Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just Another Saturday

All it turned out to be was just another Saturday in Ghana.

For the most part this year is a little bit easier than last year. I know what is going on, I know when odd days off are going to magically appear on the calendar, and there are more things to do on campus then I was aware of last year at this time. One of the things that I knew would be coming is the matriculation ceremony of the first-years. They are called "freshers" for the first six or seven weeks of the semester until they go through the ceremony at the chapel and become official students. I am not so sure they are unofficial students before this as they have already paid a hefty sum of money to sit down in the classrooms, but it is a ceremony that comes no matter what and the students seem to get a kick out of it.

Our clocks were set to 9AM to begin the festivities with a full Catholic mass. I knew it might be a long day of course, (it was last year) but things tend to drag on a little bit when the master of ceremonies arrives about half an hour late. During that time I was doing some small detail work on the school web site that I have been trying to help build with the staff here. We were going to introduce it to the school even though our internet connection has been out for well over a week now due to hardware issues from our provider. The site looks pretty basic but it had to be finished for this day as per the Principal of the school. We had a few pages ready for the event but I could hardly resist small little edits here and there to make it look better in my eyes.

Fortunately for me the Principal asked that we have the projector ready in the chapel to show the site and I found our entertainment prefect in the church and asked him to help out. This afforded me the small excuse to be in the back of the chapel working out some further kinks in the site while the mass was going on. My part in the proceedings didn't happen until fully two hours into the service. After the mass ended I knew that it would be the Principal's turn to speak so I got all of the pages ready on my browser (different tabs were opened to keep as many pages as I wanted to show the congregation at the ready) and at his cue, I walked in and hooked my netbook up to the projector and prepared to dazzle the assembled mass with the wonders of the world wide web.

The only thing was I didn't notice on our first test that the projector didn't like my screen resolution. It cut off about 25% of the right side of the site. Well, it was mostly there for all to see. That was the only incident in the show, and it was probably not too noticeable for most of the people there. The students were excited to know that all of their names were present on the site for the world to see, and that more is coming in the future. Right now it seemed best for the school to save money and use a free web blogging tool to get the job done, so I can happily introduce to you, my loyal readers, the new St. Francis' College of Education web site. Many students and staff asked for the address afterwards and I realized that it is not the easiest one to write down.

With the students matriculated it was off to the staff common room in the administration building to celebrate a little with food and drinks. Rice, fried chicken and vegetables plus a Coke for me sat rather nicely. I arrived late as all the students that I saw asked me to take pictures with them since they were dressed quite nicely (white button-down top and black slacks/skirts plus a dark tie with the Franco logo emblazoned on it). In turn I used a film camera I have here to get a few shots of staff and students as well. I can't wait to see the results in print!

After lunch it was off to St. Theresa's College of Education for a friendly volleyball match with the staff at that school. It is an all-women institution so the court was ringed with a fairly partisan contingent of ladies rooting for the other side. I have to admit it was a lot of fun playing again and not suffering a severely twisted ankle as payment but to have an audience proved embarrassing on several occasions. While we didn't win, we also didn't lose by means of complaining that it was too dark to finish the match (we were losing so bad at the time that it may have been a ploy by our team to save just a tiny bit of face). Again we were treated with some drinks in their staff common room and I got to meet a few more people from their school.

This brings me to only 6:30PM or so. I had a chance to invite a student back at the house to play my guitar and show what he can do, eat a dinner of fufu and groundnut soup, spend several hours online with my girlfriend and nurse some wounds and sore joints in a cool bedroom with the fan on low. There were also a few JICA (Japanese volunteers) who showed up to stay the night at our house which was nice. I got to use my only Japanese which was, "good night" but said with the thickest American accent you can imagine. The day was busy but entirely fun and enjoyable. I am leaving here very shortly to return to America and spend a lot of time with said girlfriend and family, but I will be coming back to finish off my service in January. July is just a stone's throw away after that and then I can return for good.

Yes sir, just another Saturday here in Ghana.

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