Back From Outerspace

Looking at my old drafts, (all of which are currently unpublished, gathering kb dust in some back corner of the internet) it has been a month since I have even looked at this blog. I would apologize, but I think I start every post with an apology and a promise to do better–which I promptly break after hitting “publish.” So in the interest of breaking bad habits, I’m not sorry I haven’t posted anything. I’ve been busy moving across the country, starting new cycling programs for girls, setting up and maintaining the world’s coolest house, making new friends, and re-learning all my college rice-cooker cooking skillz. Along the way I’ve spruced up my bike and hung up a hammock and stocked my fridge with all the beer and cheese in Techiman, as well as eaten the Obruni store clean out of Pringles. Life here is pretty sweet.

Where is here? Here is Techiman, and Techiman is home. Months and months ago I posted about a crazy adventure that brought me and Jason and Freya up North for a few days. I’m back there now, living in the old house, fixing bikes, and working with Peace Corps Volunteers to train girls to ride. I wish I could say I miss Accra. But I don’t, not really. I miss Falafel, I miss secret Mexican Chicken Salads, I miss MaxMart and Kalamata olives, I miss my ex-pat friends and their adorable kids. But I don’t miss the constant power outages or the humidity or the traffic. And I really don’t miss the constant feeling of semis whizzing by and honking anytime I ride my bike. As if that wasn’t enough to make you want to stay here forever (or at least until you run out of cheese) I also live next door to this small person:

2015-03-03 18.53.48-1 This is Blessing. When not rocking Jason’s Alomo hat, she likes to cuddle, demand toffee, accuse me of lying about not having toffee, lock me in my own house so I can’t throw her out, and organize fellow smalls into 6 am flash mobs outside my window to chant “Obruni Obruni Wake up!!!” Most days I don’t know if I want to hug her or smack her. 2015-03-15 07.16.40-1 2015-03-15 07.10.05

Nothing like being woken up for a 7am selfie. The more time I spend around Ghanaian children, the more I realize that time simply doesn’t exist for them: my hungover 6:30 is their chipper 10am, and my 8pm burnout is prime time to ask me to fix their bike. Besides Blessing, there is a whole horde of children who come by to help me fix bikes (read borrow my tools and then ask me to do it for them once they’ve broken both bike and tools), fetch me water, demand toffee, and ask to see pictures of the Pacific Ocean. In return I school them in soccer, fix their bikes on a daily basis, and teach them about market economies and the value of unionization in a limited labor market. Really I pay them one lollipop per jerry-can of water. They have started to unionize: they want two candies per trip.

2015-03-01 16.36.58

2015-03-01 16.36.34-1 I am a terrible capitalist. Give it another week and I’ll cave. In other bicycle news, I’ve got me a new BFF: 2015-03-18 11.08.59 2015-03-18 11.09.18 Meet Bree Whitehead, Peace Corps Volunteer in Agosa. She is an ex-profesional bike mechanic from Oregon who loves to rock climb, tree climb, build shit, garden, and ride single track. We knew we would be friends when I found a perfectly buttery hub and showed it to her. Her response: “Wow, I’ve never met another girl who knows what a hub is, let alone what a good one feels like.” The rest is history. This last month we’ve been working on a new Learn to Ride Program in Bree’s village of Agosa. I dropped off 8 bikes for girls to learn on, and Bree and Patrick conducted a class at 4pm everyday for however many girls could come. All in all, about 50 girls learned to ride from scratch, and 30 or so came to just hang out and practice their bike skillz.

Along the way we’ve roped Luke and Sam into helping as well, and they’ve introduced a class in Bonkwae. Everyone is rolling right along. Until of course the girls crash into each other or the mango trees. The house is looking great, though there’s still plenty of work to be done. Last week I made myself a closet out of some rope and an old rim, the week before I built a kitchen out of tomato boxes. Next week I’ll paint the inside yellow. 2015-03-26 17.13.04-2 2015-03-27 07.32.22That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m still at the Field Office and need to get back to take laundry off the line before the bugs lay eggs in all my clothes.

Miss and love you all!

Clara

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