Sunday August 9, 2009- 7 am

Went for an early jog and now at the school where I have pulled up a table next to a power supply at the outdoor multi-use room. They have not given me a key to any office space yet. As a matter of fact it is unclear where I will be situated and what exactly I will be doing. I am sure this will all be ironed out next week but I am very glad I have an educational leave. On day five it feels a lot like a one year stay for me…

People– Had a nice dinner with another new family, Daniel, Karen, and Annika, who have been living overseas for the past 10 years; five in South Africa and the prior five in Burma. They have a fifth grader and one who just went off to college. They live in the Airport residential district, which is where most of the embassies are located and the housing is a bit nicer, but it is a fifteen-minute drive to school. While there are many plusses to that area I like the fact that we have a five minute walk to school and if the girls are running late, which they often do, they’re on their own…

Houses– Speaking of houses, ours is very funky and leaves a lot to be desired. It is a bit like the Winchester Mystery house with many doors leading to various ill-conceived spaces. For example our living room is out through a door, through a courtyard to another “wing” through a door and voila, the living room and veranda. We have many bathrooms, one where a shower and toilet is directly next door to a toilet; lots of opportunity for tandem pooping.

More people– The best thing so far about Ghana and LCS is the people; both foreign and domestic. In addition to the Daniel et al, our new group consists of a young couple, Patrick, from Ireland and Carolina from Sweden. He is teaching high school economics and she is not working at all. They are fun and oh so very young. Ray and Joanne are a friendly easy-going couple from Canada whose kids are long gone. They are both humanities teachers. We have spent time with both these groups and hope to stay connected as all the old guard returns next week. The rest are singles, Joanna from San Jose, Andrea from North Carolina, and another Carolina from Paraguay whose husband works here in the telecom field. All very nice but I doubt any connection will be made. The elementary principal is a very nice woman, Elsa, originally from Venezuela. Her husband Terri was in charge of technology for the last two years. I hope he can help me get up to speed when he returns next week. The high school principal, Doug will be my and Amy’s primary contact. He seems to be a decent chap but so far he has not really spent any time with us, especially in light of the fact that neither Amy, who is 60% or I have any classroom or office space to speak of yet. I am giving it until Tuesday before I make an appointment to get things squared away. Again, happy to have those birds in hand at home.

The Ghanaians are everything I was told, happy, friendly, educated, and so far a pleasure to be around. The names of the people are great. Our guards are named Prosper, Daniel, and Brilliant. Moses heads the IT staff and the maintenance staff is led by Wisdom.

Shopping– Prices are quite high. Many of the processed foods are double or triple what they cost in the States. The electronics and household furnishings are also quite pricey. I hope our shipment gets here in September. The fruits and vegetables are reasonable and there is a great supply. Sadly the cheapest aspect to Ghana is the labor. The guard gets paid 50 Cedis a month, about the same as the cost of 1½ kilos of turkey breast. We will have a cook/cleaner three days a week and will pay her more than the going rate. Our lavish salary will be 140 Cedis per month. This works out to 11 or 12 Cedis per day. The current exchange rate is 1.50 Cedis= 1 dollar.

The weather– So far we are pleasantly surprised. Today as I sit and write it there is a nice cool breeze and it is a very pleasant 70 degrees. I know it will get hotter but I am taking it one day at a time. Hope you are all well.

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