Saturday, March 3, 2012

Miss/won't miss about Ghana!

After an amazing and life changing adventure to Ghana, Africa we have returned back home to Canada. Many of us had mixed feelings about the trip coming to an end. Some of us felt sad to go but at the same time were also very excited to get home to family & friends. Our group put together a list of things we will miss about Ghana and also the things we really will NOT miss, here’s what we came up with…

Something I will miss about Ghana…
• The wonderful, helpful people
• Sense of community
• Green turtle resort
• The friendliness of the people
• Being greeted on the street & saying “nah”
• Buying snacks at any time, even from the window of a bus
• The simplicity of the way they live
• How everyone says hello and good afternoon
• The people and how open and kind they were
• All the little kids waving at us
• Only being able to eat fried foods..
• Greeting everyone and feeling a sense of community
• The slower pace of life
• The lovely people! So kind & the cute babies on the backs of the women
• People’s willingness to help
• Doughballs!
• The vivid colours that always surround you such as the rust coloured dirt roads and the bright fabrics the people wear
• The heat!

Something I will NOT miss about Ghana...
• Snot rockets & open sewers
• Being hissed at to get your attention
• Marriage proposals
• Taking wet wipe “showers”
• The unreliable power
• Fufu, Banku, light soup
• Doing my own laundry
• White bread, white rice, crackers…white everything!
• Toilets not flushing
• Sweat moustaches
• Power outages
• Rice & chicken, Fufu
• Never feeling completely clean
• Female urinals!
• Hot, sweaty, crammed, uncomfortable tro-tro rides
• Atrociously bad soap operas that are played extremely loudly on the otherwise enjoyable STC bus rides
• The heat!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project GROW

On Sunday we traveled to Bolgatanga to visit the Project GROW (Ghana Rural Opportunities for Women)village for a celebration day. Our van pulled up to about 200 women gathered around us all singing so beautifully, dancing and clapping as we arrived. It was a surreal and wonderful moment. Project Grow was started by Vida, a nurse from Ghana who did her masters thesis at UBCO.
Although some parts of Ghana are doing well, rural northeast Ghana remains far behind, with an infant mortality rate that is among the highest in the world. The leading cause continues to be poverty. The people have skills and knowledge to be self-sufficient, but in their developing world, they lack the resources. Project GROW taps into local knowledge and provides these resources. All of the initiatives have been determined by the participants. Self-determination, local knowledge and abilities, and community goal setting are the key elements of Project GROW.
It offers women micro loans to buy livestock so they have a source of income for themselves. When women have control over income it empowers them in the village. The project has taken off and it has been amazing to see how much their hard work has accomplished.  Of each goat bought, it's first baby goat is given to the next woman in the village so that she also has a chance to make a change and sustain the project. From this, the women have been able to get together and purchase a grain mill to make food, and were able to build a store house to cover the mill and stock the grain they are producing. The ability to store and produce so much more food has helped their village in incredible ways. Now the women have been able to raise enough money to build a new building. This building will house a maternal health center, a community meeting room, and an adult literacy program. As well, they were able to send a woman to a larger center to learn how to make baskets, sew, and other trades, which she could then teach other women in the village. There is a group in Salmon Arm who donated money and the women were able to buy two donkeys and a cart which will help them take their supplies to town. Our nursing grad class also had four girls who worked with the project in their third year, and for Jackie, who was on the trip with us, I think this was especially wonderful to see what they are doing. The adult literacy program will teach the women basic reading and writing skills, such as how to write their names, and basic math skills for working in town and going to the bank. It was an amazing day, and seeing these empowered women who are working so hard and have been able to do so much for their village, was heart warming and inspirational. There is a famous quote that they use here in Ghana: "If you help a man you are only helping a man, if you help a woman you are helping the village". This is what Project GROW has done.

