Today I was scheduled to go with Spencer, the Ghana Program Manager, and Adam to the village I will be assigned. Adam is just a friend of Spencer when they were in the Peace Corps. Adam stayed in a village called Antoa for his two year service. Spencer stayed in a nearby village, so before Adam left for the states he wanted to introduce me to the important people in the village. Adam came with to also be introduced and make official plans for my Expo program in the village.
In order to get to the village we had to take a 15 minute tro tro ride south to a town called Ejisu. Then from there the only practical way to get to Antoa is by shared taxi. The road is so bad that if you take a tro tro and get one in bad shape, then you won’t be able to walk for a week after. Or that’s what Adam claimed. I’ll still need to figure this out for myself. We arrived in the village, which was basically one road. There was a market behind one of the rows of buildings, but all the important people stayed on this main strip. We got out of the tro tro up the street by the SHS and his friend Daniel’s house. This was on the outskirts of town and it really looked like it. Apparently Danile had lived in the states for 30 years and just came back to Ghana to retire. Apparently that’s a good idea because his place looked like a drug dealer’s mansion in Cuba. He wasn’t there so we walked up the road to the village. There were no side walks and the sides of the road were pretty nasty so we avoided those. There isn’t a good infrastructure for sewage. Sorry, there is no infrastructure for sewage. So, they just drain it down the sides of the streets and out into the bush. The bush is basically where the thick jungle starts. We walked up the road for about twenty minutes and passed by about 10 huge trucks. They were empty, but were supposed to be overfilled with food. Adam said how scary it was sometimes with how overloaded those trucks were. I’m glad they weren’t overfilled, but I don’t like any signs of a famine.
We got around the corner and I saw a two lane road, about 300 yards long, that had old rickity buildings that made up “downtown.”. Before we even got 10 feet into town, people were yelling “Adams, Adams!” They recognized Adam and were overly excited. The first few ladies we came across were also very interested to meet me. I don’t speak Twi very well so our conversation was very limited. Something I will soon change. We walked down and met Adam’s Ghanaian mother. Apparently she housed and fed him for awhile. She was also powerful enough in the village that warrented us asking her if our presence was accepted. Apparently I passed the test because she welcomed me into the village and said it would be fine to work with the students. Spencer and I walked ahead of Adam, he had to talk to literally everyone we passed. We waited in the clinic, where we talked with Daniel. This is a different Daniel from the one who lived in the US for a long time. Daniel in a relatively large property at the end of the road. Adam stayed with him in one of the rooms and they share kitchen, bathroom, and shower. That’s where I’ll be staying. He went down and showed me my room and around the facility. There was a big wall and gate at the front of the property. It seemed small, but perfect for my purpose. I want to spend very little time in my room anyway. I hope to be spending most of my spare time with the villagers and then traveling around when I get village fever. Then we finished the visit with a nice cold beer at the only bar in town.
I am very excited to live here soon. There will be basically nothing that those people won’t know about me or what I do everyday. I will also do my best to learn about them. These villages really need the most help with the student pass rates into high school. If you remember the percentage of students not passing the high school exam in Ghana is about 60%. That is much higher in these villages. Especially for girls. Spencer said that his village had a 0% pass rate before he started working there. That means that the 200 children in his village all failed the exam and would be stuck to life in the village whether they like it or not. The main issue is attendance for kids and for teachers. Then, the next problem would probably be the quality and availability of teachers. In Antoa they don’t even have a teacher for science. I can already see what my side project will be. Spencer was encouraging me to be a teacher, but only if I thought I would enjoy it. For the first month I my focus will be setting up my program and learning my Twi. Then as I settle in, I will figure out what other projects I can work on.