Writing a travelogue is vital, writing whoopee doo articles sucks, I am back…
I talked about how I feel, that is a no no, many readers are writing,
"It is time to go home comments."
I am not on vacation, I try to explain to them, I am home, I do not live in the USA anymore, and this nomadic lifestyle is my home. I am homeless, I am a perpetual traveler, and this lifestyle is where I feel comfortable. (Empathy Blindness)
I believe I have a heightened self-awareness when I visit Africa, like being in solitary confinement; I am forced to remember all the angels and demons in my life. I have an abundance of free time, there is more time than normal in Africa for me to think.
Ergo, I am more self-aware, and introspective life is easy.
A big Alpha Male Gorilla is always watching me; there is no hiding in Africa. Either he is ready to swat me to behave or takes me under protective care.
Mampong, Ghana West Africa --- Monday, December 27, 2010
Self Awareness is Satisfying
I think I come across as a loner; however, this is not true, I am an extreme extrovert that does not need the approval of people to be happy. I believe the one experience that prepared me for travel was spending one year on house arrest, this truly honed my ability to deal with the emotional situations of travel. When you come face to face with who you are, you will fall in love with the person in the mirror, or break the mirror. I fell in love with the man in the mirror and went forth to become the hero of my own life, a person I truly respect.
Read Wades funky explanation of me, he knows me in person:
I was self-aware until one day I became satisfied in the knowledge learned; there is no problem in life that does not have a solution. If in doubt, just sit down until the problem passes.
Facing your demons in Africa is cool
There is some travel tales; one is about an old man who is warning a young traveler,
"Take care when you reach the edge of the earth, because there be dragons."
Well, the edge of the earth, the place where people can fall off, is in Africa. I have been telling my friend Mark on Skype.com calls. (I purchased a MTN USB Wireless Modem.)
I told Mark,
"Africa is DOS, America is Windows."
Without DOS, Windows cannot function; we need our basic life skills to function. I can see how the essential life skills function first hand here in Africa.
Africa is emotions, feelings and understanding at the first level of emotional management. I believe in Africa I can experience at the machine level, how humans think, how humans feel and deal with the normal problems of life.
I was forced to face many demons, it is question mark in my mind whether anyone does this of their own free will, it takes unavoidable challenges to find the demons and conquer them. Africa allows me to see the demons and angels running around in humans, there are no complicated layers of wrapping around Africans, for the most part, what you see, is what you get.
Hmm, I just thought of a way to explain the primitive mind of man, he or she is full of sin, it is like watching beggars. They are an intriguing bunch, full of unexpected responses, it is not wise to get too close to beggars, you may find unbounded love, or get bitten very hard. This is Africa one day I am licking my wounds from some emotional bites, and the next I feel grateful for the love and attention, that must be paid for in cash or gifts, there is nothing for free in machine level Africa.
I am going to Nigeria
I am very happy today, I have two new plans, two paths have been revealed. I gave up on the country Cote d’Ivoire for now, the leaders are idiots, small children with guns.
I want to make the land journey across Cote d’Ivoire to Liberia; I do not want to fly. I will instead make a land journey towards South Africa. What a mess though, the Visas path is as confusing as it gets, the governments in Africa do everything in their powers to make Visas so onerous you have be close to crazy to come, I am qualified. (Children - Lord of the Flies.)
I go meet Cote d’Ivoire Girl at Ghana / Cote d’Ivoire Border.
Yesterday, Cynthia called the USA, which then forwards to Ghana, and I pick up on my cell phone here, truly, I can receive calls anywhere on the planets. She e-mailed me the moment I left Cote d’Ivoire and has been calling me every week since I left, about seven weeks in a row.
This girl is amazing, about the same as Naomi here in Mampong, but the older full on woman version and speaks French, a student in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. What is amazing is this, calling the USA from Cote d’Ivoire is expensive on a cell phone, maybe one dollar or more per minute. I can give Africans my USA telephone number with no fear; they will not pay the money to call. Cynthia has paid seven times, and now she says she is coming to Ghana, I am supposed to meet her at the Elubo / Noe Border.
I am excited to follow the path with another person for a couple of weeks, we can go to Cape Coast, and she can experience up close and personal a slave fort. I took a Ghana girl there years ago and she cried, when the reality hit home.
