Friday, November 14, 2008

“A Change in Perspective” by Tammi; 14 Nov 2008

Chris blending in with the locals

Sometimes I get to thinking that I should update the blog. Then I try to think of what I have to say that might be interesting to others. Sadly good ideas do not always come easily. As we are getting used to our routine here, life seems busy, tedious, and boring all at once. While my original intention was for the blog to kind of serve as my personal journal, I don’t want to bore the crap out my friends and family. But I have also recently come to realize that I really must consider perspective. We all need to take a step back now and then and self-reflect from an outside perspective the best we can. It hit me just the other day, “OMG my perspective has really changed over the past few months!” So here is a little window into our lives that may (or may not) be of interest:

Market lady (NOT possessed) with her husband

Every Thursday is market day in Donkorkrom. It’s the kind of day where one might be able to find really rare, exotic things like honey or a plastic dish drain rack (neither of which I was successful at finding this day). So anyway, Chris and I went to town to the market. We visited a few of the stalls and were crossing the main drag when we happened to notice a bare breasted woman. While it’s not uncommon to see an exposed breast here and there, Ghanaian women typically venture out fully and nicely dressed. So it was not the dangling boobs that drew our attention so much as the fact that the woman’s dark arms and torso were whitewashed with a floury looking substance. Ok, fine to each her own. It’s not like I’m making any great fashion statements either. Then just as we were passing by, the woman hurled the basket of things she was carrying down onto the street, screamed, and with arms (and breasts) flailing about, went running in the direction that she had just come. Well, that’s different Chris and I each thought to ourselves. Apparently noticing our slightly perplexed looks, the Ghanaian coworker with whom we were walking offered the simple explanation, “That woman is a priestess and she was taken by the spirit”. Duhh! Of course! That it explains it…priestess, temporarily possessed. We should have realized that. So no big deal, nothing to write home about…Or is it?!

Buying beef from the butcher shop

Monday morning I went to school to teach my ICT class and found that 2 of the 3 sockets that we have in the lab had almost entirely melted. There were little brown burn marks around the receptacles so I guess I should be glad that the lab was at least still standing. Such is the way of life (and electricity) in Ghana.

Speaking of electricity, on Sunday we were on our way home from Kumasi, about to reach the ferry crossing to Afram Plains when we noticed that there had been brush fires since we had passed this way two days ago. Brush fires are often set this time of year to clear an area for planting or to flush out animals making them easier targets for bush meat. Despite the forestry service pleas and education sessions, these fires continue to be set during the dry season and often burn beyond the control of those who set them. This time, we observed that the fire took out 5 power poles while it burned. When we finally arrived at the house after 11 ½ grueling hours of travel under the African sun, we found that we had no electricity. Hmmm…I wonder. At least we have running water. No, make that “HAD” running water. No problem, though. The assistant headmaster says that the piped water will return - sometime around March. (Thank goodness for water barrels and able-bodied students)!

Junior high and grade school students hauling water to their school

One last tidbit for now - Earlier this week a cow was slaughtered, butchered, and roasted just outside my kitchen window. I must admit that I do not recall that ever happening in our back yard in Ames. One might even think it unusual here in Donkorkrom. At least I have not seen that happen. Well, not since the goat was butchered and roasted in our yard a few weeks ago anyway.

No goats were harmed in the taking of this photo

P.S. Today the electricity is on and the water is flowing through the pipes. You would hardly know we're in the Peace Corps!


travelgirl said...

I so am enjoying reading your blogs. Especially enjoyed this one about perspective.
Sheri M.

Tamara said...

Sheri M.,
So when do you plan to do your Peace Corps experience? ;-)

Jenna Goldberg said...


I have been thinking about you two and wondering where you are and how your experience has been. I talked with Dave lasker the other day and we were curious about your Peace Corp Odyssey. So I tracked you down through your website. I look forward to reading all about your adventures.