January 30, 2009

Electric kool aid Obama test

This month has brought some exciting news, electricity! That's right, yours truly has emerged from his 18th century style obscurity to take his rightful place among the great technophiles of our time. Well, actually that might be a bit premature seeing as how for the moment I'm only using the electricity for a light bulb and to charge my cellphone (for the cell phone reception I don't have), but I'm dreaming big. Plus you gotta love the incongruity of living in a mud hut that's connected to the grid.

In case you're wondering how a little village in the middle of nowhere got electricity, we've got Canada to thank. More specifically, a guy who was born in my village moved to Toronto for six years and when he came back he had a bunch of money to spend. As a gift to the community he bought a huge generator and ran wires all over the place. Now, for a portion of the total gasoline cost anyone can get electricity in their home for the four hours a day they run the generator. It's 12,000 FG (about $2.25) per month for a light and 25,000 FG ($5.00) for a wall outlet. Although pretty much nobody in my village has anything to plug in so even the people who spring for power only have a light or two. Still, big news.

In other news I've been at IST (in service training) for the last week or so. IST is a training session we have to go to after a few months at site to discuss teaching techniques and secondary projects. It was nice to see all the other volunteers in my group but the training seemed a little, um... repetitive. But hey, the food was good at the facility and I got to watch the "new" Batman movie. So no complaints.

Other than that the big deal here has been Obama's inauguration. Everyone in Guinea is super pro-Obama and are looking to him to fix all of Africa's problems. We'll see how that goes... I got to listen to the ceremonies live on BBC radio at my site. It was pretty cool to hear the inaugural address at the same time that he was giving it rather than just hear highlights on world news later. I guess you can tell how much my standards have been lowered when live radio becomes a major event in my life.