You can read more about it on facebook:!/pages/Project-GROW/169593749760275?sk=info

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Arriving In Tamale (Rachel, Michelle, Lyndsay and Ellen)

It took us two days to travel from Enchi to Tamale and we even managed to get onto a Yutong which is like a mini bus with air conditioning and no loud Nigerian soap operas blaring in the back ground. We were honestly in heaven as soon as we arrived in Tamale. Our instructor Muriel was like “what is wrong with you guys? It’s like you’re on cloud 9″ AND IT WAS. We were so grateful that Tamale had internet, and Indian food, great pizzas, hamburgers. We didn’t even know a land like this existed in all of Ghana. There’s a few new sounds to get used to. The morning prayer from the mosques at 4 am being one. These strange pale bats that make this repetitive bomb ticking down kind of sound would be the second.  (There are an unreal amount of bats that are in the trees at all times. They are huge and wethought bats were nocturnal!) The weather felt hotter but it was dry so we weren’t in a mask of sweat 24 hours a day. The girls let us know that they left a thermometer in the sun for the day and temps reached 45 degrees. yeowzaaa! Just another factoid: We (aka Lyndsay) realized that Ghanaian time would be relative, but did not know temperature could be relative. When we were in Enchi it was at least 37 degrees out and people were dressing in winter jackets and warm sweaters. We were like “so what’s with the sweaters??” and they laughed at us and replied with some statement about it being so cold and how they were awaiting the warm season. Apparently the clinic had also been less busy during the last few weeks because people were less inclined to visit the clinics in this “freezing” weather. All the while we are sporting sweat mustaches; the least flattering of all the mustaches.
Our first night back we were reunited with groups we hadn’t seen since we left and so we celebrated like nurses do. On the dance floor. It was Anna’s birthday so we headed out to Crest which had a roof top bar. It was overwhelming, but we definitely had a good time.
We will post soon about our hospital experiences and our wonderful time at Mole National Park!

Late Entry from Our Time in Enchi (January 16th to February 2nd)- Our group (Rachel, Michelle, Lyndsay and Ellen).
We got there on a tro tro and we would probably describe it as a skeletor version of an astro van? They often pack it with 16-20 people, live stock, luggage and any other goods they can cram in. We learned from my past bus experiences that dehydration was the key to an enjoyable journey, because you may only stop once in these 6-8 hour long trips.
When we arrived into this red dusty town after a very dusty and sweaty ride, the most wonderful lady picked us up, the clinic’s midwife Philomena. She is the best. We can honestly say there are very few people as welcoming and as generous as her. She’s got this cheeky sense of humour, knew where to find the best mangos, pineapple, and avacado (which tastes almost sweet here!), says the cutest ‘so sorry’s” AND when you were having a bad day you’d completely forget about it after you had dinner with her. Everyone in the town knows Philomena, because she’s worked with the Presbyterian church to get the clinic off the ground over the last 18 years or so. She’s traveled to Germany and Canada, and when we asked her where she went in Canada guess what she said… Salmon Arm!! If that wasn’t a sign that we were meant to be in Enchi, I don’t know what is.
Enchi was great. Reasonably priced, our hotel had AC and a fridge (luxury) and the people were unlike any other. If you were ever thinking of coming to Ghana, we would recommend Enchi but only if you have the time to meet the locals because they’re what made it worth it. It’s like a 3 day treck from Accra, there aren’t many interesting tourist attractions other than the Cocoa fields and the view of the rain forest, the food lacks variety but we learned so much from this little excursion.