Andy is a Gambler
I want to experience a feat of human bravery, for Cynthia a 28-year-old girl (A lie) to come alone is about the same as me going to Nigeria and onto South Africa alone.
Will she actually make the trip, or will she come up with some last minute excuse.
I am going to take Tro Tros, the small vans from Mampong to Kumasi, change, the from Kumasi to Tokoradi, change, then from Tokoradi to Elubo. I will then wait at the border in some dive hotel for her to call me from Noe, when she feels confident, she will cross and meet me.
Good fun, as the Brits say, this is a gamble, I am guessing, there is a 30 percent chance she will actually show up in Noe. Either way, I do not like Ghana, I love Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, I need to change channels, and this is one way to change.
Bottom line, I am taking a round about path toward Accra to get a Visa to Nigeria, then back to Togo, onto Benin, enter Nigeria and get a visa to Cameroon in Calabar, Nigeria.
I normally black hole girl situations, but this feat of bravery by Cynthia needs explained and documented. She is making a leap into the unknown, for many reasons, which are unknown to me, it is not fear, it is bravery. Many people do things because of fear or greed, bravery is rare and a bright star of emotions. I take pause and observe, truly a great thing to experience.
My Self-Awareness Triples, a Girl and Nigeria
I have been working on a straw poll most of my life, and the question is:
"Are you happy?"
Now because of an e-mail from my friend Eric, I have added,
"Are you content?"
I believe Heroin would make me happy and content, providing I never stopped.
Results of my Happiness Straw Poll:
And how do people answer around the planet?
"I am not happy." about 80 percent or one if five is happy.
"I am not content." about the same.
Now, looking at their faces, I can say, the under-developed countries, about 85 percent of the planet is about 50/50, while only about 10-20 percent of people in developed countries are happy, and almost only 2 percent content.
Mampong, Ghana West Africa --- Sunday, December 26, 2010
Humans are seldom logical, because were are 99 percent Animal, 1 percent machine.
I could list the many reasons, however, you must accept, it is impossible for a person to be happy and content. One big reason is, the terms are too general, try to define these two words, and these words are ambiguous even in the simplest usages. Maybe my straw poll should ask,
"Are you satisfied?"
I suspect the sample would lie, they would say no, but I know they are satisfied, why? Because people who truly are not satisfied escape, run, or hide, people do not stay in unsatisfactory situations for long, they make an excuse and leave.
Maybe I should ask,
"Do you accept your life?"
Again, people are illogical, the refuse to accept their lives, and continually fight the good fight. Hmm, this is not correct, they do not fight the good fight, they fight a very stupid and ridiculous, to the level of idiocy fight. We are animals, we will just continue to bump up against the electrical fence, we are no better than cows, we do not learn from pain, we learn to avoid, but we do not learn to jump the fences of life.
Is Andy Graham of china-marbles.info happy and content?
The answer is always going to be yes, even when it is no. I learned a long time ago to hedge my bets, if I said no, I would be doomed, and it would self-prophesize my life, so I lie to myself. I tell myself I am happy and content, because it is the logical and adult strategy.
I accept my life on the terms given to me.
I change when I feel uncomfortable.
I enjoy a good conflict, and know I am just an "Endorphin Junkie." If I cannot get an endorphin rush from a great day, I will cause a problem, so I have something to do with my brain. I see people who are always busy as the chronic cases; they are endorphin junkies of the worst variety. They could not stop for a moment, they cannot pause, or they would explode with anxiety.
I think to myself,
"You are busy, because you agreed to try to do more than you can do."
This is illogical, why would you try to do more than you can do, this is impossible and does not lead to contentment. However, truthfully, you just wanted a reason to complain, I know that, and you know that, but you will continue to be a cow, and put your head up against that electrical fence, because you like the rush.
I truly hope this caused 99 percent of you mass confusion, because that would be normal. If 99 percent of us are just cows or animals, then how could a higher percent than one percent understand some rather simple logic?
Moreover, if and only if I was God, could I write perfect, so there is always going to be people who do not understand, the world is truly perfect, when you accept it was never meant to be perfect.
The term endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress, supposedly due to the influence of endorphins. When a nerve impulse reaches the spinal cord, endorphins are released which prevent nerve cells from releasing more pain signals. Immediately after injury, endorphins allow animals to feel a sense of power and control over themselves that allows them to persist with activity for an extended time.
