Trip Start Sep 19, 2006
5Trip End Nov 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Last week I went to visit my site, aka the place where I will be living for the next two years. It was...interesting.
I didn't know what to expect. I knew that I was going to the Upper East region and so it would be grasslands and shade trees instead of jungle, and it would be hotter and dryer. People in the North tend to be more relaxed about life in general so I knew that it would be less crazy than Techiman.
Well it was all that. I absolutely loved it and think that things will be great there, especially as the entire crowd going to the UER is great. My three closest friends in the group are all within 3 hours of me, which is lucky. If you have a map of Ghana, I'm on the Bolga-Tamale highway, just south of Bolga, next to the town of Tongo which may or may not be on your map.
My house is a compound house all to myself that they just finished before I arrived for my visit. I have a front room, called a "hall" and a bedroom with a bed that may or may not be mine. (I witnessed some men pulling it out of someone else's house as I arrived, so if it is my bed it means someone in the village is lacking and I feel bad.) Then there is a courtyard and across the courtyard is my kitchen, my shower room, and my latrine. I don't have running water so shower room means "stall where I take my daily bucket bath" and my daily bucket bath I mean "maybe every few days if my village is lucky" because I strive to be the unbathed PCV of the upper east. I was told not to expect electricity, but apparently they're hooking me up because my neighbor has electricity and it's not complicated to attach my house. But we'll see.
I can walk to the town of Tongo in about 15-20 minutes and I can buy the basic basic necessities there. (Basic necessities are bread. I can buy bread in tongo.) Actually, I can get things like bread, tomatoes, yams, melon, rice and soap any day of the week and on market days the possibilities expand. I'll probably be going to Bolga every week because it's an actual city where I can access the internet, get mail, meet up with other PCVs, and buy anything I need beyond the above list. I can get to Bolga in about 20 minutes by car, but I could spend all day waiting for a car.
There's another guy from my group about 6k from my site, just over the mountain, and luckily he's someone I get along with so we'll probably hang out a lot. He got lucky in that he's replacing a site (there was a PCV there until last month) and so he gets her house....and everything in it. His placement allowance can go to something more interesting than a stove and furniture.
This week is just the week from hell where we go to sessions that we don't want to go to and make presentations that are useless to everyone involved, and next week will probably be even worse, but I swear in on the 30th and leave for site the next day. I'll probably take a couple of days in the TSO (tamale sub-office) just to chill and do some legitimate pre-research for my site (there's a sizeable agricultural library at TSO) so I'll arrive in Gbeogo on the 2nd or 3rd, most likely.
One reason why this week sucks is because the language I've been studying for 7 weeks - Guruni, commonly known as FraFra, is not spoken in Gbeogo. They speak something called Talen/Talensi. Unfortunately, after a minor show-down with administration, I have to continue to attend Guruni lessons so that I can fulfill a beaurocratic requirement by passing a language proficiency examination in Guruni a week from today. (Thank you mom and dad for raising me with a blatant disregard for all administration policy everywhere. Sometimes I wish I was a passive sheep of a person because then I wouldn't have to spend so much time fighting with people.)
Aaaannnyyywayyy, speaking of pointless sessions, I must be off to attend one right now.