The clinic - For two and a half weeks we worked at the local clinic which was made by the Presbyterian church but is now financially funded by the Ghanaian government. When we were there, there was a German midwife visiting for a month from the church so they’re still very much involved. The health care system is set up similarly to Canada. It’s largely government funded and if they pay 17 Ghana Cedis their care can be fully funded by the government (wealthier people pay more, but to give you some perspective lower income jobs pay 3 cedis a day and one cedi is 60 cents Canadian.)  The clinics treat a lot of the major diseases. Malaria, respiratory tract infections, STIs, antenatal care, and births. Emergencies go to a larger hospital in Enchi. I was actually really impressed by how much they do. But of course there were sketchy things we saw – but I won’t go into details here. A lot of the first week was observation but then we learned the ropes and started IVs, gave a lot of injections, participated in 3 births (including a caesarian section at the bigger hospital), spoke up in the staff meetings, and politely questioned their practice.
Our favorite time of all though was our trips to the villages outside of Enchi. These places were RURAL. like  RURAL RURAL maybe 300 people to a village, mud and grass huts, little to no english spoken and kids who’ve never seen a brunie (or a whitie) in their lives. Community health nurses visited these villages monthly to give immunizations and weigh the babies to make sure they’re growing. Moms come because they get to meet up with other moms. It was pretty sad to see a lot of the kids were in the 60-80% percentile in terms of growth and weight and that the Ghanaian health care standards of how much a baby should weigh is lower than in Canada. But man those kids were CUTE, and it was sweet to see how much good was going on with these rural outreach trips.
Our second favorite part was probably learning the local language. It’s called twi/chi and we mostly learned it when we spent our days with the pharmacy girls. It was the best thing we could do, it made it easier to chat with our patients, shop at the market and when we said our few phrases it was like an instant joke with whoever we were talking to.

The Presbyterian School- Philomena helped us arrange a visit to the Presbyterian School in Enchi. Michelle had worked with the Aberdeen Hall Grade 3 and Grade 5 students in Kelowna in her Political Action Project earlier in the year. They had donated packages with items like toothbrushes, soaps, combs and toys for the children in Ghana. They had also created brochures about themselves, and included a world map to give to the school. We had brought these items as well as Canadian souvenirs and visited each class in the school. The students ranged from age 5 to 20 years of age. It was a very exciting and fun day meeting with the students and teachers. We were exhausted afterwards, but it such a wonderful experience and rewarding to see how excited they were to meet us!

The Food – We tried many local dishes including banku and fufu which are like a spicy tomatoey soups with this uncooked dough made out of corn meal and casava root. You dip the dough in the soup and eat it. There’s usually fish or grass cutter thrown in there for protein. Grass cutter was like this beaver/rat animal. We couldn’t eat it after we went to the grass cutter farm because it weirded us out too much but at the time it tasted kinda like pot roast. Red Red was a dish we actually quite liked. It was fried plantain (a starchy version of a banana) and spicey tomatoey beans. Otherwise we were really glad we were told to bring ichiban, oatmeal, and protein bars. The guide book couldn’t be more spot on when it described Ghanaian cuisine as ‘something to be tried, but rarely missed by travelers’.

The Church - Almost every single person would inevitably ask “Are you married? do you go to church every sunday?” We went to church twice during our stay and that was quite the experience! The sermon vasilated back and fourth between the local language and english but the rest of the service was in Twi/Chi. Our favorite part of it was the dancing. Ghanaians get down! In many ways it would rival a dubstep concert, and it was probably the loudest experience of my life (they popped us right beside the speakers, and the services we went to were 3 hours long and we were told that we were leaving early!!).

So all in all we wouldn’t have traded Enchi for anything. We met amazing people, were treated so well, learned so much.

Life in Tamale

The first week in Tamale passed in a flash. Many of us had the opportunity to try working in wards we had never tried before; Emergency, NICU, Labour and Delivery and Paediatric Emergency. A couple of us were truly amazed to see the babies being born in the labour and delivery ward. It's an incredible feeling to witness such a magical and precious moment in a persons' life.

A few of our group members were also able to bring about change in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) as they had additional training which allowed them to relay further knowledge to the ward. Babies who were once dehydrated plumped up, and the reasons why we are in Ghana became tangible once again.

Alongside the clinical experiences, we were able to travel to Mole national park and bask in the beauty of the surrounding area. Baboons paraded around the restaurant, and elephants were in full view at the watering hole down the canyon from the mole motel. A jeep tour took us through the natural splendors of the forest. The next day, a morning walking tour brought us up close and personal with elephants, antelope, monkeys, and the like. The rocky tro tro ride on the dirt road back to Tamale was exhausting, however the
comedic baboon thief who stole bread from a truck in the mole motel's parking lot kept a smirk on our faces.