Merry Christmas but I am not Happy and Content
I am not the Devil, but how can I be sure, maybe I am possessed and need to call
If you're seeing things
running through your head
Who can ya call?
I have been riding the rollercoaster of temptations the last few days, I have been tempted to attack, bite, sting back, I have been tempted to make one them comments that cuts to the quick. I wanted to tell a couple of people the truth, with malice….
--- Oops, I refrained, Mom you can relax, your son is not the devil, I did not lead, or follow or fall into temptation, I was again a good boy.
I have been "seeing things running through (my) head."
Mampong, Ghana West Africa --- Thursday, December 23, 2010
12 Years of Writing and I am Still Learning
About 10 years ago, a friend says,
"The first rule of journalism is, controversy sells."
This felt like a recipe for how to be bad 10 years ago, and it still feels that way today. I on the other hand keep doing introspective analysis when again and again and again I cause controversy when I write; I just cannot stop accidentally, with no intention causing controversy.
I had a reader call me a coward the other day, because I have adopted a strict policy of not allowing controversial or negative comments, or translated.
"I would not allow him to disagree, and have his voice."
The reason is this, I know I do not try to cause controversy between two people, I try to provoke you to think, I probably want to cause controversy in your mind, that would allow resolution to occur. However, I do not want two people to argue, and if I try to make a clarifying reply comment and the argument grows, I delete the comments, trying to stop controversy from growing. (Stopping more comments, and earning less money, and have less subscribers.)
I believe as moderator, I should stop controversy from turning into an argument, maybe I am a coward or maybe I am brave, nonetheless, I am 100 percent sure, the work of the devil is to cause two people to argue, that is his or (her) job description.
So you want to be the Devil,
"Can you cause two people to argue?"
--- "You’re hired"
I know you started a long time ago and it is habitual.
Do I write to Cause Controversy?
Nope, however telling the truth is controversial the most controversial thing a person can do is be honest, to patronize is non-controversial. Therein lie the catch 22, if I patronize, and write in clichés as many people would be happy, in a rose colored glasses, hide behind them way, all would be peaceful. And if I tell the truth another group of people are happy. Which group to make happy, the answer is easy?
"To thine own self be true "
Note that was Shakespeare, not Christ.
I write to myself, and allow you to listen, this is my journal.
What cause me to have a trying time yesterday?
By recording this video in the Kumasi, Ghana bus station.
I called the station "Chaotic," and the van of Ghana people disagreed with the word.
I had an absolutely wonderful trip from Koforidua, to Kumasi in an Air Conditioned van, solid suspension and a driver who drove great. However, it was an amazing entry into Kumasi, the driver went around and around traffic jams, and he knew every "long-cut," not a shortcut, but a longer way that would go around a logjam. Truthfully, the inner core area of the station was not as chaotic as the 60 minutes entering Kumasi.
Van Ride from Kumasi to Mampong
I got in the van, I was happy, I shook hands with the girl next to me, and said,
"Hello, my name is Andy."
She said, "Eddy," I said "ANNDY." I then said
"Andrew." the name starts with "A."
This name truly evades Ghana, normally flies right on through in predominately-Christian countries, the name is one of the 12 disciples, and it is a great name to have for travel. The girl truly would not tell me her name, finally she told me, it was Lydia.
Gee whiz, "Why all the hard work to exchange names?"
Her brother, started to criticize me for taking videos, said
"You are going to show that to your people and laugh at us."
"I said, generally Ghana people look at the videos, and think about home."
(From a business point of view, the last thing that sells is African Tourism.)
He was argumentative, it was growing, I said,
"Not finished white man, you are going to talk."
I stopped talking and refused to comment, this stops all arguments, it takes two people to argue.
The man behind me, said,
I turned patted him on the leg and said,
"You’re English is good."
"Not all Ghana people are dumb."
Hmmm where did that come from?
"I am a school teacher."
He then went into this thing about the majority of British people not having formal Education. I thought again where does all this come from, started to say something, and stopped myself. I needed to get the tempo of the van down, it was becoming dangerous.
One hour later, and listening to white man this, American that, Abroni this and Abroni that, (the word in Ashanti for White Man) we arrived in Mampong. One-half hour to clear the city of Kumasi because of chaotic traffic and one-half hour to go the 30 miles to Mampong.
