"Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed—doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps—who works in a foreign land—will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace."

-President John F. Kennedy

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Haven't been able to post for a few weeks, so here is to catching up over the next week or so!

August 11, 2013

The last couple weeks have just been very language intensive. Some days we spend eight hours with our instructor learning Mampruli. I got some one-on-one time also so that was nice. While there has been some stress for learning the language and then passing the language exam, I have really been able to relax and soak in village life a little more. The kids love Frisbees. I had some sent from home and they all love it. I taught my little brothers how to play “war” with plastic army men, just how I used to play as a kid. I play some football with them in the yard, which they love (because they’re better than me). While it will be sad to leave my family next week, I am so ready to get the show on the road. I have to be ready for a whole new change in the coming weeks – living alone, being the only white person at all, finding food and cooking it, and of course teaching. It’ll be interesting to see how the transition goes.

I did pass my Mampruli exam and I am “intermediate mid” speaker. The language exam is all spoken, none written, and is capped at 20 minutes. Basically, I met with a certified Mampruli speaking trainer (not my teacher) and we had a basic conversation that was tape recorded. The tester asked me all about myself, including my family here and in America, my friends, what I like to do, etc. She asked me my daily schedule for a weekend day as well as a weekday. I had to give her directions from here all the way to my site in Gbimsi up north. I had to give her directions from my house to the taxi station, and then we did a role-play scenario where I am at the market and had to interact and bargain for a few items. It feels pretty good to be able to speak all that, even though I may stumble through it.

So I was actually able to activate my iphone to use here, and they do have somewhat of a cellular internet connection, which is crazy to me. I can get pretty slow internet on my phone in most areas now. So for anyone with a smartphone (android or iphone), download the app called “Whatsapp” and send me a text message through it at +233 542294752. Technology these days…even in rural Africa.

It is Sunday now, we have a few days more of sessions/presentations/soccer game/drumming and dancing, and then we officially swear in as Peace Corps Volunteers on Thursday!

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