Las Quatro Harwoods

Just another busy week.

Let’s see.  I’m sitting in the La Palm Beach Resort Hotel right now, sweating, and waiting on Robyn.  We’re at the African International Schools Association (AISA) pre conference today.  My session enlightened me a little quicker than hers did I guess.  Its a right fancy hotel with beautiful grounds and such, but they don’t air-condition hallways around here, hence the sweat.  I’ve done just about everything else I could think of to pass the time and I finally got frustrated with the fickle internet connection and figured I’d just do a little writing.
So I got a custom tailored suit this week.  I’m a little surprised to say I’m actually excited about it.  You see, I’m not a big fan of the whole dressing up thing, but when I tried it on, I actually liked it.  I think the fact that the tailor measured me for it while my students were walking in to class has a little something to do with it too.  Yep.  He came to school and into my classroom to measure me and then about a week later another guy showed up with my suit.  (I started this post two days ago so I’m not at the hotel anymore.  I’m sitting in the kids’ room waiting for them to fall asleep).  I liked it, wait I should say, Robyn liked it so much that Owusu, my tailor, came to the house yesterday to show me some samples and is going to make a second suit and two dress shirts.  So at the end of two months here I will have two new suits, two new dress shirts and three new Ghanaian shirts all custom made to fit.   I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like that before.  Except for a couple of Halloween costumes.  Thanks mom.
The past week.  Let’s see.  School was busy.  Grades were due and I had two assessments that spanned four classes that had to be scored before I could finish inputting grades into the new system that scores things completely different from the way I’m used to back home.  No more ABCs it’s all on a scale of 1-7 that comes from four criteria that are scored on a scale of 1-8.  It’s pretty confusing, but thankfully the system does most of the work.  I think I got it right. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough if I didn’t.  So that all had to be done by Friday, but I wasn’t in school on Friday because I was hand picked to go to the AISA conference and attend the MAP testing workshops.  Ok, maybe it was a send the new guy kind of thing, but play along.  So I also had to come up with some sub plans  in there.   Made for some packed days, and may have left things a little uncertain as far as lesson plans for when I return from break next week.  
Tuesday was a holiday so we had the day off.  Turns out Tuesday holidays are pretty good.  It’s like a mini weekend in the middle of the week.  Robyn signed us up for a day of adventure through school so we headed to the school just like any other day but hopped on the bus and headed out for Shai Hills Nature Preserve and Akosombo.  Thanks to Robyn’s generosity I got to ride the adult bus for the morning shift and actually enjoyed some conversations with a few of our colleagues.  Unfortunately, Shai Hills was a bust.   We we’re supposed to hike and see baboons and all kinds of cool stuff, but they had changed the rates and were charging 25 GHS an hour to be in the park and there was nothing we could do that would take less than two hours.  That makes for an expensive hike.  Unfortunately they were not willing to negotiate either, which was poor business on their part.  Instead of taking something from a group of forty people we walked away and they made nothing.  Just didn’t seem like good business.  Wasn’t great for morale either.  An hour bus ride and then five minutes of waiting to see baboons before being told to get back on the bus is not a five and two yearold’s idea of a fun time.  As we drove away, I actually saw one of the baboons sauntering up the road in our direction an I must say, I’m kind of glad we didn’t get to hike by them.  I’m pretty sure the one I saw was Andre the Giant.  I didn’t realize Baboons were quite so big.  It could have easily snatched up one of our kids Jungle Book style.  
Off to Akosombo, via the hydroelectric damn that powers 70% of West Africa.  Pretty cool,but not exactly kid friendly.  It was eight thousand degrees by this point and a guy with a thick Ghanain accent was explaining the processes of building and operating a hydroelectric dam to a group of forty people on the road above the dam that had no rails and dropped several thousand feet on either side. 0 for 2.  Oh yeh, and we stood in the parking lot of a bank for half an hour waiting for the tour too.  Forgot about that,  if you asked Maddox, that was probably actually the best part.  He and his buddy found a bunch of stuff to jump over and things to explore, so whatever, right?  Back on the bus amigos.
We finally made it to the “beach resort” which consisted of a couple of pools, a trampoline, a playgroundof sorts, couple of dirt soccer pitches, a “restaurant” and a dock with a couple pontoons and some paddle boats by the river.  Oh, yeh and a DJ pumping up the jams through some really freaking big speakers.  This part actually turned out ok.  The boys jumped in the pool.  Josie jumped on the trampoline, inducing smiles of epic proportions as always, and we eventually got to go for a beautiful, if not so relaxing thanks to some tired kids, boat ride on the Volta River.  
So the day wasn’t a complete bust, but I wouldn’t say it made it onto any top ten lists either.  By the end of the day we were exhausted and just ready to get back on the bus.  Per the morning deal, I got the kid bus on the way home. Turned out alright though as Josie passed out within twenty minutes and Maddox and Ettiene entertained themselves more or less civilly the whole way back.  Oh, and we got to listen to the Ghana vs Egypt World Cup Qualifier on the way home too.  That was fun.  About half the bus was Ghanaian staff and everyone cheered for the goals.   I won’t claim to have understood all of the commentary as we listened, but I did pick out a name or two here and there and could definitely tell when a goal was scored.  Although I did have to wait for the translation on those.  Oh, yeh.  It was in English, but it’s different.  We finally made it home and the Blackstars had crushed Egypt 6-1 by the time it was all said and done.  We pulled into the house and could hear all of the guards and housekeepers cheering as they were hanging out together watching the game.  Pretty cool.
I’ll add just one more thing here and then call it a wrap.  I think I mentioned before that I’ve been playing some music again,  well we made our public debut after just two rehearsals Saturday night at the British High Commission’s pub, The Grasscutter’s Return.  It was an open mic night of sorts with about forty or fifty people and about half of them taking turns playing music in various combinations.  It was kind of a part open mic part karaoke feel going on.  It was fun though and the queen was there.  Ok it was a picture on the wall, but hey.  Oh, and they had good beer.  I’m really hoping I get invited back just for that. Anyway, we played about six songs over the course of about three hours and listened to a lot of good musician and some other people too.  You know what I mean.  It was fun.  Robyn and some of her friends showed up towards the end of the evening and that made it even more fun.  In the end Robyn and I ended up staying up til almost one in the morning.  We got home about half past eleven, but had fun just hanging out together and talking late into the night.  We don’t get to do that sort of thing very often any more.  Of course, the next day we remembered why.  But it was worth it.  
Ok, so I lied.  One more thing.  I should throw in here that we also went to the African International Schools Association conference last weekend too.  We won’t talk much about my sessions as they weren’t to terribly exciting, but Robyn really enjoyed hers and was asked to lead a session and to return on Sunday to present about a Child Protection curriculum that she is implementing.  It was a good experience and we met some people and all that jazz and it was at a really nice hotel on the beach.  I had fun hanging out with some guys from school and I might have learned a little too.  My session was about test data though so…
Alright.  I’m going to turn it off now.  We’re at the beach for October break.  There will be lots to report from here I’m sure.  I’ll let you know.

Are we going to see baboons or what?

It was a nice view from the top of the dam.

But this sums up the feelings.

Tyler was nice enough to provide a bit of shade.

Art in the afternoon time.

Pretty views on the boat ride.

Everybody looks cool in a PFD.
Living the rock n roll life

Josie didn’t really listen to the soccer game on the way home.

This entry was published on October 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm and is filed under family, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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