Monday, January 25, 2010


Last Saturday I was walking to Fetteh with Isaac Ayensu. Isaac needed some new slippers (flip flops) so we were walking to the village to get some. Along the way we passed several funerals. (I heard later there were 5 funerals in Fetteh that day!) The funeral procession were walking somberly down the road carrying on their shoulders the brightly painted SHARK coffin of the man who died. It was almost comical for the mourners to be so serious, and the coffin so blunt. What made the whole thing actually comical was on our return trip. We walked by the gathering once again, this time at the graveside. They were standing around arguing and talking animatedly. I glance over and noticed their predicament. The grave was not big enough. And to make matters worse, they had put a small cement lining around the hole. The argument was over which part of the coffin (SHARK) to cut off in order to make it fit. Ha ha! Man what a funeral! RIP. Rest in Pieces.

P.S. I should put a disclaimer that certainly most funerals here are a little less eventful and a little more sophisticated that this particular one.

I'm Back!

Sorry for the delay in posting...there has been a change in the internet situation.

I was met at the airport by Araba, Leticia, and Dana with huge hugs and “happy new years!” It was so great to have my own welcoming committee. From the moment they greeted me outside the doors I felt a certain sense of peace return. They didn’t just send a driver for me, they wanted to come and meet me. Araba listened to her beloved classical music and Dana fell asleep as he and I were crammed in the back with my luggage. It was a great feeling to be back! We didn’t get in to VOH till midnight, so I didn’t see the kids until the following morning. I came late to assembly at school Monday morning and saw all the kids there for the first time. I stood in the back because I was late, one by one kids would glance back and see me and I got to watch the smiles spread across their faces. I loved it!

The first week back was quite rewarding. I kicked off the new positive behavior incentives program this week, along with the new library check out system. I have felt good about the reception to both thus far. They are the first school-wide things that I have implemented besides the reorganization of the library. I feel more comfortable all the time in my teaching routine. It still certainly has its challenges. There is much that needs to be improved, but only small steps are achievable at a time.

It is quite interesting to watch the groups that come and go. Right now there is the largest group here since August. Each group seems to bring their own personality, goals, and types of relationship with the kids. Some seem a bit lost and don’t know where to start, some jump right in and serve at the school/clinic. Some can go a whole week and barely know two kids’ names, while others know the whole village by the end of the week. I find it fascinating to hear people’s perspectives on the VOH and the kids here through their eyes. My perspective has continued to develop over my time here, and I can’t even begin to try and explain it. If you notice most of my blog entries are about events and things that have happened. I can’t begin to philosophize about the culture and my emotional and spiritual journey here. And I feel to try and explain it I would fall quite short and cheapen it all together. When I sit down to even journal I feel lost for words at the experience of living & working here. I may not be able to fully comprehend or vocalize life here, but I do know it is exactly where I want to be right now!