I wanted to post a querry to yall back home about the recent intervention in Somalia.  My only source of information is from the BBC…VOA hasn’t really discussed America’s bombing Somalia last Monday.  This is my exposure and a little of my opinion:  Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia, upon Somalia’s transitional governments request, to help run off the United Islamic Courts in southern Somalia.  Ethiopia denied having troops there for the first few days, then admited they did, but only because Somalia’s tranistional government requested them.  Somalians calling into the BBC all say they do not need more chaos.  They have been in unrest for so long, and no citizens want Ethiopia or any nation to get involved.  BBC listeners calling in kept assuming that America was at the core of the reason for Ethiopia getting involved.  This agrivated me because I didn’t think there was any reason for people to think this.  There was no evidence, people were just voicing their assumption because, well, not many people like America right now in the world.  I dismissed it, thinking they were entitled to their opinions and there was no signs of America’s involvement, so no reason to worry.  Then America bombed southern Somalia Monday, saying we were targeting terrorist groups associated with the American Embassy bombing a decade ago…oh why?  I don’t understand the action, and have little faith that reasons told are the true reasons.  American officials say that Somalia’s transitional government gave the go ahead.  But Somalian citizens calling into the BBC say that the transitional government is nothing more than an unwanted dictatorship that is just acting as a rubber stamp.  Now, I don’t know if yall are getting coverage across the lake, but if you are, what are some more details, what are your opinions, what does it seem are the majorities opinions.  Also, if anyone wants to comment on Bush’s request for more troops in Iraq, please feel free.  I don’t want this to offend anyone, so please keep your comments respectable.  Assumptions can cause lots of problems, so I don’t want to jump to any, nor would I want you to.  Share information and opinions and differenciate between the two.  Ok, please, share words with me, with us…I hope all is well, and much love.


My bike…it is my escape.  Lord I love it.  I have my sudo mountains that I live in, and now, with my bike, I can make the hour and a half trek to the White Volta River.  I am set.  I spent last Sunday by the river’s bank, reading my World Religion’s book (thanks Jim), and eating a whole watermelon (with salt)…they are at the end of the season and damn if I am going to enjoy this comfort food conservatively.  Anyway, point is…I love my bike.  I have amazing moutain trails for recreational riding to help me take my mind off of things.  I wish I could share pictures with yall of my village and the surounding area, it is amazing. 

 A little free writing to update yall as to the most interesting recent events:  I caught a picture of Albert (my pet mouse) hanging on the side of my food shelf, staring at my other house gest, a gecko.  A few days ago I turned down the chance to have a pet monkey…I know, what was I thinking.  But looking past the novelty of it, I don’t want one.  The girl who was trying to get rid of it said the monkey is like an infant child…she cries, has to sleep in bed with you, gets into everything, eats pens, and basically has to be watched at all hours of the day…so no thank you, Albert is enough for me.  I also found a scorpion yesterday.  I was putting the guitar away, getting ready to enjoy my cup of Earl Grey (thanks Aunt Marlene and Grandma) while listening to the BBC in my bed and I noticed him above my bed on my wall.  A small one too…not an emporer scorpion, which means he makes up for his lack in size by the potentcy of his sting.  I emptied some tupperware and put some rocks in there and made a home for him.  I released him today with my Ghanaian friend Francis (I call him Fresh), who thought I was mental for not killing it and then burning the remains…it didn’t hurt me, so couldn’t justify it.  I placed him up on the mountain where no one goes, don’t worry.  Work wise…we have the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence coming up March 6th, and after that the Golob Festival.  So we are trying to get the visitor’s center ready for the influx of tourists.  We are also trying to publicise the festival…invite the media as well as dignitaries…try and see if we can’t get them to see how beautiful a place Tengzug is, and how great it would be four our primary school to have a roof on the back two rooms.  So that is life in my small town Tengzug.  I want to write more, but I need to go buy locks in market for the visitor’s center bathroom…locals keep releaving themselves in there, not using the toilet (one of the many interesting hurdles our community needs to overcome).  Well, much love to all and send me words.