Violence and dangerous situation are when something stupid happens, I neither placate nor patronized, that would have lost their respect and they would have become bigger and better bullies. I treated them as equals, even if I was questioning their motives.
You ever see a shootout on in a movie, everything is fine, and something happens, and everyone breaks out shooting. All die, no survivors. This was my situation in the van, I just did not allow the group of 10 to provoke me, one gentleman tried to say,
"He is a visitor in our country."
--- Oops, he was one, the groupthink has already gone south, he stopped, I looked at him, he looked at me, and we understood.
Ok, who is the Devil?
The Devil is a person who tries to make two people argue, and in version two of my understanding of this, I have now come to the next level. I now believe to allow two or more people to argue, when I have the power to stop it, that I am doing "an assist." (Basketball Terminology.)
"Mark those who cause division, and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them... for by good words and fair speeches [they] deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17-18 )
I am tired, and could go into detail, but this page is truly written better than I could ever explain:
My Morning Wakeup in Mampong
4:35 AM, I have a change in atmospheric pressure headache, and I entered the restroom and sat, trying to remember where I put my sinus medicine. 4:35 and the music starts, hmm, what is that song, what is that song, there is just organ music, no words, it is,
"O Come all Ye Faithful"
So around and around this Travel Journal goes, and this is where did my thoughts start? I accepted that the faithful will find a calm place, you know, that heaven on earth group, and the other larger group will find chaos, and deny it is chaos.
Fun stuff, and I am grateful to know today, even in the midst of complete confusion, I still stay the course and go towards friendly voices
By the way, may friend Naomi in Mampoing screamed when I entered the Hotel.
"Andy, you came back."
Joseph her wise father, shook my hand and said welcome.
I explained to Fifi, the manager of the Hotel how Naomi explained and guided me when she was 15 around this city, and that she is amazingly smart.
He starts to laugh and said,
"She is even smarter now!"
I walked up the steps to my room, same as before, and thought,
"I am home for Christmas; I have a traveler’s family."
This is when you walk into a Hotel, and all the staff says,
There is always a GhostBuster solution, Merry Christmas.
Andy Graham in Mampong, Ghana eating beef kabobs, and listening to Christmas Carols at 4:35 in the morning, life is good.
GhostBusters Theme Song
O Come all Ye Faithful
Am I the Devil
There are many small stories in a day, while the days are generally slow in Ghana; there is always something quirky happening.
I am now in Koforidua and will make another jump to Mampong, Ghana today.
I had enough of Ho, Ghana, although the Tarso Hotel is one of the best, a few people in Ho were driving me crazy so I took the "geographical cure," and escaped their childish minds, out of sight, out of mind truly does work sometimes. I did an experiment on the way out of town, I text messaged about seven people and said goodbye, and waited to see who would call or reply by text.
I left the USA 12 years ago, understanding my friendships and love is both inspirational and sad, there is nothing more illuminating than to leave. Only when you leave can you see, weigh, measure and feel how valuable you are to your friends. Emmanuel and Regina from Ho have now called me five times; they are the gold nuggets, while many friends were just fools gold.
Ghana Friends made of Gold Photos
Who is your friend?
Generally, in the age of e-mail and telephones it has become easier, my friends write e-mails or call, I am still a person and a friend when out of sight, I still exist in their minds. I weigh countries by the number of people who e-mail me from the country after I leave. I have a girl from Cote d’Ivoire right now that is calling and writing once per week.
Ho, Ghana West Africa --- Thursday, December 23, 2010
Naomi is the small person in this photo.
Naomi an Important Person I met in Mampong, Ghana in 2007
Mampong, Ghana is an important city in my travel history, not because of the city, but because I met an exceptional human there by the name of Naomi in 2007 in the Video City Hotel.of Mampong.
I searched on old Blog posts for Mampong:
Ghana Fufu Food Video
By the way, this video is one the most viewed videos I have ever recorded, I think the Ghana Diaspora wish to remember home, leaving home is not as good as they think.
The Valuable Travel Memories
Tourist and Travelers believe they are going to remember with love a tourist attraction they saw in a country. After 12 years of perpetual travel, almost all my travel memories revolve around people, tourist attractions are a dime a dozen, wonderful memories of times shared with special people live with me forever.
