I wanted to let all of you know that my formal invitation to join the Peace Corps came this afternoon, and I've accepted a position in the Agroforestry and Alternative Livelihood program in the West African nation of Ghana. This is exactly what I was hoping for, so much so that words fail me. The specifics of my work within the program will have to wait until I'm on the ground, but will involve some mixture of projects relating to environmental degradation, food security, sustainable resource management, local entrepreneurship, and conservation.
I'll most likely be based in a rural area between one and three days travel from the capital city of Accra. There are so many things about this assignment that seem, albeit from thousands of miles away, absolutely perfect. For example: "Volunteers live in the community to which they are assigned. You will be provided with some money to purchase a bicycle for commuting, and in some cases, you may have to bike long distances from your home to some project sites." Sweet. Other pithy phrases also set my heart aflutter: "If we are successful, people will have greater food security and natural resources will be conserved." Nicely understated, but that's a banner I'll fight under.
I don't know much about Ghana, but I'm already intrigued. One reason I'm headed there is that apparently they need programs to involve young people, since opportunities for formal secondary education are limited. Given my experiences teaching science and, to some degree, with The League and Cultivating Community, it seems like an excellent match. This is likely to be more rural than some other potential assignments, so my web-contact will probably be very limited, unfortunately. Also, and it's funny that this seems secondary to internet access, "You probably will not have running water or electricity."
Thank you all for sticking with me through this process, and listening to my ongoing angst. I'll be in Portland until July 1st, or thereabouts, and doing some summer traveling (with an ultimate destination of Ann Arbor, Michigan) until leaving for Ghana by way of D.C. on September 24th. Theoretically my service will last until November 26, 2010. Wow.
Thanks again, I treasure my friendship with all of you, the prospect of leaving reminds me of that.