Last week I attended In-Service Training (IST) in Kumasi with the group of health WATSAN Peace Corps Volunteers I entered Ghana with in February. IST is mandatory training that each volunteer must attend after living in his or her villages for the first three months. Each volunteer brought his or her community counterpart to IST. Bringing our counterparts allowed us to educate them on what the Peace Corps is and how the Peace Corps operates. I was grateful for this opportunity, because hadn’t worked very closely with my counterpart before IST so I wanted the chance to form a closer relationship with him.
During the first three months we weren’t allowed to do much travelling and are discouraged from started big projects in our communities. So IST marks a milestone in a volunteer’s service where the reigns are removed and the volunteer is free to travel and start community work. During my first three months at my village I did some projects with Ghana WASH through my NGO. However, now I think I’m ready to initiate some projects on my own. During the training we learned about the types of grants available for volunteers and how to apply for them. I definitely came away from IST more motivated and with project ideas for my village.
On Thursday during IST we visited KITA (Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture), an organization that farms everything from mushrooms to fish. Although we aren’t agriculture volunteers, it was still interesting to learn about bee keeping and rabbit rearing. Plus, these are some projects we can bring back to our villages to generate income for people.
A couple months ago Peace Corps Ghana moved offices in Accra, Ghana’s capital city. I haven’t been to Accra since my first week in Ghana, so after the IST, I travelled down to Accra to check out the new office. After spending most of my time here in villages, Accra seemed very westernized and luxurious. It was quite unusual to see stop lights everywhere while driving on two-lane roads. There is even a small mall with a grocery store and theater. On Saturday night a group of us saw the new Batman movie. The theater is like any normal theater in the Unites States, so it was nice to pretend I was in America for a few hours.