For tons of pictures and videos from Ghana and a few from my village. It would be impossible/impossibly time-consuming to caption each photo, so here's the basic order, from top to bottom:
-Some shots from the night I made palm oil and cooked crab and collard greens with my neighbors,
-the filthy beach in Togo and John Mark giving Togo a thumbs-down,
-Big Milly's Backyard, our beach resort in Kokrobite,
-Cape Coast: our hotel, fishermen reeling in their nets, and the slave castle,
-brass casting! Polishing the final product with rotten lemons, breaking the molds, melting the brass, shaping the wax, etc.
-beautiful, developed Ghana!
The videos are of shaping some wax during the casting process, pouring the melted brass into the molds, fishermen pulling in their latest catch (listen carefully for the chant they sing to keep their rhythm), and pounding palm nuts to make the oil.
It took me forever to upload all of these thanks to Benin's mighty slow internet, so I hope you enjoy them! :)
So I have just been hanging out in Lobogo since my last post. School has been rough- the kids are getting squirelly since the end of the year is coming up and it is SO hot. On my second day back from vacation, I had to just leave a class and go home since they were being so bad. Unfortunately, because of this, the kids were beat pretty badly (not at my request, obviously). They were really good for our next class, but the one after that they were right back to misbehaving.
We have also just been informed that they are extening the school year because of the long teachers' strike that we had a month or so ago. I'm not exactly sure what that means for me, since it mainly effects those in national exam-taking years. Last year, my last day of regular teaching was April 29; this year, it looks like it will be about a month later. That's alright I suppose, it will keep me busy and allow me to cover more of the curriculum (if my kids have the attention span to get through it...) As of now, it's looking like it shouldn't effect Camp GLOW since the girls who come to the camp are not taking national exams.
Another infuriating thing that happened at school: remember me ranting about the other teachers taking off in the curriculum and telling me how behind I was? Well, at our department meeting last week, we discovered that I am in fact AHEAD of them, and their students took a midterm on subjects that they hadn't even come close to covering in class (whereas my students did really well). A lot of this confusion was due to the strike, but that still doesn't make it ok. When I asked my colleagues why it happened and what they were planning on doing about it, they just shrugged. Great.
Once again, it's hotter than ever. I am pretty sure that these last few days have been some of the hottest ones I have yet to experience here. Power has been cutting a lot, and even when we have power at night it is still difficult to sleep inside since the fan is just blowing scorching hot air in my face.
Baby and Belle are massively pregnant; I'm pretty sure that Belle will have her kittens in about a week and Baby will follow soon after.
Last weekend, Michelle came to Lobogo for a night, it was a lot of fun! We made a cheddar ale soup mix that I had brought back from the States and baked a chocolate-vanilla swirl cake (which we were too full to eat more than a bite or two of- lucky neighbor kids!) We went on a walk at night when it was already pitch black, which was fun since I'd never done it before. Once again, it is truly amazing just how dark it gets here at night.
I'm now down in Cotonou (thank God for AC); we have our last big meeting before Camp GLOW tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it, we'll finally be deciding the number of girls each volunteer gets to bring. I am hoping for at least three, though I would love to be able to take more! I have already informed one girl of each sixieme class (one is at the top of her class!) and I showed the administration how hard they are working. I'm looking forward to once again going to meet with their families to inform them of this opportunity.
I'll head back to Lobogo tomorrow night and am pretty sure I will be there until the 7th, when I will come back down here for our big ex-pat fundraising dinner and Take Our Daughters to Work Day. COS (Completion of Service) conference is in a few weeks, during which we will choose our dates to come home! As usual, time flies...