Hello all! I'm a little late in wishing you all a Merry Christmas, but I'm on African time.
My plans to go up north to the big holiday party there changed due to a lack of money and no tickets for the nice bus. Without those tickets I would have been stuck taking bush taxis the whole way which is in no way a vacation.
Instead I ended up at Peace Corps' other transit house in Atakpame, a larger city (town really) with fresh vegetables, lots of avocados and mangoes and a yovo store that sells Pringles and Snickers bars. The two other volunteers and I spent most of the time hanging out, cooking and enjoying the unlimited wifi available here. A blender was recently purchased for the house, so we've been taking advantage of that and making lots of mango smoothies. Yesterday we went and got beers and pizza for Christmas dinner- pretty good to me! Without any Christmas weather, decorations or music going up and playing around me, I didn't really get into the Christmas spirit this year. In a lot of ways though that made it easier. Last year in France I considered very much trying to buy tickets to go back, and this year the thought didn't even really cross my mind. That made it a lot easier the celebrate here.
I know after my last post a lot of you got worried about me- don't! I had been debating putting up the post, but after a conversation with another volunteer, Lucas, about how people rarely show both sides of the Peace Corps experience, I thought it was worth including. Things have gotten better since then as well. A visit from Rose, the education program director, helped sort out a lot of problems that I had been having at school. Not all of them are necessarily fixed now, but now I also have a good idea of who is willing to work with me, and who is disinterested in the Zafi community. Also, as much as I hate quitting anything, if i really had huge problems, I'd ask for a site change or go home. As the Country Director said "Two years is a long time to be miserable."
Vacation has given me a bit more free time (between classes, English club, Science club and helping the eighth graders in the next town with end of year English exam prep I'm actually starting to be busy!) and in the free time I've been able to start walking again. My ankle still isn't 100% after that sprain from early October, but it's getting there. Because of that I don't want to start running again quite yet, but hopefully soon. I found out the Ghana half marathon in Accra is September 28, 2014. I'm not quite sure of my commitment to it yet, but the first registration deadline is in May, so I'm leaving my decision until then. All the same, it's something to look forward to doing.
It's always a little hard to leave the big cities, good food and internet to go back to village, as much as I love Zafi, but of the presents Mom and Dad sent, I made sure to keep a few wrapped and leave them waiting for my arrival back home in village.
With that, I need to buy some veggies, avocados and mangoes and then head back, so I'll leave it here. Most of all - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!