This is late. I intended to start a blog during Pre-Service Training (PST). The change in lifestyle had more an effect on me than I imagined.
PST is a strange time: no cellphones or internet access for the first week, adjusting to weather, getting to know your other Peace Corps Trainees (PCTs), homestay, no control over your own schedule or food. I was without internet for another week as I did not have a smart phone. By the time I got that in order I basically had no connection at my homestay. Although there was electricity, there were brown outs regularly, which was usually the situation when I had down time. So, the intention of starting a blog was put aside for when it would be more convenient. And anyway, I was in Ghana! A new country, a new continent, to add to my repertoire! There were better things to be doing than being ‘online’ all the time, as I was in the US.
Expanding on the strangeness that is PST, everything is scheduled. From 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday and some Saturdays for outings. At the end of the day, I would be tired. I read, hung out with my homestay brothers and neighbors or as my group did, got together at a local ‘spot‘ (Ghana lingo for ‘bar’) for an ‘Obroni* Night’. We lived with homestay families in a village down south, to introduce and acclimatize us to host-country life. Including food – all our meals were cooked for us. I felt spoiled, especially as I always got a variety of dishes and I adore my homestay family (more on them to come!). This immersion also means experiencing the local life – at whatever time of day. Which in our homestay village included goat and rooster calls, amongst other unidentifiable noises at 2am…3am…4am, the Mosque loudspeaker at sunrise, blaring radios late into the night and early in the morning, either from your own house or a neighbor’s – sometimes both, as if competing for who could be loudest. I know this sounds like an awful experience but it was a pretty funny situation: this foreigner in a small Ghanaian town being woken/kept up by a goat she swears got into her room in the middle of the night and started bleating into her ears, just for kicks. After a few days you get used to it anyway. And I would not trade it for the world.
PST life is not up to the PCT, so any plans I had were swiftly put aside. I did not mind; I was happy just to be. My US life already seemed far away by this point. And now here I am, a full-fledged Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV). First month of service already up! Now, no excuses…but…internet is pretty shoddy…
*Obroni – translated to ‘white man’ and is the term used for any non-African, including black Americans. Best word Ghanaians have to describe a foreigner. Locals mean no offense by the term and reference to skin color seems to mean nothing to them but can be hard for non-caucasian Americans to hear themselves called ‘white.’ Obroni is the term used in southern Ghana. An entire blog entry on this to come!
**Disclaimer: The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Ghana Government.**