Switching Hats

Switching Hats
Christmas, 1975 – Bob tries on a new hat at the Accra market

Well, here’s the big news: Bob and I are moving to Ghana, Africa for one year and will be leaving the United States in June!

Columbia University is handling a grant-funded pilot program aimed at figuring out a process for turning fecal sludge into Biodiesel. Last week, Bob received a firm offer from their Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering with the salary he requested.

We find this exciting on multiple fronts. First off, we have both long wanted to spend some time in Ghana. Second, we’ll be working with our good friend Jeremy. Third, Bob needed the work. And fourth, we love the pace of life in the third world.

Bob lived in the coastal city of Accra, the capital of Ghana between the ages of nine and fifteen. We’ll be living in Kumasi, about 160 miles inland from Accra.

His father’s work with Kaiser Aluminum took the family there in the sixties. His father was in an extractive industry, damming a river for cheap power, shipping in ore, turning it into aluminum and shipping it out.

Years ago, after somewhat following his father’s footsteps into the world of manufacturing, Bob promised himself he would not take another job in an extractive industry. Since then he’s been involved in remediation, recycling, biodiesel and teaching.

With this move, Bob will be coming full circle. He’ll be putting his energies into transforming waste into fuel, providing the communities with the revenue they need to clean their waste water.

We are keeping the house, which is a first. Generally we sell and give away nearly everything, put a few things in storage and pack our bags. Where we end up is always a surprise. This time, we plan on ending up right back where we started from. In a year.

The moral of this story is be careful what you wish for!

I’m convinced our impending move to Ghana all began on March 31st when I responded to sister-in-law Kathryn’s Bucket List blog post with the following comment:

You’ve inspired me to throw together my own bucket list.

Train an elephant
Ride a zebra
Learn to skid logs out of the woods using horses, mules, donkeys or oxen
Take voice lessons
Write a book
Move back to Belize
Visit Machu Picchu
Spend a couple of months in Ghana with Bob and the kids

Everything else I’ve wished for has already come true.

And so begins another chapter of Bob and Camille Throw in Together to Create a Life of Joy and Fulfillment by Following Their Hearts!

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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