Friday, July 22, 2011

Chicken blood and Jeyiri

Sorry for the long wait everyone! I left homestay to go on a 5 week training in different places. The first was counterpart workshop in Bunso in the Eastern Region. It is pretty close to the home stay town of Anyinasin. After much anticipation of meeting our contact person, mine was late due to the difficulty of traveling from the Upper West Region. As everyone is meeting their counterpart and asking questions I sat and waited. There were two other trainees waiting alone as well, one going to the Upper West and one from Northern Volta.  Finally late that afternoon a young man with a Gucci shirt and tribal scars on his face walked in. My counterparts name is Bomanjor. He is a father of three (the youngest 2 months) and is a health volunteer at the health clinic right next to my house in Jeyiri.  His most distinguishing feature is his laugh, which he does often. One of my new friends brought to my attention that our job is simply to see how much we can make Ghanaians laugh with our crazy American antics.  The rest of counterpart workshop was spent from 8am-5pm lectures about mostly HIV and gender roles.  A woman living with HIV was the most riveting part of the whole week.  The mostly men counterpart group was expressing some opinions on the stigmatization of people with HIV so it was great to have this strong motivating beautiful woman speaking to them.

At the end of the week it was time to visit my home for the next two years. It was such a blessing having Bomanjor help me carry all my things. The day before leaving my lovely mother and father sent me a massive package full of goodies. The top three items were bbq sauce, hot sauce and tequila. So I had to somehow fit all these things into my two bags.  My one duffle bag was so heavy that every Ghanaian attempting to pick it up just laughed and keep in mind that they are ridiculously strong. On Saturday I got up at 4am got on a bus to Kumasi by 9:30am. We waited with other people going to the Upper West for the Wa bus to fill up. The bus we were going to get on broke down so we had to wait for another bus. We did not leave the bus station until 4pm.  The ride from Kumasi to Wa was filled with watching Ghanaian movies, which you can barely understand what it going on.  The graphic sex and rape scenes are pretty awkward to watch. I arrived in Wa at midnight. After some confusion of checking into the lodge, two PCVs showed up wanting to go out for drinks. Obviously not wanting to make a bad impression we walked to the closest spot. Our company at the spot was two males and two older females smoking cigarettes (clear sign of prostitutes). I drank a Star mingled and went home to a much-deserved shower. I woke up around 6:30am to workout and say goodbye to everyone I was with. We got a taxi to the tro station. A tro doesn’t leave until it is full so we waited at a spot. We left about 11:30am. We road the tro as close as we could to my village and then begged for a another car to take us down the road because there was no way I could carry all my things to Jeyiri.

The chief, elders, assemblyman, royalty and stakeholders were waiting for me under a massive tree when I pulled up. Most of the ceremony was in Waale so I had no idea what was going on. At one point I got to choose from several choices of names. I chose “Angla Minne” which directly translates to “Who is God”.  The way the chief explained it was that if there is someone who does not like you or what you are doing it does not matter because who are they to judge you. Are they God? Who is God? I am pretty ecstatic about my awesome name. After the ceremony the woman put my bags on their heads and sang in a procession to my house (one of two actual concrete structures in the entire village).  I couldn’t even believe that it was happening it all seemed too surreal. The rest of my time in the village was spent greeting people and playing with children. I also visited the boar holes, dam and the only latrines besides mine at the schools. On Wednesday I walked with Zoe 5km with small backpacks to the market in the next town. We got there and pounded kapala/fufu for lunch. I got a chicken for dinner at market for 6 GH cedi. I took it home killed it put it in boiling water and plucked the feathers out. It is taboo for a woman to kill the animal in Muslim beliefs but I really wanted to kill my own food. It was a lot easier for me to do than I would have thought. There will be a facebook album on the whole process eventually.

Now I am in Wa staying with some PCVs. This Saturday I will be going to a send off party of a PCV. From there I will go to PEPFAR training. I don’t really know exactly what I will be doing. I think I will be teaching about HIV in a school as practice. After a week of that I will go back to the Northern Region with all of the WATSAN group for two weeks of technical training.


  1. Hello! You have an interesting website. It is nice to visit here.

  2. Han, I can't believe you killed a chicken that's intense.