We have begun another week and are starting to feel the time slipping away. Only one more week and we will begin traveling once more.

It has been an incredible journey thus far, and things are not over just yet.

Amy D., Amy W., Darlene, Jennifer, Brittney

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nurses Guide to Ghana: The Do's and Don'ts and facts for survival

Alanna G, Alanna B, Emma, Ingrid and I (Kim) are having a great time in Kaleo working at the Kaleo Health Clinic. We have helped deliver a baby boy in the middle of the night, diagnosed patients, and got to buy the clinic a nebulizer, examination table and sterilizer with the money we raised at the International Gala! We are loving our time here and it feels like home! This past weekend we went to the Hippo reserve where we biked 18 km into the reserve in the sand, saw hippos and slept under the stars in a tree fort! We've learned a lot over the past 5 weeks we have been gone! Here's some wisdom from us that we have sometimes learned the hard way!

- Do get your wisdom teeth removed before you get to Africa, unless you want to get them removed in the back of an RV
- Dont think you'll get anything stronger than Advil after your dental surgery
- Don't think you are tanned before you shower - its probably mostly dirt!
- Don't think that biking 18 km on Ghanaian roads is going to be as easy as 18 km in Canada
- Do try the street food - dough balls, egg sandwiches, guinea fowl, red red, plantains, and all the amazing fruit!
- Don't ask whats in your food
- Do expect that outside the washrooms might be nicer than inside
- You know you are in Africa when; you suddenly love canned food (beans and fruit cocktails), when all you can see in the dark are sometimes peoples smiles, rice and beans are a favorite meal, and there are as many goats as there are people
-  Don't expect vans (tro-tro's) to have a maximum capacity, there's always more room on the roof or someones lap!
- Do expect to share the tro-tro with one or more goats backed on the roof or in the trunk baa-ing in your ear the entire trip
- Don't expect your tro-tro to make it anywhere on time, or in one piece
- Do keep your scrubs and gloves next to your bed in case there are births during the night!
- Don't expect the dirt and dust to come out
- Don't forget to introduce yourself to EVERYONE on the ward when you come to work
- Don't projectile vomit on the street
- Do bring a headlamp for hands free, night births and suturing
- Do expect everyone to have a cell phone, even if they live in a hut in a small village and aren't wearing shoes
- Do say yes to all invitations - you never know when you will be invited to watch a football match, a Muslim wedding, your professor being kinged by a village, play ultimate frisbee with Engineers Without Borders, or a good-bye party for Canadian chiropractors
- Do try the local dishes: banku, fufu, and red red!
- Do bring headbands - it hides the fact that you haven't showered this week
- Don't be offended when people hiss at you - its how people get others attention
- Don't expect traffic to stop for you. ever.
- Do play soccer with the local kids
- Don't expect to win. Even if you challenge 7 year olds who aren't wearing shoes
- Do expect to find a use for everything - even garbage. Water bags make good hats, coats, and soccer balls
- Do expect baboons to chase you if you have food
- Don't expect to have power or water all the time, Do fill up your bucket the night before just in case
- Do go dancing with the locals and do bring your professor!
- Do make friends with the Cuban Dr's, you will learn Spanish, Dagbani, and get to diagnose your own patients
- Do expect everyone's stories to break your heart
- Do expect to nurse in sandles
- Do expect everyone to be in the hospital because of Malaria or motor vehicle accidents (scooters mostly)
- Don't expect to always have a Dr around
- Do expect to drink 3L of water a day
- Do expect to learn a lot about the culture, nursing and yourself
- Do expect everyone you meet to want to become a nurse
- Do expect to meet the most heart warming and amazing people. Sister Edith has devoted her life to the clinic we are working at and is so kind and loves to joke around with us. Dr Abdulai received the Martin Luther King award this year for his work and we were so fortunate to go to both his clinics to work for a day. He helps people in villages for free, the only condition is they work together to care for each other and must build a hut on his property for their village people to stay in with their families while they are being treated. We also were able to bring seeds from a previous student so Dr Abdulai could continue to grow his garden that helps feed people living on the street with Mental health issues. Google him if you have time, he is the most compassionate and upbeat man. We were so lucky to have gone and worked with him!