The Video City Hotel in Mampong was an oasis after a long journey in the year of 2007. I know you cannot return, it does not work that way, but I will spend Christmas in Mampong, Ghana this year.
Why was Mampong an Oasis? Well, I had just spent two weeks in Accra, one of the cities I despise on planet earth, and started working my way north towards Burkina, Faso. I accidentally found the Video City Hotel, it was not in the guidebook, and the best never are. Generally, the education level and knowledge of the world of the average Ghana person is about the same as Mexican janitor that is cleaning the toilets the USA. However, a Ghana person is generally 10 times more honest than a Mexican is.
Well, I walked out the front door of a great Hotel in Mampong, and Naomi and this guy was making Fufu. I asked a couple of question and suddenly this 15 year old girl becomes my best friend, my guide, my insight into understanding Ghana and Africa, a small piece of genius, it was an oasis in the middle of "Mexican Janitors," that looked Ghanaian.
God does not care about resumes, age or credentials, you can have a whole alphabet behind your name and make 500,000 per year, and I am still willing to call you an idiot. However, true genius, true compassion is like searching for Bobby Fisher.
If you are searching for meaning, this movie "In Search of Bobby Fisher" is right up there with "The Razors Edge." It is a parable, many will hate it, but one in fifty of you will have a moment, that caesura that make all the crap in life worth tolerating.
My choice for number one travel movie of all time:
The Razors Edge
This is the type of human to avoid.
Here is a true Ghana story, this happened yesterday and maybe can explain why looking for the 1 in 50 special person in life is needed to recharge the battery.
Because of the luck of the draw, yesterday I sat in the middle seat of a van, in complete rear, the worst possible seat, but the last available without waiting another hour. Not a big deal for a 2-3 hour trip, so I tolerated the situation and dealt with it. Well, this small girl was sitting to my right; she was in control of the window. I get car sick I need to be extremely careful in when I am in the back of a vehicle, I could vomit easily. I needed air and relief from too much Ghana.
I asked this small evil little Ghana girl to leave the window as you now see it, she just ignored me, I said please, I asked politely, then finally I was finished, I had enough of her control freak, no compromise, not caring attitude. I no longer cared for her; she was going to be eaten.
I opened the window 100 percent, put my hot sweaty armpit in front of her face and held the window open for about 15 minutes. The wind blew into her face, she smelled my armpit, and suffered.
This is real life in underdeveloped countries, there is unbridled selfishness and self-centered behavior, there is no fair play, and it is often eat or be eaten. I am a big person; I can and will dominate and make the rules when needed.
I finally looked at her, moved the window back to half position, pointed my finger at her, stare at her with hate and said,
"I do not care about you."
I pointed at the window and with a warning; she did not forget in my eyes, she learned her lesson. There is always somebody bigger than you are, this is the lesson.
We all need to be grateful for the small genius, the small love, the small things in life, then speak softly and carry a big stick.
Andy Graham in Koforidua, I am now ready to pack and move on down the road to Mampong, in search of real genius.
I Left Ho to Koforidua and Now to Mampong Ghana
I have many people in Ghana say,
"Help us, we suffer."
I am jaded, and aware that this comment can mean two things:
1. Give me money.
2. Feel sorry for me and help me.
In the USA, they will say the same thing in a different way,
"I am too busy."
The malady of the planet is the enabling of dysfunctional comments.
I have a three-step program for myself:
1. Shut up.
2. Listen up.
3. Grow up.
Ho, Ghana West Africa --- Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I had a couple days of feeling sorry for myself, fortunately it must pass here in Africa fast, because there is nobody here who gives a shit. The last thing a person from Ghana does is feel sorry or help an American, I am just shit out of luck.
How do people suffer in Ghana?
1. Waiting for the whites to return.
2. Waiting for the whites to save them.
3. The blacks outside of Ghana refusing to help or invest in Ghana.
4. The Ghana rich people refusing to invest in their own country.
5. The minute a Ghana person has money, they move to another country.
6. Becoming educated for a job where there is zero demand.
7. The belief that sports is a solution.
8. The belief that Ghana is poor, it is a rich country.
9. Asking for help, this affirms their belief they cannot help themselves.
10. Being surrounded by 51 countries that believe the same.
I have the rewarding experience yesterday of talking with a truly wise and understanding old woman. She reminded me of my Grandmother Fleck, she is now dead, but I remember a weak and terrible day of my life that I shared with my Grandmother. I came home from Jail; I was arrested the night before for drunken driving, and had spent the night in a fog. It was my third or fourth DWI; I do not care to remember. I do remember that it was the two strike law in Indiana, which means after the second one, you go to jail for two years.
