My adventures serving in the Peace Corps

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Check out my previous post!

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...


loehrke said...

Thanks for the explanation of the pictures. Last night I just saw the pictures and the videos but wasn't entirely sure of what I was looking at (although the fishing video was pretty self-explanatory!!). They are really great......can't imagine how long the videos took to download but it sure was cool to look at them.
I am still overwhelmed at the whole process for the brass casting......hard to imagine that such beautiful objects come out of that whole process.....and it looks like they do a LOT of them!!
And I was really glad that you explained what all of the crabs were doing in a pot!! I'll bet that was DELICIOUS!!! Enjoy it all while you can. You will be back in the big house before you know it.
Stay COOL, Mark Loehrke (Carly's dad)

Judith said...

Hello Angelina! I have just started reading your blog from the beginning thanks to Roger Blomquist who told me about you in response to a question I put out to my Facebook friends about the Peace Corp. My son, Jed, is about to graduate from the University of Chicago, and is seriously considering the Peace Corp (after, hopefully, a Fellowship in Chicago, and before grad school). It's really interesting (SO interesting!) to read about your experiences and it's also comforting to this potential Peace Corp mom. I'm sure Jed will be reading as well, once he's not consumed with his BA thesis and such. Anyway, I thought it only right to let you know you have another fan, albeit a stranger (for the moment). From what I have read so far, I must say you are a huge inspiration -- your courage, your adventuresome spirit, your happy attitude, your compassion -- you are a real gift! I wish you all the best for the remainder of your time in the Peace Corp and for your brilliant life ahead. Thanks for sharing all this. Judith Augustine (first cousin of Roman Weil, if that gives you any clues!)

Catherine said...


How was Royal Garden with Andrew??? delish? I hope so! I have to start versing myself in Indian cuisine more in anticipation of September! Can't wait. How was the GLOW meeting?! everything going well with it.

I enjoyed your pics and videos...what. were you sitting in the bureau an entire day putting them up? it was awesome talking to you the other day, i miss you and can't wait to see you!

Angelina said...

I am glad that you are enjoying the blog and hope that you find it to be helpful. I hope that your son seriously considers Peace Corps- it is an amazing and unique experience. Thank you for the compliments, and it is really nice knowing someone else is following the blog!

Catherine said...


we need another post! let's go. withdrawal here! how was cos?

Alan said...


Your blog narratives are always so interesting and informative and your pictures are really special - "each picture is worth a thousand words" They bring the reader into the culture...nicely done :>) and keep them coming. I especialy enjoyed the most recent videos.

Take care,
Alan (Uncle :>)