Feb 082010
 
Power Outages and the Power of Patience

The electric power and running water have gone out for at least five hours a day, every day, for the past two weeks here in Sogakope. Nooo!

Usually these outages strike from mid-day to nightfall, but no one can predict exactly when they will start or end.

Are the utility companies purposely shutting off the water and power to work on some major problem in the system?

Are the outages just accidental [...Read More!]

Feb 072010
 
An Awesome Plastic Hairstyle

“Heeey!” we heard as Millicent and I made our sweaty way through Sogakope’s outdoor market.

It was YCC staff member, Dorcas, who we hadn’t seen since she fell ill several weeks ago!

“Ehfoah?” Dorcas asked us in Ewe, shaking our hands and snapping our middle fingers together with a “POP.” “Are you fine?”

“Ehhh,” Millicent and I responded with twin grins. “Yes!”

We confessed why we were in the market: ever since experiencing [...Read More!]

Feb 062010
 
A List of Concrete Ways to Help!

By now, if you are a good little tortoise, you have already read yesterday’s article. Well done!

If you are a bad little bunny, however, and haven’t done your reading (tsk, tsk, tsk, punk!), here’s the summary: the African version of the “Tortoise and the Hare” folktale teaches us that working together as a team, we can surmount giant obstacles.

So today we turn to the concrete: HOW exactly [...Read More!]

Feb 052010
 
Unity and Help: The Lesson of the Tortoise

Chances are that you’ve heard the story of the tortoise and the hare before… at least you’ve heard ONE version of it.

In this classic Aesop folktale, the speedy, cocky hare challenges the slow-poke tortoise to a race, and the tortoise shockingly agrees.

The race begins!

Halfway through the competition, the hare becomes so overconfident at his giant lead that he takes a nap, dreaming of his glorious and easy victory.

When the hare awakes– [...Read More!]

Feb 042010
 
A Brilliant Method of Eating Mangoes

First: admit and submit to the glory of the mango. It is the best fruit ever.

Second: Yes, my skin is now a crispy shade of red-brown, as the photo to the lower right reveals. I can’t help it! The Ghanaian sun is literally GIANT sized here, and has the super-ability of crawling beneath hats, awnings, roofs, and sunscreen.

Oh little epidermis– keep trying your best to protect me and [...Read More!]

Feb 032010
 
How to Get a Custom-Made Dress for $15

Want a custom-made dress for just $7.50 for the fabric and $7.50 for the sewing, making a grand total price of just $15 U.S. dollars?

Just follow these simple steps!

1.) Fly to Ghana. (Don’t forget your visa and your vaccinations.) I told you this would be easy, right?

2.) Trot over to the nearest hectic, madly bustling outdoor market you can find.

In Sogakope, this market (pictured to the upper [...Read More!]

Feb 022010
 
An Extremely Important Point for Teachers

I looked at the list of words on the green chalkboard. For the past ten minutes, the sweet Ghanaian pupils of this Volta Region school had been raising their hands to share the words in their donated independent reading books that they did not understand.

Here were a few of those words:- Weirdest - Garbage- Massachusetts- Mallow-blaster cookie - Scarecrow - Arnold

I was mystified. These children in the Total Child [...Read More!]

Feb 012010
 
Stay at the Wonderful YCC Guesthouse!

Have you always been intrigued by the idea of a visit to Africa but are unsure about how to go about doing it?

Listen: if a seventy-one year old German woman who speaks just a few words of English can have a fabulous month-long volunteer stay here in Ghana, why can’t you?

You can be guaranteed a large and comfortable bed, a powerful and refreshing shower, scrumptious local food prepared for you at [...Read More!]

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!]