“When Peace Corps was first proposed, some in Congress assumed that only men would be volunteers.”

We had a bit of rain last night and this morning. It left the air a bit humid. It is also quite warm, 70°. I have no plans to leave the house. I have a to do list, but the paper has yellowed.

I took off Nala’s cone. She was just so sad. I could see it in her eyes. Her head hung down, and she had trouble getting comfortable. Around the stitches looks great. She doesn’t bother them. She slept right beside me last night. All is well in Nala’s world.

My muse seems to be on vacation, perhaps beaten by the rain. I guess this will have to be a Ghana day, my favorite fallback.

My Peace Corps training was completely in Ghana. We started at a town called Winneba. I remember the first morning waking up and remembering I was in Africa. My dorm room was on the second floor. Outside my door I could see the tops of compounds and palm trees, my very first palm trees ever. Breakfast was coffee and rolls, a familiar breakfast. Lunch and dinner were Ghanaian foods, and I wasn’t a fan. Those first three weeks we had hours of language every day. Mine was Hausa. We got shots. We had a medical briefing. We greeted the chief as is the custom. Back then, Ashanti chiefs never spoke directly to people but spoke through linguists who carried staffs, indicators of their positions. The beginnings of my own adventures were when I went to town by myself a few times.

The next three weeks we lived with Ghanaian families who spoke the same languages we were learning. I lived in Bawku. I taught middle school for a week and still had language lessons but only after lunch which we ate together. My favorite time in Bawku was when I visited the compounds where the wives and small children lived. My father had four wives. I walked behind compounds on dirt pathways where I’d pass an outside class of boys sitting on the ground and learning the Koran. Their voices intoned. In the compound I sat and sometimes held babies. The toddlers were afraid of me. I remember a vulture walking around the main part of the compound. The wives made my meals there and sent them to the house. One vivid memory of Bawku is of us sitting around the radio listening to Voice of American and the moon landing.

For the next week we each went to our schools. I met the principal, set up a checking account, sort of moved into my house and roamed the market. I made note of what I needed in my house. I also left luggage and some clothes there so I’d have less to carry.

I’m going to stop there in Bolga to keep you on the edges of your seats. That leaves me with some weeks of training to write about when my muse takes another hike.

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2 Comments on ““When Peace Corps was first proposed, some in Congress assumed that only men would be volunteers.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    For the last few days we didn’t get to the century mark in temperature because of the oppressive humidity. The climate here in the Dallas Ft. Worth area has changed a lot since I first returned in 1965. Back then the entire area had maybe two million people. The summers were always hot and very, very dry. Now the population is nearly eight million people and this summer has been exceptionally humid. This change is a direct result of the growth in population. The Corps. of engineers have built numerous new lakes around the area to meet the water needs of four times the population. Also, the amount of pollution has increased exponentially because everyone here needs a car. Public transportation was buses until twenty years ago when Dallas opened its first rapid transit line. Ft. Worth opened their’s in 2019. Populations can affect the climate regardless what Republicans want to believe.

    I didn’t know that you listened to the first moon landing while you were in Ghana. Were the people you were with amazed at the idea of men walking on the moon? I was while watching it on TV here in Dallas. 🙂

    Of course, in the 1960s some members in Congress would assume only men would join the Peace Corps. How many female congresswoman or Senators were serving back then? You could count them on one hand.

    Glad to hear Nala is healing. The pet cones really depress our canine friends but they are a necessary evil. Unfortunately, they don’t have the understanding not to rip open their stitches, just like a toddler.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      I lived in Ghana’s Upper region which had the most extreme weather in the country. The temperature was often passed the century mark, but it was quite dry so it was bearable.

      How can anyone deny that humans are the cause of global warning, of the rise of hurricanes and of the depletion of water throughout the country. Droughts are now commonplace. India has had record heat, and it isn’t the only place.

      I was with the other trainees who were staying in Bawku at the house of a volunteer. There were eight of us, the smallest language group. We always met during the day, and on the day of the moon landing we listened to the radio. Many Ghanaians don’t believe in the moon landing. After all, they didn’t see it. Hearing a description of Armstrong’s “giant leap” didn’t quite make a big impression.

      The first volunteers were both men and women though there were many more men.

      Nala is constantly wagging her tail. She is a happy girl!

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