Thanksgiving is over, technical training is over, massive traveling is over. I am in the home stretch! We are in Kumasi right now, but won’t be in a few hours. We are headed back to homestays. I am really looking forward to some bankou and groundnut soup courtesy of my host mom. Her bankou is the best. Tomorrow is a free day which means I will spend it by studying language and sleeping. LOTS OF SLEEPING.
So what have I been doing for the past month?
PEPFAR field exercizes – we painted for 3 days, it was awesome. (Getting to Techiman is a full blog post in itself – I need to remember to write that up)
Technical training in Techiman – we learned about moringa trees, some other stuff I obviously paid a lot of attention to, and RABBITS. We played with bunnies for half a day. It was the best day of training ever. No seriously. I held little baby bunnies for 45 minutes. I got to pet the cutest rabbits ever. I also saw them mate, which was awkward but really funny. I can’t wait until I can post the most adorable video of the bunnies. If ever I am sad and blue, I will just have to watch that video and I will be flooded with happiness.
Cashew In-Service Training – I met the cashew team and learned lots of valuable information about the business side of cashews. We stayed in a pretty nice hotel for the training. Cara and I shared a California King bed. Cara and I also made a fabulous trip to Cash and Carry, my new favorite store. It has everything a white person could need! Tang, Listerine, Frosted Flakes, and Obama biscuits!!! Oh and nutella. THANK GOD. I really enjoyed this part of training, for reasons in addition to cashews.
Technical training up north around Bolgatanga – getting there was atrocious. The van went so slow, it took us an extra 3 hours because I guess our wonderful driver was told to take it slow because of bumps. I don’t know which is worse and extra 3 hours in the cramped van or a few extra bumps. 3 HOURS IN THE VAN. Duh. Needless to say, I was a bit of a monster after getting off that van. The ride ended up being 10 hours. I was not in a good mood that day. At all. We stayed at this really cool lodge like place outside of Bolga. It felt like luxury camping, if there is such a thing. The food was amazing. The first real day we had there was a free day. After being with everyone for over a month though, I was fed up and not in the mood to be around anyone. That was a bad day, I just wanted to curl in a ball and be by myself, but I couldn’t do that. Plus I did a lot of laundry, which I don’t know about you – but when does hand washing lots of laundry ever put you in a good mood?
Anyway, so technical training was, well, how do I put this…semi-enlightening. Did I really learn much? No. Not at all. I mean we spent an entire day building a beehive and a rabbit cage. Half the day was wasted sitting at a lumber mill waiting for the guys to cut the wood. Really? It was just a really frustrating day. So, Janette and I took our leave and went shopping with the greatest driver ever: Ernest. We organized Thanksgiving for the group, so we did the shopping as well. I am glad we had a Ghanaian with us, for one to help carry all the stuff, and to help us get dashed! We were really afraid we didn’t buy enough food for 25 people to eat. We also purchased a live turkey at the market. That was an experience. They guy wanted 140 cedis for the turkey! That’s about $115 US! FOR A TURKEY. For one turkey. Ernest talked the guy down to 90 cedis instead. That’s about $60. Which for us, still seemed really expensive. We carried the live turkey back to the bus and let the turkey chill on the floor.
The rest of technical training was sort of a wash too. I honestly didn’t really get much out of it. I did learn a lot about Ghanaian culture though, which is equally important. The stuff we did during Technical training in Bolga didn’t really apply much to me anyway, if I need to know something there are experts even within our group that could answer questions for me. I started to perk up a bit more later in the week of training. I think we are all just drained and exhausted. I know that I am really looking forward to a day off to decompress.
Leaving for Kumasi, we stopped in Bolga to buy baskets and hats. I bought a beautiful big basket that screamed “buy me! You know I am perfect for you” so I did. I could have negotiated down a cedi or two, but really what’s the difference in the end if you really want something? Market prices! Love it! Anyway, we got on the road for Kumasi really late. The ride from Bolga to Kumasi is about 10 hours. It took us 12. 12 HOURS to drive from one side of the country to slightly the other, but not even close. Why does it take so long? Pot holes. GIANT MOTHER FUCKING POT HOLES.
Thanksgiving deserves a post to itself and this one is getting kinda long. So I will write up about Thanksgiving at some other time.