Saturday, May 14, 2011


It's been several months, but I am now getting around to posting about the playground that was donated to my village last December. One of our tourists, Michael Sheppard from the U.K. came in 2009 wanted to help out the village. With the help of one of my counterparts, Kofi, we put Mike in contact with the local preschool, which needed assistance with school fees. Last summer, I believe, Mike ran a marathon in London to raise more funds for the school. Together, Mike, Kofi, and I decided to put those funds towards repairing the existing playground. Thanks to Mike, we were able to replace the old rusted equipment with new parts to make a see-saw, swing set, and a merry-go-round. We were also able to buy another swing set and a new slide. Take a look for yourself:

These three welders came to my village from Hohoe to design and build the playground. It only took them a couple of days, which was really impressive.

Swing set, before.

New Slide

The top part of the Merry-go-round was sitting in one of the classrooms, collecting dust, and there was this random pole sticking out of the ground. It makes much more sense this way!

All the kids knew something was happening, and they were so excited!

YAY!!!! New Playground!!! (I'm sure that's something like what they were saying.)

This thing is actually a lot of fun!

I just want to say, Thanks again to Mike. I really feel for these kids, because they don't get a lot of attention or toys- that's just the way things are here in Ghana. But the kids are the ones that will correct my Ewe and laugh and play with me, so I was excited and eager to reward them. Kids in Ghana have to do so much around the house for their mothers (fetching water, cleaning, taking care of babies) and they have to help their fathers at farm. Not to mention going to school, which is taught in English. I think the kids are so awesome and adorable, so, on behalf of all the children of Liati Wote, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! AKPE KRA KRA KRA!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh, That? It's Just a Little Malaria

So, on Thursday, I got Malaria.

I can safely say that I will never forget my Mefloquin again. Some reasons why this terrible event occurred? Well, it's the rainy season, which means more mosquitoes in my already buggy village. While that's not an excuse, I'm willing to bet that if I forgot my prophylaxis once during the dry season, I would not have gotten sick. Which leads me to my second reason: I forgot to take my Mefloquin!!! Never again, though.

For those of you that followed the link above and read all of the symptoms, DON'T FREAK OUT! I did not have the worst case. I didn't even have to go to the hospital, for which I was grateful. I only was hurting, faint, and had a slight fever. Malaria induces an odd type of pain, because the disease is in your blood cells. There's not one specific area that hurts, you just hurt. (The good thing about this aspect of the disease is that there leave little doubt to the source of your ailment. I immediately knew I had Malaria.)

So, the wonderful doctors at Peace Corps got on the phone with me and told me to take my emergency medicine, and within three days, here I am typing about the incident in Hohoe.

I'm back in town to do a little work. Believe it or not, but I've been busy with meetings and organizing projects. (Yes, you read that right, projects- plural.) I'll hopefully be posting my success stories here in a couple of months. In the meantime, feel free to E-Mail or Comment here. I miss all y'all like crazy, so, please, don't be a stranger.

Love, Katie

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back at Site

Wow, what a whirlwind. I loved coming home to see everyone, but now it's back to work. And what's the first thing that happens? I get sick, go figure. But only a little. Believe it or not, the weather here is cooler than it was in North Carolina. So, I've been feeling cold and a little under the weather.

Today, I am in Ho for the day to hang out with a lot of volunteers. We are going to a pool, which should be different and fun. It's also the first time I'm seeing most of these folks since I've been back. I'm looking forward to it.

Some projects I'm working on? Designing new brochures, finish the new office building, building a playground at the primary school, and an HIV/AIDs project. So, I should be quite busy these next few months. Wish me luck!

Love, Katie

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Only 2 Weeks... And Counting

Okay, technically, like 16 days? But I am getting so, so excited! And stressed. So what's on the American to-do list? Here are a few ideas, and feel free to post other ideas for the complete American experience!

Hanging with friends and family, priority number one

Eat: burgers, tacos, COFFEE, french fries, BBQ (Stamey's here I come), Mom's spaghetti, Dad's everything else (Love you guys!), soul food, Japanese, Indian, Thai, and lots and lots of SALADS (I anticipate leaving about 15 pounds heavier, but oh well)

Going to the movies


Going to the parks in Greensboro

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway

Canoe down a river in the mountains



Watching trashy TV

Going to many bookstores


Going to a show or two

So, yeah, I think that about covers it. Update in Africa? Last weekend, I went to my first Ghanaian engagement ceremony. I had kind of hoped that the stereotypes were just that, but unfortunately there was some truth to them, in this case. The guy was old and rich and the girl was young and beautiful. Apparently, to marry, a man has to have a ton of stuff to give to the bride-to-be's family. We're talking, money for several family members, not just parents, cloth, booze, palm wine in the gallons, kente, beads, appliances, and more. I definitely saw an affluent engagement ceremony. But, usually this ceremony is what deters men from marrying at a young age. They have to earn enough to be accepted by the bride's family.

