Wednesday, July 1, 2009

50 pesewas to Jesus

Hey All!

So, everyday seems to be filled with something new, something odd, and something hilarious. I decided to go to a Methodist church with my Grandmother on Sunday and it was probably the longest 4 hours of my life. There was a lot of singing and dancing (which was fine but I had no idea what anyone was saying) and a lot of "offerings" so to speak. The sermon was interesting. Since their woman's group was raising money that Sunday he wanted to talk about women. Fair enough. But more importantly the role and duty of women. I knew at that point it was about to get interesting. We should wake up early, clean, have breakfast ready for the family because cleanliness is next to godliness. I sort of felt like I went back to the 50's but when he said the same thing in Twi the women kind of laughed so I'm not sure how serious it was. Then he continued to talk about the empowerment of women and how they're getting jobs outside the home etc... so then I felt like I was in the 60's when women not only had to work but clean and cook too! Good times... After about a half an hour of that the Pastor wanted the Americans to come forward and introduce themselves. So my other wonderful feminist volunteer friend Lindsey and I made our way to the front, used the little Twi we knew to say where we were from etc.. and we thought that would be it. Oh no. He announced that we couldn't go sit down until somebody donated 10 Ghana cedis for each of us. I quickly looked at Lindsey, "Are we being auctioned off?! At church?! In the name of God?! Without us realizing it?!" Yes we were. Luckily the 10 cedis came quickly and we could sit down but Lindsey was informed that she should now marry that man. Anything in the name of God right?

We spent the rest of the church service donating money during hymes. Its different also since they announce the price people are donating and then you get up and put that much in the box. I was apparently called on to donate a large sum of money but ya... volunteer. So I gave my 50 pesewas and I'm not sure I'll go back. I did meet a wonderful young Ghanaian girl after the service though that said she wanted to learn to play the piano. The church actually has a little Yamaha keyboard so I told her if she set it up I could teach her some things!

My host family is fine and always overly concerned and worried about me. They tried to wake me up at 5:30 this morning to sweep since they didn't understand what my teacher had told them about letting us sleep and just helping us cook etc... So hopefully I'll get that fixed and won't have knocking on my door everyday at 5:30. I know I woke up a lot earlier than that before (you crazy ICP staff)...but training is crazy and I could use the sleep! My host family does however really want to dress me up and buy me clothes and jewelry. Its uh... interesting and I'm trying to figure out how to best get around it. Also, when you invite a Ghanaian person out somewhere its important to know that you'll be the one paying. I didn't realize this and my host sister was very excited about getting us more food and drinks...and I saw why when I had to pay at the end. Important lessons to learn.

I should probably tell you all a little about my site! The town is called Jirapa and it's in the Upper West Region. The population is about 16,000 so its much larger than I expected. I have electricity, a flush toilet (oh ya!), and two rooms and a living room all to myself. Three volunteers have been there before me so I'll be jumping into quite a few projects which hopefully means I won't be board. There's a women's bakery that needs help with organization and marketing, there's a People Living With AIDS group that would like help with presentations and ideas for income to buy their medicine. There is also a clinic, an orphanage, and I'm in the District Capital so I hopefully will do a lot of work with the local government. They eat dog where I am going. But I think I love them too much to do that. It would be like eating a little Chloe...ya no way. We head to our site visits in a few weeks so I'll have more info after I check everything out!

Hope all is well in the states!! Miss you all!! The rain has stopped so we're leaving the Internet cafe!!



  1. So good to hear that your doing well. Hope they gave you a good broom for sweeping. Might as well learn how its done. Do they have music for the keyboard? We could send you some. Wish I could see you in those pretty clothes. You might need them if you ever go to church again. Love you lots. Grandma

  2. Hello Elyse!

    Yeah, I think you fulfilled your church duties... 4 hours... They get that from the Mormons - sounds like a Sunday in Plano, Idaho. We went duning on our 4 wheelers last week and I rolled my on top of me. Luckily Brandon was there to lift it off me. He was worried about me, which left Scott to worry about the 4 wheeler. Priorities!!! I am bruised and sore, but nothing broken and no need for stitches. Scott found an arrow head and Lynn found a spear head. We went into the Junipers about 30 miles. It was FABULOUS!!! Even with my injuries, I kept on going. I have Brandon painting the house and actually got Josh off the couch to plant most my flowers. Your folks and Grandma and Grandpa are coming for the Fourth. The weather here has been nice, so we expect to do a little duning. Wish you were here. Jessalyn left for Rome yesterday and I havn't heard that she made it. I guess no news is good news. Keep up the blogging. I love it and I really have a blast going to work and bragging about my niece in Africa. Anyway, I love you.

  3. Elyse, I'm at Aunt Patty and Uncle Scott's home. Chloe is letting Inga be alpha dog but is defending herself. No huge dog fights yet. It is good that there is another alpha dog around here. I think you could try a Lutheran church next time. Hey we Lutherans have some good African music. Would you like me to send you a few pages of music? I can hear the drums and amens and joys now. Dad was laughing out loud when reading your blog. Say hi to your home stay family for me. Would they like something from Montana? I could send it. Love you lots, Mom

  4. Wow sounds like a lot to take it!!! I couldn't eat dog either....thats just a little crazy for me!!! Chloe would probably agree!!! Will you address change once you get to you new site??? If it does be sure to let me know please!!! Good to hear from you again!!!! miss you! Jamie

  5. Hey there Elyse, you have been talked about at work recently. You are missed in the early hours of the morning. I am glad to hear you are doing well and be careful not to get married or sold. YIKES! As for eating dog no way, what would your dog think of that, maybe a cat would be ok. :) The house is coming along nice we are having a house warming party next week. Thats neat you have been finding lots of things to teach people sounds like you are having a great time. Well we are going camping so maybe we talk again soon. Are you using your facebook, so I can message you there?

  6. Hey, Elyse!!! Demetra stopped by today to say goodbye, and hop on the plane in a few days for HER Africa experience! She gave me your blog address!
    Yay! It sounds like you are already having an amazing experience!I'm so excited for you! The bakery, AIDS education and govt work all sound great! You are one patient lady to sit through 4 hours of church-woooow!!!
    Dr. E got back from his month in Zambia and wants to go back nexg year. He loved it and we're hoping our whole family can go next time. All's well and going along as usual here...lots of gardenting, reading of good books, and camping planned for summer fun! Hope you continue to soak up the wonder of it all! I'm thinking of you alot and would love your address atrsome point for care packages!!! Keep in touch! Check out the birds while you are there too! Dr. E saw amazing ones! Huge hugs, Ann-Scott (and Dr. E)