Hindsight in Progress

At the 2 month mark (1/3 of my total time here), I thought I’d look back and see what I’ve learned. Some things  are specific to my position within PoP:

  1. I prefer chaperoning to entertaining
  2. It takes me about 2 weeks to recover from either
  3. It’s okay to be assertive with my superiors, indeed sometimes it’s necessary

And, there are some things that are specific to Ghana.

  1. Ghanaian English includes such everyday phrases as
    • “go and come” – “I’ll be right back”
    • “come on time” – still no idea
    • “you will take beer?” – ‘take’ = ‘have/consume’
    • “small, small” – “a little bit”
    • “you are invited” – “would you like to share?”
  2. Make friends with the market vendors, get free food
  3. I must have acceptable answers to the first three questions of polite conversation; in order: “how are you?”, “are you married?”, “are you a Christian?”, and sometimes the fourth “will you take me to US?”

But my friend captures a good list for things learned about daily life in West Africa. A modified re-post from Emily’s blog as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin:

Walk around, leave your house, do not watch that next episode of the West Wing; Never underestimate the value of greeting someone; Start projects early, things will rarely work out as they planned; … Someone will always answer your question, but you have to be willing to ask first; Determine what you think is your capacity for patience, then double it; Your attitude that day will be directly reflected in the actions of your [neighbors]; Take advantage of what resources you can get your hands on; Sometimes, you just need to sit in your house, drink red wine and stalk [Twitter]; … A song is a powerful incentive; Sweating while not moving is possible; … Pounded yams. Eat them; You will become accustomed to three-inch long cockroaches in your latrine faster than you would think; After about four [weeks], you tend to forget what you don’t have; You will be surprised at the people who you miss; Some of the best things can be purchased from atop a person’s head; People’s perceptiveness will surprise you; Just dance; Tragedies in the US will still reach you even if you are six time zones away; [Students are some of the best teachers]; Don’t spend so much time doubting that your colleagues will come through; Surround yourself with good people, with them you can do anything; You can do this.

I would only add that I am pleasantly surprised by how comfortable life is here and how quickly I’ve adapted. I still daydream about things like winery visits or brewery tours and apple-picking, but on the whole, Ghana has been good to me.


3 responses to “Hindsight in Progress

  1. Pingback: On Patriotism: Republic Day | The Menace of the Years

  2. Pingback: Light bulb. | The Menace of the Years

  3. Pingback: The One Month Countdown | The Menace of the Years

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