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!!



  1. To my sweet Grandaughter - So happy to hear that you are well & passed your language test. Please don't turn Muslim!! I'll see what I can do with your wish list. I assume you'll be moving to Jirapa right after graduation. We really enjoyed the pictures Joy posted. Sounds like she is a good friend. Hope she won't be living too far from you up north. Wish we could see pics of your new Guanian outfit. Love you lots. Stay well. Grandma & Grandpa

  2. Hey, I'm all about the three husband thing. I'm working on number two. You have time to catch up with me though, so I still have hope for you. I understand the whole different religion thingy. I keep telling all the mormons here that I can't be mormon cause they don't drink wine or coffee. I could go without the wine thing, but coffee??? Seriously, Mountain Dew isn't coffee. I don't care how much of it you drink. And you HAVE to drink wine, afterall it's the only thing water can turn into if your Jesus.

    Ok, I know I have lacked in the sending you packages department. I'll work on it. I promise. I'll try.... I'm still trying to figure out how to get a chicken your way. I think your new house needs a chicken. Tell one of those guys that keep asking you to get married to get you a chicken and you might reconsider. A man that gives you chickens, and takes care of them for you - well that's just love. That's how you'll know if he really loves you. These guys that keep proposing, well, they're all the same. No chicken. Not serious.

    Remember to keep your sense of humor. No matter what is going on over there, remember that I'm stuck here. That'll make you laugh every single time.

    Oh, you ask - how's it in Idaho? Well, let's see. Still working at the city - even though there are budget short falls. Still trying to ride my four wheeler like I'm 12. Still listening to stories from your mom about Chloe. (She's trying to take some of my dog whispers and make sense of it.) Still keeping my feet on the sands. (and my dune buggy) Still colleting eggs. Added Goober Guy the duck - who takes a ton of my time, since my favorite activity now is watching Goober swim. That's about it.

    Love you. Love you. Love you. (that's three times for each of your husbands) Oh and one
    LOVE YOU for you.

  3. My language star! Who would have thought Dagaare is your third language after English and French. No more Peace Corps Trainee for you as PCV is the new title. It sounds like you are holding your own and wouldn't you know it meeting a lab worker right off the bat. It's magnetic attraction--likes attract. I'm thinking didn't the ancient Egyptians drink mead? Like honey mead? You probably won't car for Montana brew once you get back. I'm serious about sending your host family a gift. Get their address for me. Love, Mom and Dad