It was a happy fourth in Ghana. My shadowing exercise is still in session so I did not celebrate the holiday with the home-stay family but instead spent it with two fellow volunteers in Mampong. I believe it may have been my first July 4th outside of the U.S., and I still managed to be nostalgic about my country while removed from it. It helped a lot to have a book written by Henry Cabot Lodge in the 19th century that celebrates the life of George Washington. I had not reviewed a great deal of history of our first commander-in-chief but the book thus far does an excellent job at showing his mastery in the art of war and his adroitness in handling people and situations. It almost defies belief that the Revolution ever happened given that the army never had the pay or the provisions that the British had.
So, it was great reading the accounts of that time period near 1776 and to remember that it really was a struggle to achieve independence. The independence day for Ghana is celebrated on March 6th, so I have some time to catch up on my history here before that day comes. We as volunteers have talked quite a bit about the subject but I think I need a book that details the steps this land went through to obtain freedom and self-governance.
Our little group mentioned that both our countries escaped the control of the British Empire to find our way to freedom. Neat, yes?
So our fun festivities fell to a small gathering of several friends of our Peace Corps Volunteer on the campus and a few things American. We had our Ghanaian equivalent of hot dogs (sausages on a kabob), popcorn, trail mix, candy, beer and Coca-cola. And games! Our guests were treated to a fun game of Uno and then a hilarious game of Uno with the last man standing (and coming in as '8th winner') being Nic. Not content to stop having fun, we went ahead and started up the quintessential board game of the last 100 years, Monopoly. Sadly, all the Americans lost in the end, yours truly being the first one to go bankrupt. That too was great fun and qualifies me for having played Monopoly once a decade for the last two decades.
The night was not quite over yet though. There is one last thing you must do when saluting your country inside or outside of the land of the brave. Firework. That is correct, no pluralizing it as there was just one bottle rocket. In what might have been too late an hour, that little rocket made a lift off that scared our guests and gave us one heck of a jolt. I don't think we had heard something that loud in a while. Once the heart beat came back on rhythm, we all laughed again at the display. That was the way we do it back home.
Thanks America for being there. I'll be back again to participate in person in a few years.