Heres a news report about Dr. Abdulai:

We will finish off our week in Kaleo, it has been the best experience so far, and are heading to Bolgatanga for the Project Grow celebration!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two weeks in Kaleo

Our group (Amy D., Amy W., Jennifer, Darlene, and Brittney) went to Kaleo located in the upper North-West region of Ghana. It was here that we were able to experience village life in Ghana to the fullest. Upon arrival, we met Titus the clinic driver, and sister Edith the main nurse and midwife. She let us help within the Kaleo health center clinic, whose main focus is on safe labour and delivery, and antenatal care. We quickly learned what an amazing person sister Edith truly is. When asked how many babies she has delivered in her career, she couldn't answer. She eventually estimated about one a day for the past 25 years. This is in part becuase she works at all hours of the day and night. She is one of the driving forces in a village who has become a shining example of how to decrease infant and maternal mortality rates with basic health care access and awareness. We also met brother John Boscoe, the mastermind behind the Kaleo clinic, and the main organizer of many health care programs within this region.

We were fortunate enought to witness and help sister Edith deliver two babies. They were amazing experiences, ones which we will not soon forget. We also gave school health talks to the local elementaries and high schools. Each school laughed at the sound of our Canadian accents! We were careful to speak in slow pronunciated dialogue so that our points could be clearly made. However, each school had a teacher who was brilliant at translating our points when necessary. The children came up with great questions, and many came up to us afterwards for further enquiries.

Up North a bit from Kaleo is a bigger city center called Jirapa. We worked in the hospital there in the pediatric, and maternity wards. We witnessed many interesting things here, but it was the friendliness of the people that caught our attention. Some of us were able to give many babies their first bath on the maternity ward. We taught the students on the ward how to do it; the staff in turn, taught us how to bundle the babies in the blankets giving them a hood on top. On the pediatric ward we were able to hand out stickers and brighten up some of the kids' days. However, some of the children were scared of us strange foreigners and cried instead.

The wonderful part of Kaleo was the sense of community and togetherness. The kids stopped by our compound regularily to play a game of soccer. It was a big event because we would pick up more wandering children as we walked to the field to play. They would lumber onto our backs, hold our hands, and outrun us around the field when it came to playing soccer. They were absolutely adorable, and truly humbling to meet.

The nurses at the clinic were all lovely and including of all of us. One night a few of the women made fufu and groundnut soup for us! Fufu is a yam that is pounded until the consistency of a dough. Groundnut soup is a peanut soup with a bit of spice, and usually made with chicken. The food was amazing, and the company of the whole clinic made this night a memorable one.

The very last day was spent in the company of women from around the Kaleo region in the "mother to mother celebration." It was a celebration of motherhood and the support they provide for each other in keeping their children healthy. This is the opportunity for mothers to promote the health of their families and the knowledge they can share among each other. Skits were included in the gathering as well as many dances, which we joined! The women from the clinic were there, and we all danced together in celebration of the last two weeks. It was a lovely day and a lovely way to say goodbye to the community at large.