I told my Grandmother of my sad news, she listened, she consoled me, and she said,
"We need to eat breakfast now."
My Grandmother was part of what could be called a great generation:
"The Greatest Generation" is a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II.
I was an alcoholic, a true bunch of losers. Nobody feels sorry for drunks, and rightly, so, they should not, they are losers.
My Grandmother gave me startling lesson that morning in Indiana.
She did not say:
1. Shut up.
2. Listen up.
3. Grow up.
She went into action, she got on with life and stopped focusing on the problem, she never lost stride, she stayed the course, and she suddenly became part of the solution.
I sat there eating breakfast wishing she would feel sorry for me, while she gave me another cup of coffee.
Now, for all you abusive shits who are going to jump on me admitting I had problems, get a life, your comments will just be deleted. It is sick person who wants to kick anyone or make fun of people who is or was down; you just ignore bad as best you can. I always think of the Brits, when I am listening to an American say,
"I am too busy."
If I reply, agree, or give it credence.
"It is bad form."
Merry Christmas, the world has so much to be grateful for, it is amazing they can find so many problems to complain about.
I felt sorry for myself because I have too much time, and I am bored, I need a good book, I am going to Accra to buy a book, or I could say, we need to eat breakfast now.
Now focus, please focus, do not get a sense of self-righteous importance because I told you a story of my shame. You are not better than me, I am not better than you, but I am on an endless vacation, what have you done today? Did you tell someone,
"I am too busy?"
How do People Suffer in Ghana and the USA
I enjoy Ghana English; sometimes it feels like reading a book in Old English from the middle ages, where Kings and Queens set the tone.
Emmanuel said yesterday,
"If you allow a person to make fun, then you are a mere person."
I have never used the word "mere" in this fashion, I cannot remember every hearing a person say or use the word this way.
Ho, Ghana West Africa --- Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Should a person allow people to laugh at them? This sister of Emanuel is very respectful, however, his other sister Grace, I have completely stop talking with, she has be removed from the list of present or future friends, she is past. Ghana and most of Africa is prone to mockery, it is a primitive form of entertainment and in England, and they call it "Taking the Piss," a very common behavior of the Brits.
It is difficult to explain the education of Emmanuel, he is very good at people skills, however probably most of his view of the world comes from talking with friends, there are severe limitations, but he is wise.
Differences in Education between America and Ghana
Personally, I believe that formal schooling has but one function, to tempt a student to start learning on his or her own, to become self-taught to surround students with temptations to learn.
I would guess I owe my level of education to the third grade class situation where Mrs. Grabill was my teacher. It is the only time I remember getting spanked because of school, my parents never reprimanded me for bad grades, however when I got a bad citizenship grade from Mrs. Grabill, I got spanked on the back steps by my Father, I did not deserve it, I was bored out of my mind, you cannot expect a kid to just sit around in class like a lump on a log.
I was tortured in Grade school, therefore I learned to read, and it started in second and third grade.
I read the whole box of SRA Reading thingies.
My grade school teachers wanted me to listen and obey, they gave me no choice, they tortured me, they made me sit and listen to other students read. I read the whole stupid book while the first student was reading, then lost the correct place to follow along, I was then in trouble.
I went through the whole SRA reading comprehension box above; the only way to get to upper levels was to answer a set of comprehension questions correctly. Maybe I could say, thanks for torturing me Mrs. Grabill.
I was bored, therefore I found something to love, and I love reading.
The Mom and Dad bored me, so I read Reader Digest, finally I learned how to buy books, and trade with Richard Gaudy science fiction books in Seventh Grade. I read every Batman and Superman comic book I could get my hands on, life was full of reading, because it was available, my parents subscribed to the Journal Gazette newspaper.
On and on it goes, I was surrounded by temptations to read, this was my American family, I am grateful to my parents.
Ghana Temptations to Learn
The two major ones are to talk, and watch TV, after that you can go to Christian bookstores and buy all the Christian reading materials you want… Alternatively, many self-help books, I cannot find a good novel in any of the 15 bookstores here in Ho, Ghana. Moreover, these ever too stupid Self-Help and Christian books are too expensive to buy.
