Friday, December 08, 2006

Quick Update

I've spent the last few days contemplating letters, post cards, skypeouts, and other means of communication with those of you stuck in that bitter cold wasteland that is The States (or those of you pour souls simply trapped on the left coast).

Anti-Malarial drugs are kinda neat, Malaria itself not so bad. Haven't had much of the bad symptoms, and except for neck and joint paint and some mild dizziness I really can't complain. I get dizzy from standing up too quickly, and I immediately sit down, then my neck hurts later on. Not entirely dissimilar from a good roller coaster. It has however made me rest a bit and read, which is never a bad thing.

Cicero's On the Good Life, what Roman and Greek histories I can find, some bits of The Bible, and random biology and computing articles online. I'm happy to be reading again it is not something I have done of my own volition in many years. Though a few writer friends of mine had been pushing me as long as I knew them.

I've finally gotten our internet connection to something manageable, so I have been able to upload pictures. Although I was in a rush just to see if it would work and haven't labeled or organized them yet.

Here you go:

There will be more to come, hopefully categorized, captioned, cropped, and rotated. There aren't many for the last few weeks because I haven't found any good batteries I want the ones that cost more than 12 cents for my camera, the others last about 2 minutes in such a device.

You can see my room in Accra when I stayed with John and Nana, the pool, the vendor lined streets, and the state of suburban sprawl in Legon. Then there are a few pictures from Ghana University, Legon with Toon, Yaw, the driver and John, followed by some of Yaw and I in Tema, the port city, getting our equipment. There there is the school and it's cultural event day planned partially for some American Tourists who came to visit, along with Toon and the children in the schoolyard.

Toon is at ICYE ( volunteer. He is about 24 has a teaching degree, and was a European History major from Belgium. Pretty easy for me to get along with based on these few things alone. My only complaints about him are that he is entirely too helpful, nice, polite, well-mannered, and doesn't drink beer.

He came with a group of mostly European volunteers, all of whom, excepting him, are female and under 21. They all take trips on weekends to various towns or each other's different projects. Sometimes I join them, sometimes they come here, sometimes their parents come to visit them. All in all it is nice to have some westerners close to my own age to talk to.

The differences between us are more pronounced than similarities to me. I do not consider myself a "volunteer" like they do. Most volunteers pay about 5000 dollars to come and volunteer for 6 months to a year. They go through an organization and are placed at host sites, usually with host families.

I came because I was asked, I have family nearly as close as my own brother here. I am not much one for being a tourist in this great country. When I see how Ghana runs things I think of how I wish the west were more like that, rather than how "strange" it may seem. I've really experienced very little in Ghana that I haven't experienced in Boston. Plantains, peanut soup, hip hop, bureaucracy, bribes, mild corruption, dangerous driving and traffic. The only real differences I see are a lack of infrastructure, and less cosmopolitan ways of thinking. But no idea I have seen or heard here is at all new to me, and I have never felt more "free" in my life.

Unlike my European compatriots I am staying for over a year, and if all goes well I've committed to returning once a year (or as needed) for the next 5 years. And because of my own political and philosophical beliefs I simply could not come to this country and do this type of work without committing fully to such a project who's main requirement is that we put together a maintainable, easily managed, remotely manageable network and an upgradeable infrastructure.

I need some semblance of a lasting permanence, otherwise I would be very disappointed to have spent a year here for everything to fall apart when I leave. Basically, if the school is willing and we have the ability, I am not leaving until I feel I am truly "done."

Life is good here, though I think I could use a change of scenery, haven't left the school or it's immediate surrounding areas in some time. The dry season hasn't been as harsh as I had been warned, actually nothing has been as bad as I had been warned, but it has been more humid than expected. I really can't complain, I suppose, though I miss the torrential downpours there were truly spectacular and quite refreshing.

I hope to hear more of the goings on in Boston, I would rather get second hand information about local news than actually read that rag The Boston Globe, but should I have to resort to such desperate measures I may. Oh I take back any nice things I said about Deval Patrick as he put a Microsoft Shill on the MA Tech Advisory board, the only person on that board who is not involved in any IT departments for MA-based companies... He works for Microsoft.

Anyway, this update is getting far too technical, and I promised myself to separate technical posts from personal ones. I will continue on the more technical aspects of this project tomorrow and it will not be mass e-mailed out like this one is, but available at the same website as the personal updates:

Happy Holidays to those of you not enjoying the 78 degree weather, and having to slave over cooking family meals rather than being served three fairly good meals a day.


Evan Taylor