Earlier in the week I moved all my belongings for the second time in two months. This time it was to my new home. I had to await a bed though, so I couldn’t actually move in until a few days later. Moving in Ghana reminded me of moving out of my old apartment back in America.
I remember the day very well. It was a cloudy morning, but it quickly turned into a sunny day. My dad and two of his friends drove an hour and a half to help me move. We rented a truck and stuffed it full of my crap. It is really remarkable how much stuff I had accumulated. I honestly don’t know how I filled that truck up, what did I own?! I know there were quite a few boxes of just clothes and shoes. I did have a ridiculously nice bed too. Now I’m thinking about my mattress and how wonderful it was. You know what’s crazy – springs in mattresses, what a concept!
Moving here in Ghana I realized that the majority of my stuff was the same – clothes. Surprise, surprise. We were able to fit everything into one SUV this time though. I had a wardrobe, bookshelf, and small table piled onto the top of our car.
I’m surprised we didn’t rip down some power lines while driving.
When I first saw my new house, I was so excited. It is just one room with a nice front porch. On the porch is a cabinet of sorts for cooking. That’s my kitchen. There is a latrine behind the house and a bathing area too. I no longer have running water, but I still have electricity. My old place was two big rooms with 5 windows in each room. I also had a separate kitchen that was massive with a built in sink. I had a shower and a flush toilet. I was in Posh Corps. You’d think I’d be upset having to downgrade, but honestly I’m pretty happy.
I’m happy that I have a site. I’m happy that I have my own place. I’m happy that the area is quiet. I’m happy that my new town is wonderful. I love my new town – it is pretty big 80,000ish people. It is also the location of West Africa’s largest market. Just recently a cafeteria opened up, which serves delicious pizza and other American foods for decent prices. I have easy access to cheese, yoghurt, milk, vast supply of vegetables, and faster internet. Not to mention there is a crocodile that lives in the Tano River, so I have some good company.
Techiman is also a historical city. I’m pulling this from the internets:
Techiman, the legendary birthplace of the Akan people, was the nerve center of the ancient Bono Kingdom which was rich in gold and had strong trading links with the ancient Kingdoms of the Savanna and Sahel, notably Timbuktu and Egypt. According to Bono Techiman traditions, the forebears of the Techiman people were the pioneer Akan people to settle in the area occupied today by the people of the Brong-Ahafo Region. It is not surprising that today, Techiman is at the center of major crossroads with an important
If you want to go to any town in the northern regions of Ghana, you have to go through Techiman. So, while I was first aprehensive, I’m now extremely excited. I love Techiman and I know that I will enjoy living there.
I noticed something while moving though. Rewind the clock to November of 2011, when I visited my first site for the first time. I remember being scared, anxious, and nervous. I wasn’t excited at all. Every little thing that was out of place made me panic. It was the fear of the unknown. Now, it is different. I wasn’t nervous walking up to my house for the first time. I was happy. I saw one room with a lot of potential. I saw the opportunity to make this one room and a porch mine. I can’t wait to paint, to decorate, and to arrange my furniture. There is something so soothing about unpacking. Putting everything in an orderly place. Touching everything, feeling the memories. I’m not scared anymore. I’m at ease. In my mind I’ve accepted the transition and I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me.
I’m looking forward to living without running water and with a latrine. I’m happy that I’ll finally get the real Peace Corps experience, despite living in a town with so much. I still don’t really have any projects in town. Everything I’m slated to do is mobile – literally, smartphones. I’ve almost been given a promotion. While smartphones will keep me busy through the cashew season, I already have plans to occupy myself as well. I’ve been requested to teach business literacy throughout the country at other volunteers’ sites. I already have quite a few people chomping at the bit to have me come present. I’m hoping to also partner up with the National Board for something something something (business government group). I really want to work with tailors, getting them producing things for resale. I want tailors to use their scrapes to make wallets or purses. I want kids to pick up water satchets and have the tailors make them into bags, wallets, cases, anything. I want tailors to make effective schedules, record their sales and purchases, and find new ways to make additional income. Plus, let’s be honest I want to be able to shop around for the best tailor in town.
Those are my goals for the next year. Not to mention continuing my work with SAP, hopefully expanding the pilot to more communities both in Ghana and throughout West Africa.
I’m excited for the opportunity to have a fresh start. I won’t let the disappointments of the last year affect me. I won’t let those incidents impact my ability to help a new community. I will admit though, every time I see a white truck I jump to the side and have a very mild panic attack. It makes me want to buy a bigger truck when I get back to America though.
My one window looking out on my porch. The room is going to get a fresh coat of lighter paint.
The view from my front porch. I’ll get a better picture soon, but from behind those houses, you get a great view of the cliffs.
New house, new set of keys.