So the computers and Internet connection here…shotty at best.  In actuallity they aren’t all that bad, but I have tried to upload pictures with snapfish and flickr and on facebook, but it just takes to long and I usually have to try and download a software program that the computer is lacking.  So, no pictures as of yet…maybe never, but we will see.  Posts and comments…wordpress is not the fastest page, so it takes me a while and a lot of patients to post entries.  I want to reply to all those who have posted comments, but the capacity just isn’t here.  I love reading the responses to work (Lynne, Denise, Josh and all), it solidifies what I have been realizing.  If you want dynamic interaction with me on a topic, please email me…but don’t think that my lack of responses to your comments is a display of my interest…I can’t think of anything more that I enjoy than hearing opinions and news from home…so keep it up.  Ok, I’m going to attempt a post, if this computer cooperates.  Much love…

So…it has been a while since my last entry. I have little time on computers, so I usually spend it responding to individual e-mails and such…but I don’t want to neglect this medium for delivering my experience to my community back home.

Currently, I am in Tamale right now. I have finished my testing (language and sector) and have been sworn in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer. The past week has been a culmination of formalities, studying, and celebrating. My fellow PCVs and I who are located in the northern parts of Ghana have been relaxing and saying our goodbyes for now for the past 3 days here in Tamale. I am departing from here within the hour…it will be nice to get to my house for the next 2 years and unpack finally. Living out of a bag for 3 months gets to be unnerving and tries the patience a little bit…I’m sure most of yall who know agree. Anyways…my attempt at making a difference in my primary project begins…and I am more than ready and feel quite capable right now. It is funny though, because if I stated my action plan…which consists of: introducing myself to everyone, sitting small with them while they do their work, making no initial commitments and most importantly, listening; it may seem like I am not working…atleast to myself it seems like it is not work. But this is my plan. Development is in the will of the community…and as a facilitator, I need to understand their concept of developement…what do they want from the revenue brought by their tourism…what do they see as most important in preserving, in terms of traditionally…what is their concept of a better livelyhood? These are questions that have to be answered and understood by me before I can act, connect resources, make requests, and put into play what will need to be sustainable progress. I was thinking of this the other day and came upon a thought/idea that I wanted to write into my journal. Then, as if instilled in me, I thought what my journal is to me. It is my place for refuge…it is my personality on paper…it is my growth…it is my blueprint of this life so far and my interpretation of where I might fit. I thought…this entry would be “work” related…do I want to taint my journal with entries of that facit of my life? The word “work,” I guess it has a negative connotation in me instilled by all of those who hate their jobs and who I have conversed with. All of those mondane tasks that I felt were unnessasary in my developement, whether it was studying or putting into practice lessons taught in the classroom…they had put this bad taste in my mouth when I think of the word “work.” I realized though, that this entry, it wasn’t on this past perception I had of work…it was an interpretation of my livelyhood for the next two years. It is what I wanted to give and get out of it…and the freedom I have here provides a lot of room to move I must say…so convinced me to put in this entry. Now all facits of my life are in my pages of self reflection and expression…it is as if it has all come together…my desires are being played out even in my “work.”

I want to state this…to my friends looking for jobs, who have jobs…and have that feeling of not being satisfied. I think that feeling should be looked into…question your current situation…don’t be led somewhere by ideals that are not your own only later to be left wondering how you got there. Find yourself now before you lose yourself in the crowd. Do what you love and love what you do (got that from a shirt my cousin Jennifer gave to me). Spend time searching for that job you want…it is time well spent in my opinion…and don’t be afraid to take that next step if it seems uncertain. It is better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do. These are my opinions…my realizations to how I view things right now in my life. It has helped me find satisfaction in even my “work,” that word to me that was not dreadfull, but definitely not desirable either. It has changed my definition of the word.

I want comments on this one…I released myself onto this entry and I want my community to send me some feedback. This is what my life in this place has brought me so far…does this help yall…does this concern yall…let me know. It is something I am starting to feel more strongly about…and I have much interest in hearing other’s perspectives…especially those who have been out in the “real world” for a while.

Side note…as mentioned before…time on the computer here is limited and expensive…so my spelling, which is horrendious (sp?), as all yall who know me know, does not concern me as much as getting out my thoughts…so sorry to those who are turned off by incorrect spelling or grammar, it is just not of importance to me right now and I think I come close enough to correct spelling of a word to understand what word was intended. This is my position for all of my entries…so expect bad spelling…I feel like it might make the connection even greater for those who know me well enough to know which words I suck at spelling.

