Tuesday, July 24, 2012

R.I.P. Ghana President John Atta Mills


Ghana's President John Atta Mills, who was suffering from throat cancer, has died in hospital in the capital, Accra.
A statement from his office said the 68-year-old died a few hours after being taken ill, but did not give details.
John Dramani Mahama, his vice-president, has been sworn in as his replacement in a ceremony in the capital.
Mr Atta Mills had ruled the West African country since 2009.
"It is with a heavy heart... that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana," the president's office statement said.
He died in a hospital in Accra on Tuesday afternoon while receiving treatment, his office said.
While Mr Atta Mills' illness had always been a subject of great debate, it was never officially confirmed, correspondents say. He had always insisted he was well, and planned to seek re-election in December's poll.
You can read the entire story on BBC.com.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ghana Travel Guide: i'm published!


As you may or may not know, while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, I was approached by a publisher to write a travel guide about the country, similar to the Bradt or Lonely Planet guides. Myself and two other Ghana PCVs co-authored a travel guide about Ghana. As we each lived in different parts of the country for an extended amount of time, it gave us a deeper understanding of the culture and we discovered many of the hidden treasures Ghana has to offer. This unique perspective is what we hope to convey to readers and travelers to help them explore and discover a beautiful new world.

The Other Places Ghana Travel Guide (http://www.otherplacespublishing.com/) was just published and became available on Amazon.com today! Please check out the link (http://amzn.com/1935850105), pick up a copy, and if you know anyone traveling to Ghana or West Africa, please pass this along to them!

Thank you for your continued support,
Julie

Monday, November 15, 2010

peace out

this is officially my last day as a peace corps volunteer in ghana! my fellow pcv kelli and i will be going on a tour through asia as our COS (close of service) trip. vince, kelli and i will fly out tomorrow and spend a few days in egypt. then it's thailand > laos > vietnam > cambodia > singapore > indonesia > taiwan > japan > hawaii > los angeles > las vegas > atlanta. i'm ecstatic!!!

today has been a day full of warm fuzzies from chats with my apcd, beza dor, to my exit interview with the country director, mike koffman. the highlight has definitely been the program and training officer, robert moler, presenting me with a drum that has the peace corps logo carved into it. it's pretty PIMP!!! i just thave to figure out how to get it home...

i'll keep everyone posted on my travels!! keep us in your prayers!!! thank you all and i love you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

i aspired to change the world

I was blinded by the lights and all the pretty, shiny things. The truth is I came here to escape from myself, my life. It’s not that my life was some sort of train wreck. Quite the opposite, really. But wanting to be everything to everybody else prohibits you from being the person you need to be for yourself.

My COS (Close of Service) date from the Peace Corps is on November 15, 2010. I left home for this journey on September 27, 2008, and I cannot believe that my time is up. My friend Sam asked me the other day what I felt my biggest contribution was during my service. You often think about these things. On those days that the sun is beating down on you, when you can’t sleep because of the impossible heat, when your water is out for days, when homesickness is as painful as a breakup, when you feel that the people you work with aren’t listening to a word you’re saying…it’s on those days that we all ask ourselves, “Why am I here?” In my trimester reports, the numbers are all there. How many men, women, and children were taught? What activities were done? What did they learn? So on and so forth. But as I thought about it, those numbers were just that: statistics. I told Sam I felt that my biggest accomplishments, by far, were the relationships I have built with the people that I’ve met here in Ghana.

There are no words to express the amount of gratitude I have for this experience. I feel enormously blessed in so many ways. We go through all these experiences in life and we don’t fully understand the affect that they have on us until much later. The biggest lesson I can say that I’ve learned is that everything matters. This small developing country in Africa that is seemingly the antithesis of the U.S., I have discovered, is actually quite similar. There is a direct correlation between everything that is happening here right now and what is going on at home. The economy, race relations, gender roles, business, fashion…it’s all interrelated. I am much more conscious of my experiences. This has truly been humbling.

I aspired to change the world. I succeeded in at least changing my world.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Julie Falls Into a Pit of Urine" by Tanya Chung

My worst Ghana nightmare was realized last Friday night. T. Chung was there to witness. The following is her chilling recount of the events of that evening.

"Julie Falls Into a Pit of Urine" by Tanya Chung

This was roughly the size of the pit. Imagine a thin layer of sheet metal covering it. That's how Julie was fooled.


Julie falling into the pit. She was screaming "OHMYGOOOODDDDD" the entire way down.


What Julie kinda looked like immediately after falling into the pit of urine. She was still yelling "OHMYGOOOODDDDD" while flailing her little arms.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

i'm doing well PAAAAAAAAA


what is "paaaaaaaa" you ask? well, in
twi it roughly translates into "very" or is used to emphasize something. when asked how you are doing, you would answer "me ho yε paaaa." wikipedia states that there are about 79 languages spoken in ghana, and throughout our 10 weeks of training, each volunteer learns the language that they will be speaking in their respective communities. in southern volta (where i reside), people speak ewe. last year's peace corps training group made this entertaining video for their swearing-in ceremony about the many different languages they were learning to speak.


what's so good paaaaa in my life, you ask? well, for one, peace corps ghana decided to go with my logo for the 50th anniversary celebration (albeit a really basic and extremely boring version of it), and the Director of the Peace Corps (yes, ALL of peace corps worldwide), Mr. Aaron S. Williams, will be coming to visit my site on friday. i'm honored and terrified at the same time. i just hope all goes well!

friend peace corps ghana on facebook and follow us on twitter!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

master weaver! and i'm not talking about hair!


my dear friend daniel vainner was made a master weaver this past week. he has been learning the art of kente weaving since he got to site two years ago, and now has achieved master weaver status! there was a huge ceremony to commemorate the opening of the visitor's center for tourists and to celebrate dan's master weaver-dom in kpetoe, volta region. dan has been working with the kente weavers, tourism management team, district assembly and countless other community members on promoting eco-tourism in kpetoe. you know those stoles people wear at graduation? my fellow divine 9 greeks know what i'm talking about. well, ghana is where they originated! ghana, specifically the volta region, is where kente began. to this day, the ewe kente woven in dan's area is known for superior quality. anywho, the ceremony was awesome. our apcd (associate peace corps director) for sed (small enterprise development) also attended and gave a speech. kind of a big deal.

the queen mothers of kpetoe
our apcd, beza, me, steve, chrissa (dan's replacement pcv) and dan
he actually wove this men's cloth himself!! now that's talent!
at my graduation w/ my parentals. little did i know the kente stole i had on was made in ghana!