I think we all miss Kaleo, but we are now in Tamale and looking forward to the experiences ahead.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hi everyone back at home! We are not even sure where to begin with our blog post, so many eye-opening experiences have occurred on this trip already. Every day has been a new learning experience, we are constantly fascinated/amazed/sometimes disturbed by the things around us. Tamale is an interesting city, we have been exposed to the busyness of the city with the roadside vendors, market places and high traffic flow. Just a 15 min drive away is the village (Chanshegu) that we have had the pleasure of visiting a couple times now, so we have had a taste of the rural side of the city as well. Visiting the village is always enjoyable with the friendly greetings of the village people and little ones. Our group (Jas, Laura, Jackie & Anna) made a visit to the village on Friday, a day devoted especially to the orphans. Laura had brought along soccer jerseys to give to the children, which they were absolutely thrilled about. Looking fresh in their new jerseys we played football (soccer) in the hot hot heat! We were laughing at ourselves because these kids ran laps around us no problem and didn't seem fazed by the hot air and dust, meanwhile we were sluggishly running around and dying for a drink of water and couldn't wait to get our butts to the shade! For the weekend get-away, we travelled 3 hrs away from Tamale to Kintempo Falls. The falls themselves were absolutely beautiful, standing at the base of the falls looking up at the water falling down in front of us is an image we will never forget. The surrounding lush vegetation made the area an almost magical place. Although, we found it pretty funny and a bit uncomfortable when we went from being the tourists to being the tourist attraction for a Ghanain senior highschool class, they were quite excited to get their photo taken with us. On our way home, we stopped to get the famous dough balls that most of us are obsessed with. These dough balls are a sweet dough with a crisp deep fried outside and sitting in the hot sun they always taste freshly baked. Dipped with nutella, you feel like your on cloud nine haha. Our weekend finished off in Tamale where we played Ultimate Frisbee with about 25 people who meet every Sunday. They come from all walks of life, most working for NGOs/ researchers/ engineers without borders/ and the list goes on. Being able to play a sport out here felt good and by the end of it we were covered in black dust- head to toe. Meeting such a diverse group of individuals, we thought that it was really neat that all these people are here to make a postive difference. This further opened our eyes to the abundant opportunity that lies in this world. Looking at Ghana, we often take time to reflect on what's around us. It's hard to describe in words what makes the country beautiful, but around us are people who are strong physically and mentally and never give up. They do the best with what they have in the constant face of hardship. It's amazing to see such a vast, diverse culture that is so different from home. Being here has expanded our minds in so many ways and has helped us to further appreciate the life we already live.
That's it for now...sending everyone back home in Canada warm (+ 40 degrees) wishes from Tamale!
Jasbir & Anna xo

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clean Water for Ghana

In our first semester of this year each student was required to do a political action project. Natasha, Stephany (who are not on this trip with us unfortunately), Jackie and myself did "Clean Water for Ghana." Our project came about when last year's students were visiting and asked the Chief of Chanshegu Village how they could help. This village has many orphans who they have all gathered together to care for and he asked for something to help the orphans. They then went to the orphans and women who have been caring for them and they asked if they could get clean water. On the 25th of January this village got filters to provide them with clean water. The water that they were drinking and using before came from a dugout dam, that was shared with the animals and for bathing, and was dirtier than the water after we have washed our clothes. It is filled with a variety of different parasites and bacteria and many of them die from Cholera throughout the year.
We had made two trips out to Chanshegu, which is located just outside central Tamale. The first was with the founder of Pure Home Water, the company where we bought the filters from, to drop off the 40 Kosim filters. Kosim in the local dialect means "good water." Pure Home Wwater is a local company based right in Tamale and hires women from the surrounding villages to make the clay they then use to fire into filters. The women are tuaght the perfect amount of sand and rice husk to mix in with the clay to ensure they will clean the water. Our second visit was on the 25th with our professor Muriel, Jackie, myself and our translator Sinbad. We went out to distribute and teach the women how to assemble, clean and use the filters, which was proven to be a challenge since neither spoke the other's language. The Chief was very persistant that the women who have cared for the 33 orphangs got filters first and then the widows. By giving the filters to the women (and not the men) it ensures that the women and children, as well as the men, get access to this safe water.
It was a good feeling to know that all the effort we put in to our project is actually going to make significant improvement in the lives of many. As simple and small as our project seems, it put huge smiles on the faces of the women and children. As an acknowledgement for all the work the nursing students and our professor have done in the past the Chief is making Muriel a King of the village. Which is a pretty big deal over here, huge ceremonies, sacrificing of animals, chewing of a local tradition called colanut (not sure how to spell it?). It is all very exciting and time consuming, but will be worth it in the end!

