Saturday, April 02, 2011

Kukurantumi Again, Planning Aplenty

When the call came last week, there was something about a planning session that might be happening. It came from the woman in charge of my ICT group whom I refer to here as my APCD (Assistant Peace Corps Director), and she asked if I had time during this week to participate in a planning session for the next class of Peace Corps Trainees. It seemed like a nice thing to be a part of, and I told her that I would ask and see if the school was all right with it.

They said, "Yes." I said, "Yes," and that put me on a tro-tro to the Eastern region on Sunday of last week. It is different now coming to the hub site here in Kukurantumi. There were so many sessions and so much work done here, but each time I got to see people who made me smile, and friends who made the whole experience enjoyable. Coming back brought many of those good times come back, but when a fellow volunteer and I arrived, the hub site was empty. Off to the For You bar for some sodas and time to pet two very fuzzy puppies who were romping around the grounds.

People did show up, and we reconnected with some volunteers who we haven't seen since maybe Thanksgiving. There were just eight volunteers here, seven from my group so we got to hang out and relax quite a bit in a low-key environment. Scott from my town was also here, but he is a year ahead of me and re-upping for another year. Added to us were the two volunteers who operate the sub-offices in Kumasi and Tamale (TAH-mah-lay). Then all the staff that we knew from our training days here showed up and it was much like old times. Even the food tasted the same.

So the idea for this session is to plan the next events for Pre-Service Training (PST) for our future volunteers. They come as Trainees, they leave as Volunteers. During that process, there are about 80 days where many things get planned and the PCTs are asked to be here, then there, and back to here again. Finding the schedule is important as it will give the trainers different windows to begin planning some of the excursions and book some of the places that we will need to train the new group.

Four days of understanding the process and then planning the weeks and days was a bit of a struggle. As the number of volunteers goes up then we also need to factor in new hires to train the volunteers, so we also were given a crash course on personnel decisions from the Administrative Office which, oddly enough, was rather enjoyable due solely to Bob Gingrich being energetic and clear with his presentation. He didn't even use Powerpoint to make himself understood. Impressive.

By Friday we were ready to go. One last trip to the hub site for breakfast and the few remaining staff and volunteers headed their separate ways. I rode home with Scott and we were fortunate to find a tro-tro that filled quickly straight back to Hohoe. All told, I think the venture was a success. I have a better idea of what goes into training us, and I feel a bit more energized about my service and position here in ICT at St. Francis. I am going to submit a statement to Peace Corps declaring that I would like to be a trainer for the next group if it works out for my schedule. If not, then there is certainly other PCVs that are up to the task, no doubt. First, I think it would be fun and exciting to see the 50th class of volunteers land in Ghana, and second, I think it would give me a much better perspective on my own service. I will be sure to post an update on that front.

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