Site integration aka Site restriction

Up until this point, I felt the need to write about things in chronological order because PST was part of the Peace Corps journey. PST is deliberately set up in that way to ease us into the new culture.

I was also behind in keeping people up to speed. Not everyone has Facebook (a good thing) and I have been consistent about posting photos. So, some do not realize that I am almost four months into service! This also marks seven months of being in country. To me, that is hard to believe. In some ways it feels much longer, in other ways, much shorter. Going forward, posts will no longer be in chronological order.

In March, my group had our Re-Connect conference in Kumasi, or as I call it Kraymasi because it is a huge, busy city. This marked the end of our Site Integration period. My group, lovingly dubbed ‘PC Pieces’ by our trainers for our individuality, closeness, diplomatic attitude and love for Ghanaian cloth*, had been separated for three months, after having been shoved together for the first three months in country. It goes without saying how happy we were to see each other again. Not to mention, super happy to have air-conditioned rooms, protein at every meal and a swimming pool. We took full advantage of everything.

The first three months of service and being at site went by in the blink of an eye. I suspect the next three to be the same. Then it is the rainy season and as agriculture is the main occupation in Macondo, it will be my community’s busiest time. So really, the whole year will pass just as quickly. But let me give you a list of what I have been up to from December 2015 – March 2016. As PC says, integrate!

  • Help in peoples’ gardens

    IMG_20160226_104400
    Day trip to Bolga with some other PCVs.
  • Fetch firewood
  • Collect cashews
  • Hang out with the neighborhood kids
  • Start my own garden (just yesterday, I saw my cucumbers coming in!)
  • Started this blog
  • Taught a few English lessons at nearby schools
  • Held an international women’s day event
  • Day trips to Tamale and Bolga
  • Met with various farmer groups 

I think I have also just made a new list of potential blog topics.

It may not seem like a lot but one has to remember that out here, the pace of life is slower. Cooking takes longer than usual, laundry is an event of its own (how I wish there was a quick wash setting!) and let us not forget the heat. From 11am – 3pm, it is too hot for anything. Service began during the harmattan* season and turned into the dry, windless season. My area was lucky to get some rains in March to wet the parched earth and hold back the drying of some wells.

20160224_153548
Going around with Ministry of Food and Agriculture Extension Agents to register farmers on a mobile information sharing platform. Bush burning is heavily practiced and done during the harmattan. 

 

I will not lie – I miss the harmattan. The nights were cooler and I could sleep through the night without waking up drenched in sweat. These days, it is hard to fall a sleep at all and spend the night somewhat conscious of the fact that I am awake, hot and sweaty. Clearly, I am still adjusting. When I tell other PCVs of my dilemma they tell me to buy a fan. Oh, I would. If I had electricity.

*The Ghanaian cloth in reference here is ‘piecey piecey’ (spelling is debatable). It is a style done in Ghana, where scrap cloth is sewn together, thus creating larger, unique fabric. It is then used to make trousers, jackets, bags, etc.

*Harmattan – Paraphrased from Wiki (cuz you know, it’s always right) a dry and dusty northeasterly wind which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa.

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