Thursday, October 8, 2009

prep week


So this is my "prep" week, before the literacy workshops begin. My "to-do" list:

1. Get settled. Check. I'm getting to know my way around, getting a lot of exercise walking from the church to the guest house from the guest house to the internet cafe, from the cafe to the market ... i can feel my legs getting stronger!

2. Visit the local school. Check. I spent the day there yesterday, observing and at times participating. It was very interesting -- so many children running around in their blue uniforms! Listening to them practice singing was entertaining. One thing - watching the teachers pull out the "cane" was kind of startling to see, coming from Canada. But the teachers were very welcoming to me, and I had some nice conversation with several of them there.

3. Prep for literacy workshops. Felicia, the pastor's daughter and my "assistant", has been a very valuable resource! We've spent a lot of time brainstorming, flipping through books, browsing through teaching resources at the market, locating a blackboard, etc, etc. Although -- you can only prep so much, before knowing the number of women and their literacy levels.

4. Meet with the program leaders. This was kind of interesting. Felicia and I were there, and I was all prepared with my photocopied handouts and my colored folders, etc -- five minutes before the meeting, it became clear that while I saw the leaders as volunteers, some of them viewed themselves as employees? And then I had to go lead the meeting :) Surprisingly, it wasn't really awkward. We all kind of laughed about it, but obviously they still have some questions in their minds ... I'm excited for next week, once some of these kinks have been sorted out!

So I meet with the leaders again tomorrow, and then go to a wedding with Auntie Jo on Saturday! I'm looking forward to that, and today Felicia and I picked out material and headed to the seamstress for a dress for me to wear! Being here, I love just looking at the African outfits and I knew I wanted to purchase one as a souvenir -- why not get it at the beginning , so I can get a lot of use out of it while I'm actually in Africa?

Some anecdotes:

I did laundry for the first time on Tuesday. I got out the buckets and the detergent and prepared to do it by hand. I insisted that Felicia only sit and watch, but evidently I wasn't doing a good job because after watching me for only a few minutes, she pushed me aside and started showing me how it's done! And then I took another try at it. Kwaku and his friend Isaac (good name!) came by and decided it would be entertaining to sit back and watch. And so I was bent over the bucket scrubbing my underwear with an audience who all told me that I was doing a bad job. I'll get the hang of it...

Also -- yesterday I experienced the first "lights out" to happen at night. And when is the power most likely to go out? When you're in the shower, of course (Ange, you can attest to this)! In this case, I was having my daily "bucket bath". So I was standing in the tub completely soapy when I found myself in darkness!
Fear #1: that the lizard I had seen earlier by the toilet would take this opportunity to come out!
Fear #2: I would injure myself trying to step out of the tub with my slippery feet!
I managed to get out of the tub, and was wandering around my bedroom -- soapy, bumping into furniture, standing there like a fool waiting for a streak of lightning to illuminate the location of my flashlight!

I found it and a few minutes later the power came back. I'm sorry if this is too much information for some of you readers, but ... i'm here to relate my experiences :) Don't worry, I won't give the details on my first public washroom experience --- it began with the man at the internet cafe saying, "When you come to Africa, you must do as Africans do..."

Anyway ... I'm enjoying my stay here, but at the same time miss everybody back home! I hope you are all doing well and know that I keep you in my thoughts and prayers :)



  1. Obroni! Your anecdotes brightened my afternoon. I'm sitting here will a pile of textbooks beside me, sorting them in order of importance. On the other side of me is Amber's wedding present :) very fun to shop for. I'll facebook you what we got her.

    Hahahaha.. lights out in the shower. How well I remember that, perhaps you should keep a flashlight on hand in the bathrooom perchance that it should happen again? And I'm guessing that spider in your previous post has not been the last "little friend" you've had? (re. the lizard haha)

    And...I'm sure you will be very thankful for a washing machine when you get back...

    Most mornings I bring coffee to school in the travel mug you made me. It reminds me to say a little prayer for you (8)... (forever and ever you'll stay in my heart and I will love you... anyways.. sorry) But you are in my thoughts and my prayers :)

    Talk to you later :)

  2. Hi Erica,

    Mom here. A most amusing blog! As for your laundry escapade, as your Mom, I can't help but wonder if you'll be a little quicker when you get home to do the laundry when asked?! HA! I'm glad for your 'to do' list. It has the appearance, at least, of an organized individual! Keep up the good work! Lastly - just a question - did you EVER get the soap rinsed off....or?

    Love ya & praying for ya ALL THE STINKIN' TIME!!
    Your Mother

  3. Happy Thanksgiving from all the Canadians.

    Does Ghana celebrate a Thanksgiving? I suppose our holiday is related to the pilgrims, and that is sort of unique to North America.... anyways.. hope you are having fun.. good luck with the workshops this week :)

    <3 Ange

  4. Sigh... you signed out of msn. Who knows if facebook is working when you read this. But I had a lovely time. My family is eating turkey tonight (as a belated thanksgiving), and we went apple picking yesterday, so we are enjoying the first batch of apple crisp. Jealous? I think yes. The air was crisp and cool today, and tonight it is supposed to drop to -3. Be thankful that "every inch of your body has sweat glands"... for us here in Canada have almost forgotten how to use them.

    Talk to you later!

  5. Looks like facebook/blogging is not back up and running?

    Want to know something crazy!?! It started to SNOW here today. Yes. Believe it. October 15th, 2009 was the first day we got snow. Fortunately/Unfortunately, it didn't stay on the ground, but the cold weather has taken a turn for the worst. Midterms are in full swing, tomorrow I am getting my hair cut, and having multiple (belated) thanksgiving dinners on the weekend. Good luck Braeside, because I have no clue who is working..

    Have a good one :)
    <3 Ange