are hoping the French Ambassador will continue the funding after the visitor center in Ebonloa opens at the end of June. Oh, I also made post cards for our attractions and we printed 1,0000 copies that we are selling in our gift shops. I will try to send some out to my friends and family. I guess that about wraps up all the work I've been doing for my NGO. I am also working on building latrines for my village in my free time, which I haven't had much of. I will keep you posted on the latrine project as it continues.
Good news, I've managed to stay healthy since I returned from the states in January. I haven't had malaria or any infections this year. I've only had to fight off a little dysentery but I'm back to perfect health. Oh besides the current black eye I have, it's small though. I was riding home from market and I hit the side of my eye on the metal casing around the window of the tro tro. The roads are horrible, almost as bad as the drivers. I was hitting the roof on every bump. I didn't realize I had a black eye because their aren't any mirrors around but everyone in my village was trying to rub the bruise off of my face. They thought it was dirt, they can't exactly see bruises on their skin. They also always try to scratch my freckles off. Haha!
I love you and miss you all and can't wait to be home in December! My Dad decided to get a new hip while I've been gone and now he is acting like he is 20 years old again. Their might not even be work left to do on the house when I get home. My Mom of course is still staying busy at work and trying to keep my Dad in line, a never ending project. My Grandmother just left after spending 3 weeks in Florida with my parents. Congratulations to Griffin who just graduated from the fire academy. He is very happy living in Texas now. I'm missing all of my buddies from A&M who seem to be doing well from what I hear.
I think that's all I have for now. Sorry I haven't blogged in such a long time. I promise to post more frequently Kime! I love and miss you all. I hope their aren't too many type-os, I am always in a hurry at the internet. Looking forward to that beer state side.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
My seamstresses shop!The village church! I live behind the church.
I hope you all enjoyed the short tour though my village. Thank you again for all of your supports and letters. Only 11 months left and I'll be home!
Monday, November 17, 2008
The picture below shows the site where our house will be! It is beautiful, it sits just 20 feet from the water on the beach. We watch beautiful sunrises to the left and sunsets on the right. It always has a nice cool breeze blowing too. Well till next time! Peace and love, Mandy