-Alanna Grose

Sunday, January 22, 2012


We made it to Tamale! Ellen, Rachel, Lyndsay and Michelle all headed off to Enchi and Amy D, Amy W, Brittney, Darlene, and Jen headed up to Kaleo after a few days of touring Tamale. We've done so much in the past 2 weeks, it's flying by! After waking up at 3 am for a long bus ride to Tamale, we finally got to our guest house. We spent our first day visiting two villages nearby, where the women make shea butter and spin wool. We got to see how they live in the villages and the children led us around their village. Each of us had two, if not three or more, kids hanging off our arms! They were so excited when we brought out bubbles and stickers. There were so many cute kids with Canadian stickers stuck all the way up their arms and on their foreheads. The women were very welcoming, and in one of the villages they performed a traditional dance for us.
The next day we headed to Sinbad's village where we played with even more kids! Alanna and Jackie, with several other girls in Kelowna, did a project this year where they organized buying water filters to help the village. When the village dam has water, it is dirty and is making the children sick. Alanna & Jackie are also gathering information to try and get water piped in to the village. Tomorrow we are going back there to drop off the filters, which we are all so excited to do! Sinbad is part of a cultural group which performs amazing dances - with so much energy! They got all of the girls (including Muriel) up to dance! Don't worry - I got video of everyone!
Next we started in the Tamale Hospital. They work 6 hour shifts, so we get up at 7, and go get breakfast from the egg lady outside our guest house. She makes these incredible scrambled egg sandwiches which I'm going to miss when we leave!
This weekend our group of 10 girls headed off to Mole National Park to go on a safari! We had amazing luck, and one elephant walked right in front of our jeep!  We were so close! It was beautiful and just what all of us were hoping to see! Other than that we saw enough antelope and warthogs to fill an album with,  and at the pool where we were lounging, baboons came up and ran over a bunch of tables to steal a girl's drink at breakfast! Two baboons came charging at me when I was cutting a pineapple outside! The fruit here is amazing!
All of us are having a great time! Off to do another week of clinical at the hospital and drop off filters at the village! Sending lots of love back to everyone at home! Everyone here says Hi!
- Kim Barlow

Laura holding a baby at the shea butter village

Saturday, January 14, 2012

From Accra to Cape Coast

Hi Everyone! We flew into Accra a few days ago and it feels like 2 weeks ago at this point. We're a bit jet lagged, and people who usually like to sleep until noon are getting up at 4 am so you can tell we are a bit out of sorts. Accra was a bustling city, and I think it was a good way to get our feet wet in Ghana. A few of our western amenities were still here and we got a good understanding of the things we'll have to stock up on before we go rural. The people have been really nice and welcoming and it was nice to spend a few days all together as a group before we head our separate ways. Some people we might not see until the end of the trip because of how we are set up in the villages. After Accra we took a bus trip to Cape Coast. We were stuck in traffic for 2 hours before we even left the city but this was a good wake up call for what we need in future bus trips in case we get stuck again. After we got in, we decided we'd like to spend an extra day here at Cape Coast. It's lush, and a lot cooler than Accra (and there is a pool at our hotel!) There are also crocodiles and fun birds and a live band. We had an amazing day today. We started off getting our favorite taxi driver, he played fantastic music and it just started the day with good vibes. We started off at the rain forest and it was nice because it was cool under all those tall trees. The rain forest has a canopy walk where you walk at the crown of the trees on these suspension bridges. I’m not scared of heights generally but I was terrified (especially after that bungee jumping incident in Zambia… google it!). It was wobbly but had a view like I’ve never seen so totally worth it!!! Pictures to come… After that we had lunch on the ocean and then visited the slave castle. It was scary, sad, suffocating and beautiful,  Tonight is Muriel's Birthday, so I better take off and celebrate it! -Lyndsay

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Preparing for 2012!

This year's nursing student group is almost ready to head out to Ghana. We look forward to great adventures and learning!