It was definitely different than our dating/engagement rituals. And I'll be honest, I still have a hard time grasping the mating rituals in this country. But it was kind of cool that they still have these traditions. And some parts of the ceremony were entertaining.

Today, I am avoiding the village and hanging out with a friend in Hohoe. There is a funeral this weekend. And it can get a little crazy. Especially since this one is at my house.

I am getting really excited, and I look forward to seeing all of y'all!

<3 Katie

Friday, April 30, 2010


So, currently, I'm at Peace Corps All Volunteer (All Vol) Conference in Ho, and it has been an, ah, interesting week. Mostly lectures, but also fun things:

beard contest
talent show (tonight)
Ghanian engagement ceremony between two volunteers
Prom (I wore a yellow dress, which somehow wasn't ruined when I was pulled into the pool by a certain evil volunteer- VENGEANCE IS MINE!!!)

We are staying in a nice hotel with A/C, TV, and a swimming pool- yeah, being a PCV can be tough sometimes, I have to admit!

So far the workshop has been pretty informative, and it's been cool seeing and meeting people who live far away. It also feels weird being around a lot of Americans in one place. A nice preview for when I come back for vacation.

I guess some things have happened since I last posted, like my birthday extravaganza. A lot of stress, but a lot of fun. At work, we are starting to look at brochure and T-Shirt designs. I am also working on building a database full of pictures for the company to pull from for calendars, postcards, and advertising.

This week has also been a great motivator, especially meeting people who have been here longer. They have ideas and experiences that have actually been invaluable. We have even met some inspiring Ghanaians who can help with projects related to HIV. (This conference is centered around HIV/AIDS.) One was a guest speaker living with HIV, and another was a man who incorporates drama and improv into his HIV/AIDs workshops.

So, basically, I've been pretty busy lately, but never too busy to answer your e-mails. Hit me up if you have any questions. Oh, and those of you in North Carolina? Only about 6 weeks to go!!! See y'all soon!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

June 13

That's the day I'm coming back home for a vacation! Am getting so, so excited. As of now, my plans are to hit up Asheville, Charlotte, Burlington, and I can be talked into other destinations.

Now, I am gearing up for Easter, which is supposed to be crazy in Ghana. Also, my birthday is coming up, which we're using as an excuse to get together and eat bacon! This is going to be an interesting birthday, I think.

I want to give a shout out to Grandmama and Pops for the care package and to Hannah for the letters and pictures. Also a big CONGRATULATIONS are in order for Jeremy and Emily for tying the knot in Jamaica in January. Sorry I can't make it to your reception in April, but, I'm sure you understand why.

I'm sorry to keep this short, but I'm sure I'll have more to update in a couple of weeks. Until then, I hope y'all have a nice Easter. Thanks for reading! <3 Katie

Monday, February 15, 2010

Everyday Transportation

Have you guys ever heard of Grasscutter? It's a type of delicacy here in Ghana, and it looks like a foot long rat. Apparently it's very expensive... and delicious? I'm honestly not sure if I've experienced said dish, because I tend not to ask too many questions about the meat I consume. Ignorance is bliss right? There's no telling what kinds of food my home-stay mom served me those first few months. I shudder at the thought.

Anyways, I was traveling along the Accra-Hohoe road back home when the driver pulls the tro-tro to an abrupt stop. I was happily sitting in the front, next to the driver, with my friend sitting in the passenger seat. It was then, I noticed the small boy standing on the side of the road proudly, showcasing the day's catch: A Nice Juicy Grasscutter.

Needless to say, us Americans were a little grossed-out, while the Ghanaians were really excited. The boy had caught a rare beauty. The driver asks how much, and begins negotiating with the boy. I was then I realized hes going to have to put the grasscutter somewhere, and in typical Ghanaian fashion, he'll just hand it to someone or throw it on the floor and we'll be on our happy way. This everyday occurrence did not sit well with the Americans who like distance between themselves and dead rodents that look like they could eat your face in their previous life. Ugh.

So when the driver grabbed the grasscutter and casually tossed it on the floor- AT MY FEET, both my friend and I lost it. She screamed while I sat paralyzed in fear. And the Ghanaians? They laughed and laughed. I think we were the most entertaining thing to happen since the African World Cup.

The perplexed driver realized that we weren't, um, used to being around dead grasscutters, so he promptly grabbed it from the floor and proceeded to pass it back to the mate and away from the front seat- which was fine with me, except that they had to pass it INCHES FROM MY FACE. Shudder. More screaming ensued (us in the front), as well as laughter (from the Ghanaians in the back). That was one of the more traumatizing tro rides I've been on lately.

It's the dry season now, which makes things dusty. Luckily, the tros aren't getting tuck in mud, but you leave the tro covered in dirt anytime you go to or from a place. It's also the time of year farmers burn the fields for whatever reason. I assume it has to do with rotating crops. So when I travel, I sometimes see these blazing infernos in the fields next to the roads. It's a little unnerving, but the Ghanaians tell us not to worry.

I can't help worrying on tros though...