We can’t believe that summer is already coming to a close. All of this back to school talk makes us a bit nostalgic. It’s difficult to imagine the oncoming fall as we live in what sometimes feels like endless summer (it’s still hotter than Florida…). We are doing well though, thriving even (we have come a long way baby since our food poisoning days or months you could say.) Neither of us has been sick in three months, we have some rocking counterparts that have been getting down to business, we just returned from 2 empowering trainings, we have made some great relationships, and feel at home in our community. We also now have a full-fledged veggie garden and egg-laying chickens- which has been a small dream for some time.
Recently we celebrated our first half year in Ghana, concluded our three month site restriction period, and spent three weeks backpacking for differerent trainings while site-seeing in between.
As the finale of site restriction/integration Kallie and I each selected a person in our village (known as counterparts) to attend a week long training with us. They are the people who are committed to working alongside us for the next two years to help make positive changes in the community.
Reconnect workshop, for many PCVs, means a time to meet up with your friends you haven’t seen in months, swap stories of who was the most sicker of the dogs with any number of details regarding food poisonings, weird foods eaten and their given consequences, friends made in the village, drama, and even some of the impressive success stories that encourage us to implement innovative projects in our community.
As for the counterparts, similar to as in our pre-service training, they are trained in some of the most important and applicable technical aspects of development work, especially regarding health since we are in the health sector of Peace Corps.
Following Reconnect, Kallie and I took a short break and headed to the beach for surfing, hiking, and sight seeing with some friends (the slave forts on the coast were something very interesting to see- they are unique to the Gold Coast and represent a powerful, yet awful part of history). We then headed to the capital for a few days, visited a West African art museum, and traveled back to Kumasi for another HIV education intensive training with two additional counterparts.
Following that training we headed to Tamale to collect 800 library books (from the grant Ghana Get Some Books) to help start off the school library. Following that we swung by a friend’s site for a day of bouldering.
Now having been back approximately 2 weeks and have seen the enormous benefits of the trainings we attended with our counterparts. We are on the same page now and everyone is enthused about our work in the community. Currently, we are all working to develop a functional water and sanitation committee (they maintain the boreholes, educate people about water and sanitation, etc), getting the school library operational, and providing educational outreaches most every night for HIV/AIDS awareness (Grassroot Soccer).
That’s a lot about what we have been doing lately, but I also wanted to mention something cool I witnessed at our Reconnect training. With Ghana being comprised of so many different tribes with different beliefs, languages, traditions, and religions, it was awesome to see counterparts from all sorts of tribes working together to develop solutions to problems on the community level. Furthermore, I found it impressive that Ghana has been able to develop and maintain a strong government that unites all the tribal regions under a modern government scheme while at the same time allows them to maintain autonomy and traditionally elected elders and chief hierarchy. I just wanted to throw that in there. Anyway, We hope all is well with everyone and we miss you all! Best wishes on the new school year!!!
-Chris and Kallie
Dix Cove Fort Keeping the boogey man away on a hike Our beach huts Our garden grew while we were away! The moringa tree we planted our first month at site. Moringa is known as “the miracle tree.” It has a range of healing/nutritional properties. You will probably start hearing about it in the States soon if you haven’t already