"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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Post-Swearing In events

The same day as our ceremony, there was a funeral for the queen mother of our village. The chief’s mother died just of old age I think, and the village certainly did it up big for her passing. Everyone wears black and red for funerals here, or at least in the south. The chiefs “palace” was decked out with a ton of tree branches, and a ton of people brought bare tree limbs as an offering to the chief. As for the processional, a bunch of cars came and the way it used to be done is that the body would be placed in one of the cars, but nobody would know which one, except for the people who put her in of course. Then, back in the old days (I’m not sure how long ago that is) they would kill the first person in site after they put the body in the car as a sacrifice. Now all they do is one guy walks around with a gun and shoots up into the air a bunch of times as they walk with the cars. I’m pretty sure they’re all drunk though, so it is kind of dangerous. This was all done after dark in the evening. The body is supposedly buried in the middle of the night. All through the night I could hear gunshots and men chasing chickens and killing them as a sacrifice instead. It was a pretty big deal for the village.

The morning after the ceremony and funeral, I had to say my goodbyes to my homestay family. It was pretty sad to leave them, mainly because I am just not sure if I’ll be able to make it back there to see them within my time here. I will try but I just don’t know if it will happen. I got my mother and sister’s phone number so I can call them from time to time. I mostly just want to keep tabs on Dennis to see how he is doing. I really got attached to the little guy.

After our ceremony we were back on the grind as we had “cross-sector bootcamp.” It wasn’t as painful as the normal 8-5 PC sessions, mainly because it was other current volunteers who led the sessions. About 10 volunteers in the Health/ Water&Sanitation field, and Agriculture, came in to show us some of the stuff they do that we would be able to do even as teachers. We learned how to start a Ghanaian garden, how to make a solar dryer, how to use Moringa, how to use Shea Nuts to make butter and soap, how to make jam, how to start a compost pile, and some other stuff. It was pretty interesting but I was just ready to get moving to site.

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