Service so far has taught me to adjust to a lot of things. Food that can be grown in a tropical climate does not match much of what I liked back in America. Yams, plantains, and cassava were not my principle food groups, nor palm nut oil or heaping mounds of okra. But somehow my stomach eventually gave in and accepted the changes. It was a struggle early on of course.
Teaching has had its moments of fun and frustration, but doesn't every job have those? I have been fortunate to have a few more, decidedly more, fun moments during the days here. Our school year is almost over and I will miss out on teaching the last few classes due to the training schedule for the next batch of volunteers, yet even if I were still here the time seems way too short to cover the programs and material that I wanted to show everyone.
To be clear, I have not been a volunteer for a year yet. I swore in the 12th of August so that is the official start date and it will also be the official leave date for most of us come 2012. Thinking ahead though, there will be a great deal I will have to un-learn by that time. Let me list some of the things that come to my mind:
- Ending a sentence with the long "O", especially the word 'bye-bye'. Everyone adds the "O" sound to things, and you will too if you hear it enough times. Sorry-O.
- Opening the refrigerator (which I am lucky to have) at night and forgetting to bring a flashlight to see inside.
- Shaking someone's hand and going for the finger-snap to conclude the shake. This one will be a really hard habit to break.
- Crossing the paths of roaming sheep, taxi drivers, and bicyclists all on the same street.
- Waking at 5 every morning.
- Talking to anyone and everyone I pass.
- Taking public transportation and immediately slating time for a shower.
- Not hearing a plane fly over head or any motorized lawn care equipment running during the weekends.
- Using my fingers to eat rice.
I am certain that there are more that I will add to the list, but that is just a taste of what Ghana has done to me so far. There are so many new friends I have here that I feel really lucky to have been given this chance to volunteer. We all miss the good old U.S. of A., but once you mold yourself into your surroundings, you realize that where you find yourself isn't so bad after all. Never would you think someone was having it hard here judging by their laughter and smiles. Ghanaians are really friendly and roughly ten times more hospitable than Americans, it will be hard to leave. But I am getting ahead of myself.
So far so good. One full year is in the books. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!