Jan 312010
A TV on the Head and a 30-Foot Pole on the Shoulder

I shrieked when I looked down the long dirt road and saw what Seth and Oliver were doing.

“You said it would be easy!” I screamed as I ran towards them. “You said it would be ‘no problem’ to move the TV here from the office! This is NOT easy!”

Perched precariously atop Seth’s grinning head was the massive television, jerking heavily with every step Seth took as he strode towards [...Read More!]

Jan 302010
African Cultural Values: Honoring Humanity

YCC’s Director, John, has given me some serious homework.

The task: to read African Cultural Values, by Kwame Gyekye, and then to devour the very hefty A History of Indigenous Slavery in Ghana, by Akosua Adoma Perbi, ultimately digesting all this new information into lessons to add to the curriculum of the twice-weekly Cross Culture class.

I accept this mission, sir! And thus I am halfway through the easier of the two [...Read More!]

Jan 292010
Ahh!!! A White Person!!!

“We don’t mean it to be rude at all,” explained YCC teacher Derrick, smiling his luminous smile, “it’s just, you know, it’s unusual to see a pale person, and so the people get excited.”

YCC’s Director, John, laughingly explained at YCC orientation that volunteers will begin to think there is a national song in Ghana that goes something like this: “YEVUUUU!”

What does this strange howl mean? The answer is easy: [...Read More!]

Jan 282010
An Update on the Ghana-Britain Student Exchange!

This Sunday, YCC’s Director, John, held another meeting with the parents of the young Ghanaians planning to voyage to Britain for three weeks in August for the return half of the wonderful educational exchange begun last year.

Several of you have asked for updates on this inspirational project, and a few of you (thank you again!) have even donated money through the Paypal button on this very site. I promise to [...Read More!]

Jan 272010
New Climate, New Cravings

Fellow volunteer Dan was on his fifth Coke of the day, I kid you not, when I finally asked him: “Is this how many sugar waters you chug back home in America?” (I may have added “you freak” to the end of this sentence.)

“Nope,” replied Dan with a (literally) sweet grin, “I never touch the stuff at home. But in Ghana, it’s heaven!”


But wait– judge not, lest you be [...Read More!]

Jan 262010
Include the Developing in Development Discussions!

Once again today, I was deeply, deeply inspired, as an American educator, by the work of Youth Creating Change, Ghana.

Every Saturday, YCC’s Director John Glidden gathers under the dappled shade of two trees with the seventeen Ghanaian students who are gearing up to voyage to London in August of 2010 for the return half of an amazing educational exchange.

For the two hours of this “Cross-Culture Class,” John holds his pupils rapt, [...Read More!]

Jan 252010
Millicent The Magic-Making Cook

I’m not going to lie: it’s a little scary to walk through a pitch dark, packed market, lit by only tiny flickering gas candles, pursued everywhere by the ghostly yell: Yavoo! Yavoo! White woman!

Luckily, I had Millicent’s warm hand on my arm as we wove through the shadowy stalls to buy her ingredients for the week.

When you live or travel in a country far less expensive than your own, [...Read More!]

Jan 242010
The Two Hundredth Article!

Today marks the TWO HUNDREDTH article of this Around the World blog!!!

I began writing on July 27, 2009, meaning I’ve posted an average of about one article per day for all these seven months. Oooh these insatiable fingers!

Anyway, hooray! May there be many more articles to come, and may there continue to be wonderful readers like YOU. Let us use this joyous landmark for an overview update!

A.) An [...Read More!]

Jan 232010
Dalive Donations

Most of us from America have tossed our old clothes into a donation bin at some point.

Maybe you threw in that free tee shirt from your school spirit day four years ago.

Maybe your mother snatched those raggedy pants out of your closet and screamed, “Give these away now! I’m so sick of seeing you schlump around in them!”

Maybe you had to dump out an entire wardrobe after a miraculous weight [...Read More!]

Jan 222010
Beating Students with Canes

(Note: All photos for this article were obtained by walking to the closest school today and saying, “I’m an American teacher and have never seen a punishment cane. Can you show me how it works?” It may seem bizarre to be smiling in photos about corporal punishment, but here, the whole affair is discussed with levity.)

“How many of you were beaten with canes by your teachers TODAY?” I asked [...Read More!]