June 8, 2010
Since our education class had to stay on schedule for beginning the school semesters at the respective schools, we did not join our Volunteer-mates on a Vision Quest. That entails going out into the country, sometimes on your own, and making do with the minimal (and minimal is an understatement for me personally) language skills in Twi (pronounce that as CHWEE and you are close to the right sound) to connect to a currently serving PCV.
While that sounds like a blast, our group of education volunteers had to stay home as it were in the dorm rooms and get ready for arrival at our host families. But before we did this, the trainers asked us to visit various sites in the city of Accra and its outlying suburbs to see what we could find. Armed with a few basic places to start with, we ended up going off in groups of two and three to arrive at destinations unknown to us.
It was terrific.
The amount of things to take in is mesmerizing and daunting. What did that passenger just pay to board the tro-tro (I have no idea the Twi spelling for this so you have the phonetic spelling right there) and what did I have to pay? Did I get a better deal? Highly unlikely. What did the person taking money just say to the driver? Why am I in a vehicle that needs a few "minor" repairs? All of it just absolutely enjoyable.
We made a connection to the second line in Medina. Think of these large vans as if they were a big city's subway system. One line will take you here, the other will take you there. Just wandering the street to ask for help seems a nightmare, but with a gentle question, put in Twi thank you very much, yields all the help you could imagine. Many people here enjoy helping. With only four days of a brand new language, it is hard to get the hang of just quick banter, so quickly I am asking "Do you speak English," and hoping for the best. One poor woman had her baby right next to me on the tro-tro, and whenever the baby looked over at me, Mr. Pale Face, he started to cry. His mother didn't speak English and I clammed up and tried my best to stop making the little one cry, but that is the way things happen sometimes.
I was with two friends here and we did our best to find our destinations. We asked our questions and found out that a military hospital cared for veterans, active duty soldiers, and the civilian population alike. They would even help out a volunteer should we arrive in disrepair. How nice. I like that all of us just kept looking around the next corner for answers to our questions, as we were jumped to seven different people before we got to our last one, and even he directed us to the first place we asked to get proper clearance. Very funny.
One short walk from the hospital and we were at the Peace Corps HQ. I got to check my email and send a note to my mom and brother. I hope they read it and felt alright about my lack of updates in the last few days. It is hard not being able to reassure people that everything is well and dandy when it is just that. I know certain somebodies that tend to worry.
More work to be done, and some quick prepping for our departure on the 9th. I hope this update found you well and good in your part of the world.