On that probably uneeded side note I will take my leave…it is 100 miles or so to my house, but the travel is uncertain and it might be night by the time I get home…damn, I hope I have a candle or two left at my house. Ok, well much love to all and I hope all is well.

I have been requested to write a post about things I have seen and experienced. Not knowing where to begin am just going to freetype this up. I have seen a man performing Ju-Ju with a chicken (he slit its neck and watch it flop around for a good 5 minutes or so…if it lands breast up than whatever the man has come to question the spirits is true, breast down, it is false). Everyone here carries anything and everything on their head, even if it is something like one roll of toilet paper. Taxi drivers here usually don’t have their license, so when stoped by the police, they have to pay a 5,000 cedi “fee,” and they are permitted to continue. Also some tro tros (van taxi) or taxis don’t have head lights…a friend told me the other night that she was picked up in the lit city, not realizing that the taxi had no lights…then when they reached the unlit rural area, the driver lit a tourch and held it out the window. Improvisation is huge here. Roosters rule the realm of auditory night here…I can hear them from far away starting a wave of response that gets to my compound, passes, and makes its way back. I have yet to find a reason to appreciate roosters. People here are friendly, and most work hard. I am trying to advise a small kiosk owner by my village during training. He is from the area where I will be stationed, so it is also providing me practice with my language. He is very friendly, and works quite hard. This past Sunday I sat with him and his brother for a good hour and a half talking about comparisons of life in Ghana with that of the States. “I work so hard,” he tells me, “I eat once a day. How much do you eat? How hard do you work? How much money would you make if you were in America?” He asks and states without judging, but it is almost as if circumstances were judging me…hard not to think that at least. It put me in a depressed state of trying to figure out why I was blessed to be born in America to an amazing family. I couldn’t justify anything. We, the “Obrunies,” (white man, or foreign person…some educated Ghanaians are also called this) which was Peace Corps Trainees played some local futbol team in a close by town later that day. It lifted my spirits tremendously. They “scored” us, as they like to say, however. Their age ranged from probably 12 to 18…ours from 22 to 36…it was humbling. I realized that they have health and a positive attidute in spades…brought on by their simple way of life. Two things which most Americans yurn for…the grass is always greener I supose. When I arrived home, my house was filled with two huge families negotiating the price of a bride. It was quite the entertaining event, though I could not understand what was said. (Historically, brides were purchased by the family of the groom with keri (spelling?) shells.) I didn’t ask what was exchanged for this bride, but it seemed everyone was in agreement with the final outcome at the end of the meeting. Following this I went outside with my homestay brother Kelvin, who is 23. He is working to get his IC which is equivalent to a CPA in the States. I listend to his story of academic success while we sat under the night sky. (Nights are beautifull here by the way…more stars that I have ever been able to see before…and sunsets, indescribibly unique, and always a site worth slowing down and appreciating.) So Kelvin was able to take out a loan for his university education, he will have to serve what they call National Service, for almost a year, with very small pay. Then, he will be able to get a well paying job, save for furthering his education. He wants to attempt to get his ACC certification which is the international equivalent of the IC, and to go England. All of this is absolutely possible for Kelvin. This made me feel better. However, Kelvin’s family is considered quite weathly, and if he had not gone to private school, he probably would not have been able to go to university. Still, the opportunity available to these intelligent, hard working Ghanaians made me feel a little less circumstancially guilty. The sum of my moody Sunday…as I feel most Sundays to follow will bring. I wish to type more, but I am low on funds and time here at the internet cafe, so I must depart for home and dinner. Oh, food here is growing on me as well, but that is a topic for another day. I send yall my thoughts and love…I know yall will send the same.

What is it about Sundays that can change one’s mood so drastically? It is a day to reflect upon the past week while looking forward to the week ahead. It seems fitting to title this category of random experiences and their effects after this unique day.

Unity is essential in our survival…but the individual must survive in order to be free.

~A late night thought after reading Tom Robbins’ Still Life with Woodpecker.