There are a few newspaper stands in Ho, Ghana, but I have never found a newspaper sitting on any table to peruse. If I was born in Ghana, I would not be able to read or write, I would think about Soccer 24 hours per day, this is Ghana.
However, I am in awe of Emmanuel saying to me, that we cannot allow people to treat us as mere persons, we need to expect respect, this is wisdom, not taught in books, only learned from experience.
I never learned Grammar in grade school, it was not my fault, it was not the teacher’s fault, my brain refused to go slow enough to listen and learn.
Opportunities to Learn
The American people has about 100 times more opportunity to learn than a Ghana person, the education level is on average about second grade for Ghana, while an American it is about a Sophomore on average. Not a big difference in reality, but if you wish, in America you can have about 100 times more opportunity to learn, there is 100 times more ways to learn in the USA, this is the huge difference.
There is a third grade level fight going on right now in the country of Cote d’Ivoire, there are two Presidents and civil war is could break out, people are dying, it is a war of children.
Lord of the Flies
Were you forced to read "Lord of the Flies?" A book about that could explain the situation in Africa rather clearly in a simple and story like way.
I think one box of used books sent from the USA could change one life forever here in Ghana. My mother reads a book every two days, I buy books on Amazon.com, then have them sent home, she opens the packages and reads them before me, go figure… I cannot correct my spelling or grammar; I cannot read slow enough to see the mistakes.
One day I will be a millionaire, and I will bring boxes of books with me to Africa, not because I have to, but because I can, to help make it easy to find a book in Ghana that is fun to read.
Facebook.com and text message?
American Education Compared to Ghanaian
I am constantly tempted to lie to people, I want to tell them,
"I am on vacation and I will return to the USA soon."
This is just my desire to make them happy, the truth confuses them.
I know this quotation, which tells me, I never need to take the easy way out, there is always a good answer, let me paraphrase it,
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man, you will not be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation you will also be provided the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
I met a Peace Corp Volunteer girl by the name of Francesca in Ho, Ghana; we had a small conversation in a small restaurant that serves fried rice with a piece of chicken. I am going soft in my old age; I find myself more open and easy going with these kids, I do not expect much.
Peace Corps Defined:
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand U.S. culture, and helping Americans understand the cultures of other countries. Generally, the work is related to social and economic development. Each program participant, (aka Peace Corps Volunteer), is an American citizen, typically with a college degree, who works abroad for a period of twenty four months after three months of training. Volunteers work with governments, schools, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and entrepreneurs in education, hunger, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment.
Peace Corps Wiki
This is Francesca, if I remember right, she is about 23 and I do not remember what state, she was a pleasant girl, respectful and not too afraid of people, but not a Type A.
Ho, Ghana West Africa --- Sunday, December 19, 2010
The Informal Interview
I walked into the back end of this very small two table restaurant, Francesca was getting fried rice to go, which says something in Africa about the person.
I looked at her and said,
She did not say,
"How do you know?"
"I have a 50 percent chance in Ghana when I meet a young white person they are Peace Corps," because there is almost no tourist in this country or any other black African country.
In my many trips to Africa, I have only met maybe 5-10 people who paid their own money to come to Africa to be a tourist Normally, they are working on a project that pays the plane fare, or they are being a volunteer to make their resume look good.
At the end of our conversation, I thanked Francesca for Volunteering for the USA government, I said to her,
"Thank you, I appreciate as an American Citizen that you volunteered."
I have met many Peace Corps Volunteers, and about three directors of country organizations, they are easy to find, and difficult people to talk with, normally full of political correctness. Except strangely all the volunteers in Ethiopia, an exceptional bunch.
You can normally find Peace Crops Volunteers the most popular bars in any city; this is where they hang out. Francesca was going to meet two or three other Volunteers at the White House Bar here in Ho, Ghana.
I happened to take this Photo of the White House Bar in Ho, Ghana just before I talked to Francesca in the Fried Rice Restaurant, what a coincidence, amor fate.
Coincidence, I also took this photo of these three wide bottom young girls walking away from the White House Bar with a local man. I enjoy taking these type of photos, I more or less think of them as,
"I caught you drinking photos, doing what you do."
