Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Justin's back in Tamale!!

Hello Alan, Mom, Dad, Kat and any other family members following our journey in Ghana.
It's actually been quite nice not having access the internet for the past two weeks in Enchi. Although the spotty cell service made it hard to call home at times, we were able to get through enough to ward off severe home-sickness. Thank-you Alan for the text messages, they kept me sane. We spent the past two weeks working at a small health clinic which was more like a small (and over capacity) hospital. We were supported by Madame Phillomena, and she treated us like her own children. She even went out of her way to get approval from Ghanian customs to allow us to go 4X4-ing through the jungle and cross the border into Cote D'Ivore for the afternoon. Who knew that my high school french would come in handy on this trip?!?! I am absolutely amazed at the level of health-care delivery here in Africa given the limited supplies. We've seen more Malaria cases than you can shake a stick at. The nursing style is definitely different from Canada, and I've seen alot of patients being talked over and hit by nurses for crying out in pain. The people here are TOUGH to make a complete understatement. We taught one day at a local highscool about safe sex, and were amazed at the forthcoming students questions. We bought them 200 condoms to give out for free (because they cost money here, and people rarely have money to spare). As well we spent two days at the district hospital, where there is ONE doctor for the surrounding 160,000 residents. That's right... he's a very busy man! I was surprised at the lack of patient resuscitation efforts when their status declines. There really wasn't any in fact. The girls had a very difficult day at the hospital, and I was grateful to be able to be there to support them through it. Alot of our time has been spent trying to understand and be sensitive to the cultural differences which are glaringly apparent. Alot of our role here in Ghana is centered around teaching, but I've found it frustrating when people are very set in their way of doing things.
Anyways, We had a long trip back to Tamale. 14 hours on a tightly packed (like a sardine can) public transit bus that made me wish for seats as comfortable as a school bus. But we're here, and back in contact with the world! We've started yesterday at the Tamale teaching hospital and I'm spending most of my time in the emergency department. I'll keep y'all posted on how things go... but it will be censored for the younger audience ;-)
Love you all, and I miss Canada immensely (I'm counting down the days Al)

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