I only wrote last week but i feel as though it’s been years. Let me start with a little story from a few weeks ago and work my way back.

There were several advantages in staying in Ho as opposed to staying in Saviefe. We spent every weekend in Ho mostly because we were traveling, but also because 1. there was a working shower, 2. we found ipod speakers and could jam out, and 3. it was a nice place to hang out without feeling like a constant guest. Well two weekends ago, i woke up from my inch-thick mattress on the floor to a COCKROACH scurrying it’s way across me. yeah, you just read that sentence correctly. after the initial shock of that unpleasant wake-up (and if you know me you should know that there is nothing that i hate more than being woken up in an unappealing manner. i prefer to be nicely woken with the sound of “Awake My Soul” by Mumford  playing and and a cup of coffee awaiting, not by the tiny little feet of a cockroach piddle paddling across my back.) Anywho, i didn’t wake kate because i’m actually the braver one when it comes to these bugs (she kills the spiders, i kill the cockroaches) and i thought i’d let her sleep. After i got over the initial shock i killed that fucker and managed to fall back asleep. One can only assume that this brought the house in Ho down a few notches. Additionally, this particular weekend, the town decided to shut the water off and we also had no showers, and the ipod speakers mysteriously stopped working ( i blame the cockroaches.) So things really took a turn for the worse. I’m telling you this because today kate and i ended up back in Ho and bought some “cockroach medicine” from a nice man who was selling it out of his trunk on the side of the road. I’ve had many “firsts” here in Ghana and i can certainly say that this is now added to the list.

I don’t know why i decided to relish you with this certain tale from the Ghana crypt, but as I was sitting in the cab, next to a Ghanaian man wearing a Red Sox hat (hell yeah baby, represent) on my way home from Saviefe for the last time, i decided that i would write about it. Yes, today kate and i left Seviefe for good. Although we’re technically not leaving for another ten days, we’re starting on a five or so day journey up north to visit Mole National Park and check out some elephants on Tuesday and wanted to give ourselves enough time. Mole should be a whole different trip of it’s own and quite the adventure so i can’t wait to share the tales.

Last weekend we took an impromptu trip to Akosombo, which is a town in the eastern region and the site of the the Akosombo Dam. The dam is the world’s largest man-made dam and pretty much created Lake Volta. It has a really interesting creation and history and we had no idea what to expect or what we’d be doing when we went so we just winged it and hopped in a tro tro. We had heard talk from Yao about being able to go on a river cruise on Lake Volta so that was our main mission. We accomplished it just nearly in time. Our tro tro dropped us off and we hopped in a taxi to the town, then hopped in another taxi that brought us to the river boat and got on just in time to make the one and only river cruise of the day. It was pretty awesome and i’m glad we did it. For 40 GHc we got a four hour cruise, lunch, and a drink ticket, while being able to enjoy the live reggae band on board and dancing to our liking. It was really fun, and we met a fello American and yevu who is doing a semester abroad from law school, so he was cool to talk to. The half way point of the cruise was docking at this little island that inhabits a small village of people. The island was really beautiful but the situation itself was really weird, kate and i felt extremely uncomfortable as the hoarded the tourists from the boat along this small path on the island lined with locals (mostly small children) begging for money and playing instruments.  It was sad and made us feel…weird to say the least. I did however, give a small boy 3 cedis in exchange for a $2 bill he somehow acquired. My first $2 bill and i get it in Ghana…ironic. Since the whole trip was pretty last minute we had no idea how to get back to Ho so we hitched a ride with a guy who brought us back to the junction and just so happened to be a police officer who worked aboard the ship. He was super nice and gave us his contact information just in case we ever needed anything. Everything that day just worked out pretty perfectly. It was awesome.

We went back to Seviefe on Sunday night and the local drumming circle played for us. That was awesome, tons of people from the community came and danced and played some awesome music. Kate and i mostly danced with the kids, Charles went on the drums for a while, and it was wicked cool.

We taught in the school all week. The nursery school is still being worked on so we didn’t get to partake in any of the painting, which is a major bummer, but teaching is interesting. I say “interesting,” because i now realize why i stopped playing teacher all those years back. I dont really like teaching, and i think i like kids less than the average person. Ok, i love some kids (Colin&Teagan, Robert&Lorelai to name a few) but when they poke and prod at your white skin and ask you question after question, they become too much for me. I revel at kate’s patience with them, she’s better with the kids than me, i’ll tell you that much. Don’t get me wrong, i like kids, i find their minds fascinating and admire their innocence, but they’re a lot. Teaching itself is exciting when i would actually teach, or when the kids would actually listen, but i have a far greater sense of respect for anyone in the teaching profession after this experience.

Additionally, i started with a new teacher because Erickson moved to another classroom. My new teacher sucked. He was younger than Erickson, and walked around with a swagger like he owned the whole damn town and looked at me in a creepy, uncomfortable way. He was also a terrible teacher. He beats the kids far too much (corporal punishment is used on the regular) and is wrong half as much as the children are. Plus, he’s lazy and i just have no respect for him. I told Charles i didn’t like him, and even he agreed with me. Working in the school was really frustrating sometimes because the school is run quite differently than ours, kate and i have talked a great deal about education reform since being here, because although their community is in great need of materials we would consider to be standard, their level of educational standards is far too low to be productive. That was probably one of the hardest things.

The teachers were really nice though, and yesterday on our last day they prepared a feast for us of fufu and light soup. This was the first time that kate and i ate fufu and actually enjoyed it. It’s basically this doughy ball of mixed kasava (yam) and plantain that they beat and boil until it’s reached the desired consistency (sticky uncooked dough.) We ate it though, not until Erickson took us to his spot (spot means bar in Ghana) and had us take a shot of his special akpateshi. Yes, us teachers left school during the day and took a shot before lunch, but its ok because none of us did any actual teaching that day. After the fufu Erickson had the kids go and gather fresh coconuts for us to eat/drink.

Yesterday was a pretty surreal last day. In the morning, George took us to his sister’s house who taught us how to make kosi – one of our favorite foods. Its basically this fried bean patty and its absolutely delicious. We learned well and we’re takin it back home! After school, we took a nap because akpateshi knocks us right out and woke up to Ernestine cooking us rice balls and groundnut soup. Groundnuts are basically peanuts and she makes this delectable spicy soup out of groundnut paste (something a little like peanut butter.) Then we bought a bottle of akpateshi to take to Spain, but first made Charles drink with us first. He doesn’t like akpateshi but since it was our last night we made him toast. I think he secretly liked it.

Another list of things you didn’t know about Ghana because i’m running out of time and getting far too overwhelmed with information in this post:

1. Ben is building a new house right next to his current one and has had hundreds of cinder blocks delivered for the building. When one person needs help so many members of the community join in and so everyone was helping to move the cinder blocks (on their heads of course.) Kate and i joined in and carried a few cinder blocks on our heads to help out – i don’t know how they do it. Its tough work!

2. Since the water is undrinkable we drink “pure water,” which come in plastic bags about the size of a large sandwich bag that you drink by ripping off the corner and pouring the water in your mouth. A pure water costs about 10 cedis – less than 10 cents in the U.S. In a country far poorer than ours, where water is not readily available, they charge a mere fraction of the price of what we charge for bottled water. Makes you think, eh?

3. Women carry their children on their backs, tied on with a large cloth that the babies just sit comfortably in. It looks so simple, if i ever decide to have kids thats the way i’m doin it.

Thats all for now. This post is rather scattered and i might come back to edit it later but i needed to send out an update. Missing everyone back home. Keep it classy.

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