03 August 2006

Random thoughts and observations

I had dinner with a former volunteer tonight and it reminded me that I should jot some things down here, in no particular order.

1. I still find myself wanting to do the really complicated West African handshake (the one that ends in a snap) when I see people.

2. People in both Ghana and London keep asking me where my accent is. I don't know exactly what accent they're looking for, but I wonder if I'm really all that geographically ambiguous in my speech.

3. Working on camp was really damn hard. In fact, it was almost like a 24 hour headache. The urge to run screaming from the building was a near constant companion.

4. Working on camp was infinitely rewarding and educational. I grew so much in such a short period of time. In peace cell/tribal leaders meetings, I always reminded those in attendance that it was an honor for me to sit among them and observe their dialogue, and it truly was.

5. I did a little laundry in the tub this morning (classy, I know). The water turned brown almost instantly. This means that I was really, really dirty for a month.

6. Don't tell anyone, but I sort of miss the sound of dirt and gravel crunching under my shoes.

7. As much as I complained about the complete lack of silence during my entire stay, I now find that I can't go to sleep without some background noise.

8. I calculated that I could live in relative luxury in Ghana for less than $7,000 per year. It costs me three times that to live a relatively ordinary existence in DC.

9. This whole "anything goes" mentality has really creeped in. It seems like it now takes a lot more to get me stressed out.

10. [off subject] I would like to go back to work in Parliament.

11. In spite of my growing appreciation for simple living, the ability to rapidly communicate with people is quite nice.

12. If I ever go back to camp (or a similar setting) again for any longer than a month, I may need to invest in some of that over the counter valium they sell in Accra.

13. I really need to lighten up sometimes.

14. I should probably be more serious and driven sometimes.

15. I'm really, really, really skinny. As in, you could fit a softball into my waistband with me.

16. My skinnyness and near constant hunger are nothing compared to what those on camp go through.

17. My life has been hard on many ocassions. It's really nothing compared to refugee life.

18. You really can't compare Western existence and developing country and/or refugee existence. They're just different.

19. Some people said I did beautiful work during that tribal leaders meeting, but I don't really believe them.

20. It's really frustrating to work your ass off and know you've only scratched the surface.

21. Ghana needs better quality alcohol.

22. I need to get used to this kind of work. It's going to be my life (maybe).

23. Community/grassroots peacebuilding or institutional/organizational/political conflict resolution? That is the question.

24. This list is now far too long, and thus here it ends.

1 comment:

Teresa Curtis said...

Wow. what can I say to that? You have truly blessed me. I couldn't ask for a better son. Love, Mom