Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Watch
I bought an analogue sports kind of watch before I came to Ghana that I hoped would say, “Please don’t rob the person wearing me.” but would also work throughout the year. I think I succeeded. I have seen about 4 normal looking Ghanaian men with the EXACT same watch, weird! After writing this, I feel like deleting it, sorry.

Probably the weirdest thing to ever happen to me happened about a month ago. It started off with a really good night. I organized a bar hop scavenger hunt with some friends, which ended up being just hanging out at one bar then discovering a smaller one and just taking advantage of the cheap gin and lime concoctions. Becky (my friend from university) was with me and sleeping over at my place. She wanted to go to yoga in the morning, so she went back to my place at a reasonable time. Me and some others stayed out a little longer, which resulted in me being VERY tired when I got home. I was asleep when Becky left my room for yoga, and when I woke up, I saw that a tornado had gone through my room. My suntan lotion and shampoo were squirted out into my shower, random things were everywhere, including most of the contents of Becky’s bag, mostly her make-up which were all open. My first thought was, “What did I do to make Becky SOOO angry? Did she go crazy?”. I mean I would never think of Becky as the kind of person, it felt like somebody MUST have come into my room, but that would have been IMPOSSIBLE. I mean I was there the entire time, and her bag was RIGHT beside the bed. For sure I would have woken up if somebody else came into my room, right? WRONG! When Becky got back we concluded that neither of us created the tornado. Then I remembered that soon after I woke up a little boy I had taught to knock on my door if he wanted to talk to me had knocked on my door to say hi. Yup, sure enough, this 4 year told me about how he watched 2 other kids play with my things, which really meant they weren’t there and he had a really good time. I guess he thought it was okay cause I was there the whole time and the door was unlocked. Judging the amount of stuff everywhere, he must have been in my room for like 10 minutes and I didn’t wake up! So note to all future burglars coming to my place, don’t worry, I won’t wake up, take your time.

“Work” Trip
So as part of a new project, we have to go in pairs to three different communities to talk to the officers and staff of the district’s Department of Labour and Department of Social to get them on board for the project . Before going to my assigned community, I tagged along with another pair so we could later sleep over in a nearby town to soak in some small town goodness. We stayed with a friend’s place who works at the department of labour we had met with and lives in a flat with his pastor, but for the weekend we were there, the pastor wasn’t there but his 19 yr old sister, so it was cool. We got there Friday evening and went to the Friday church service at 7.30. Not knowing that there were different types of church services, I was surprised when I found out the Friday service is for praying. Just praying. It was neat to see the kind of things that were chosen to pray about, I’ll have to go to church in Canada to see what kind of stuff they pray about. So for one hour, the 5 of us at the church (it was a big building) including the Friday stand-in pastor stood praying about the introduced topics. I was also taught a new spin to praying. I’m assuming that for the most part, people back home pray in their heads, not here. Every prayer required everybody to make up their own prayer and pray out loud all at the same time until the pastor decided sufficient time had passed. It was cool.

The next day, we went to a gold mine! Our host has a brother who does some management there, so we got to listen to a good run down of the whole situation. Basically, there’s a big hole in the ground where people dig out dirt and bring it to a group of men to find the rocks with the diamonds in them. These groups of 4 men are clustered around ponds of water. 2 of the men have shovels and are digging around in the dirt (I think trying to get rid of the sand and find the big rocks with diamonds?) and the other 2 men are continuously throwing buckets of water onto the men. The water is meant to go onto the dirt to help the men with shovels separate it, but I think the men with buckets are just being nice and cooling down the men with shovels. I’m not exactly sure of the steps after this, but one of them entails selling the diamonds for like 800 bucks. Guess how much each of these men working from around 6.30 until they are finished their pile of dirt (which usually ends up being around 3.30) make, guess. ya, sometimes around 4 cedis a day, which is maybe $3.25 Canadian. These men were all soooo fit. Rock hard abs, zero body fat, and solid man boobs, but fit man boobs. Some of the men were 20, but some of them were also like 40 or 50… it was crazy. I never thought about it while I was there, but I didn’t see any mean grizzly men with guns while we were there, not really sure what the security is like, but it’s definitely no blood diamond.

THEN, when we got back to the pastor’s flat, our host’s sister taught us how to make Ampesi (boiled unripe plantain) with stew. It was the BEST thing ever. Other than the one time I made Kraft Dinner, it’s been my first chance to really cook since I’ve been in Ghana because I don’t have a kitchen (or fridge anymore). The stew was tomatoes, onions (I swallowed those quickly), a soup stalk cube, salt, and egg, ya, raw egg (which cooked in the stew)! It was soooo good. The plantain was boiled in salt and pretty much tasted like potatoes. Hopefully there will be more cooking adventures in the future.

Visit from my mom and brother!
So I found out my mom and brother are coming to visit for like 10 days, getting in on December 24th! While I’ve slowly been building my travel agent skills, I’m pretty nervous, but mostly excited. I’ve started to make an agenda for them, and it’s starting to look pretty cool. Not really much to write about this till it actually happens I guess, but fun fact.

Well, that’s about it for now! Just finishing up my research proposal for school. It’s looking at the difference in job satisfaction levels of teachers from private and public teachers and the cause of this difference, focusing on sources of motivation/incentive. The private school kids here mostly get better marks, and public schools have problems with teacher absenteeism, so we will see what turns up! It’s kind of strange, because what I’m reading right now is that teachers at public schools make more than private schools (unless it’s a prestigious/international private school teacher). Still have some more reading to do, so maybe I’m wrong or will be changing my topic. That has been consuming my life/weekends.