I see one or two white people in Ho, maybe every other day, and 90 percent of the time, they are sitting at the White House Bar. Anyone in West Africa is extremely cliché predictable; they are going to be hanging out at a bar, normally recommended by the Lonely Planet Guidebook. They are going to be working for some project of a missionary, NGO’s of sorts.
Francesca asked me,
"What are you doing in Ghana?"
"I have a couple of large travel sites?"
She said something like
"Oh, what do you write about?"
"I take photos of Peace Corps Volunteers and make fun of them on my site."
I truly said that, I am not joking, it did not seem to phase her, this was a good sign for me, and I could sense she was a little more adult, and less full of the American young and full of shit attitude prevalent in the USA. She was not so politically correct, not to the point of lying all the time, she was not just blunt open, but she had sort of a Midwest charm about her.
My Normal Questions of Peace Corp Volunteers
1. How many Peace Corp Volunteers in Ghana?
2. What city are you stationed in?
She said the name of some city about one-hour north of Ho, Ghana.
3. How long have you been there?
I think she said, six months.
Peace Corps Volunteers are supposed to spend the first month or two at their city, and not go visit other Peace Corps volunteers. In reality, the Peace Corps Volunteer seems to spend their whole time touring to other cities to hang out with other volunteers. There are special Hotels where they cluster, and you can search for "Peace Corps Hotel" and you will find them. They tend to stay away from the Home office of the country, so they are not caught.
4. How many Ghana volunteers dropped out?
As best I understand, about 25 percent of the volunteers drop out, she said something like 2 of the 75 in her group, now if she is only six months in, there is another year and a half for these kids to drop out. (I have only met one PC Volunteer over 25 years old in my life, note, the are also paid, and live nice.)
That is about is for Questions
I used to ask them tons of questions about what they were doing, what was their expertise, and I have stopped that, I just get angry. The main requirement in my opinion to volunteer is that you are a college graduate, there are no skills needed, somehow being a college graduate and under 25 makes you qualified to teach "Technical Skills."
Remember the Peace Corp Mission
1. Providing technical assistance
2. Helping people outside the United States to understand U.S. culture.
3. Helping Americans understand the cultures of other countries.
Peace Corps is one of the finest Volunteer Organizations on the planet, and anyone that finishes their two years needs a pat on the back. I do not care if they spend the whole two years drinking with other Volunteers as is normal, I do not care if they ever go or stay in their assigned village, where it would be difficult to find one. What they did is have their butts "in country." They are immerse in Ghana, they are continually trying to make a little USA inside of Ghana as do all tourist, but you cannot deny them, they spend two years "in country."
You cannot spend that much time in a country and not learn something to take home of value, after about one year they have the rose colored glasses removed, and they accept a country for what it is, and not what they read in a book. They start out delusional and return home jaded, about the same as me, I now avoid White people, in Africa, as they cling to other Volunteers.
Mission One of Peace Corps
99 percent of Volunteers do not have enough experience to explain anything to anyone, and are too weak willed to thrive in the Alpha Male and Alpha Female under-developed countries. What the girls do is find a boyfriend and this is their protectors, always on the sly.
If you want to read a truly great fictional true story about Peace Corps, read Paul Theroux "My Secret History," truly and exceptional and insightful book.
Here is a list of books that can help you to understand the life of a world traveler, or help to teach you to be a real traveler, I added Paul Book.
Again, I will thank any Peace Corps Volunteer, I appreciate that one Volunteer Organization or NGO group actually spend more than one-month in country. I believe it takes one-year inside a country before you even have a clue of the underlying problems, and then two years before you accept you cannot change people.
I applaud the 1-5 percent of Peace Volunteers that are good Ambassadors from the USA and are good examples, this is the way the volunteers could change the world. If you are a good example of how to live your life and somebody you do not know serendipitously is changed.
Francesca has good intentions, and I am safe, she probably will never read this, she never asked the name of my web site, as is normal with white people I meet as I travel the world.
Thanks Francesca, I told her I would write about her, so this is not an ambush.
She is status quo for Peace Corps; she is normal cliché, stereotypical Volunteer. She is gentle and polite more than normal, and I enjoyed meeting her. I always hope I am meeting the one in a 100 Peace Corps Volunteer that truly understands the country. Then goes home and gets a Job working for the USA government setting foreign policy.
Peace Corp Volunteer in Ghana Named Francesca
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