Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some pictures!

Ok, I tried to load these on facebook and that failed...really badly. So...I selected just a few to share on here. I'll see if I can get more up later.
This is the famous Guillermo and I about to see Obama! Guillermo thought my grandmother and favorite aunt Patty would appreciate this photo!

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Next we have the wonderful Lindsey and I. She is amazing and her site is way way too far away from mine!!!
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Below are what we like to "grubs". I know what you're thinking, "Wow, that's disgusting/fear factor like I really hope she didn't eat those.." But I did. We stuck them on a stick kabob style, roasted them a little and then ate. It a gusher...and the head is kind of crunchy...I don't think it will be a normal thing in my diet but I'm going all out so it had to be done. Image Hosted by

Speaking of going all out, the beautiful Joy and I got weaves done in our hair. So here is some of that! We are also sporting our latest fashion statement made and picked out by our amazing home stay families!
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So I have officially become a volunteer and sadly left my home stay family. We were a little bit of a mess when the taxi pulled away. For people I could barely have a conversation with I'm gonna miss them a lot. My host grandmother sort of prayed over me/wished me well (I think anyway it was in Twi) and could barely hug me because she was crying. They're an incredible family and took such good care of me. (about sending them a package mom-they don't have an doesn't really work that way here) I gave them some MT huckleberry candies and jam and they loved it! Here is a picture of my little sister Victoria doing some coloring.
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So out of all the sectors at swearing in WAT/SAN was by far the brightest. My host father wove me an entire outfit out of Kente which is a traditional cloth woven in Ghana. A normal 2yard of fabric here cost about 6 to 8 Ghana Cedis but a 2 yard of Kente costs about 60 to 80 cedis depending on the design. Ya, so I was wearing the real thing! This is my sector group all dressed up in our Ghana wear for swearing in!
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Here is a photo of me and Dorothy! She was always a full supporter of my crazy bright hair and clothes. And has been an amazing women and now Peace Corps volunteer to have around.
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Alright, so I'm runnin out of Internet time. But I hope you all enjoyed these few photos. I'll be at my site for awhile now getting settled in. Thank you so much for the letters and I received the package Grandma!! Everyone loves you now as I shared the trail mix/newspaper/gummy bears etc...!!! I still love you the most!
Everyone keep me updated on things at home!! Miss you all!
Peace and Love,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another Calabash Please!! Also, I can't be your wife.

I'm going to start this blog by putting up my wish list so far.
Good tea
Candles/good incense
Mac and Cheese
Hemp. (for making necklaces) -lots of cool beads here
Good pens/sharpies
Chicken soup packets...
Instant potatoes, really instant anything.
Bobbie pins

I got a P.O. box at my site which goes like this...
Elyse Cleveland
P.O. box 26
Jirapa, Upper West Region
Ghana, West Africa

So that should be fine to send letters to. But I don't know how good it will be so as far as packages go so the group of volunteers in my region has a box they share in the capital city and they have no problem receiving packages there. So send packages from now on to...
Elyse Cleveland
Peace Corps Volunteer
P.O. Box 523
Wa, Upper West Region
Ghana, West Africa

First, thank you for all the comments!! I love them all! Sorry about the viruses if that's happening. We can only use Internet cafes here so unless you have your own computer its always a tad risky so I apologize if my blog had something bad attached to it! Patty I love your list! Made me laugh. :)

Ok... so I went on site visit!! First we met up with our "counterparts/supervisors" as a group and kind of had a workshop sort of thing. My supervisor is... well... awesome. If he had a theme song it would go like this, "You can tell by the way I use my walk I'm a ladies man no time to talk..." ya the Bee Gees. He's got a great sense of humor and is pretty motivated and really helpful and an awesome 70's sort of style. After a long workshop trying to get past all those cultural barriers so we can work together we spent the next 14 hours crammed on buses/tros together. So I know him fairly well now. We left at 5am and I got to site around 10 at night. My house wasn't ready (surprise) so they put me up in a guest house/hotel which was very nice. My supervisor told me he would come get me the next morning around 9 or 10 to introduce me to people etc.. well the next morning around 11, still no supervisor. I was board so I put on my newly made Ghanaian outfit (My host mom picked out the fabric) and I decided to check out my new home. It happened to be market day and I happened to run into a really great lady (Stella) that works in the hospital's medical lab. (figures right, I must attract lab people). She was on her way to her sisters Pito stand so I'm like, "Sweet what's pito?!" I spent the next few hours hanging around with Stella drinking the local brew- its sweet and kind of taste like mead I guess, it's made from millet. Not bad. About 95% of my community is Catholic (figures again, I must attract them too). So about 95% of my community really enjoys Pito. Then I met some other locals, drank more pito, turned down about 10 marriage proposals (I think it was my sweet outfit), drank more pito, practiced my Dagaare, and spent all day at market. It was a good first day I think. I'm integrating ;).

The rest of the time at site visit I met the entire District Assembly (the local government here) reminds me of all the people my parents work with! Oh government workers...all so alike. Good senses of humor. I met some of the local doctors, education directors, community development workers, and health directors. And everyone was excited to see me and told me I could help them with their projects so I'm starting to get a lot of ideas. Not committing to anything just yet...

My house is great but just needs to have a few things fixed. So I really hope that's done by the time I get back. I have a living room, bathroom, veranda, two bedrooms, kitchen, and some pigeons in my roof. My neighbor Lesley wanted me to send all her warm wishes to my family in America!! She's great and helped teach me to make Saw as it's called in the north but more commonly known as T Zed.

I also had an interesting conversation with one of the few Muslims in my town when I was hanging out playing a local board game with some women. He works for the district assembly and told me that by the end of my 2 years he would make me Muslim. I told him there were 3 reasons I cannot be Muslim and he had a solution for everyone so our discussion isn't over I'm sure. First I said, "The men are allowed multiple wives but the women aren't. I want 3 husbands so that's gonna be a problem" he asked me if I would be able to provide for all of them. I said, "Sure! I'll make lots of money!" Than he said, "That's not what I meant". Then I moved on b/c I wasn't about to go there. I said, "Women don't have the same rights as the men in the organization and I'm not ok with that". He said we'd go talk to the church or masque or whatever and get it worked out. Great. Then I said, "I like Pito and you're not allowed to drink Pito." He really didn't have a good answer for this. The women were getting a kick out of the conversation though, laughing at him the whole time. After this he decided to go home to his 2 wives and I stayed to finish the game even though I was invited over for dinner.

Ok, well back to the village! I passed my language test today!! Horray!! So swearing in is on the 13th. I can't believe training is pretty much over. I will officially be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana. Ah! Love you all miss you tons!!