Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 3 in Africa:

We arrived in Cape Coast this morning! Considering the chaos at the bus station, the fact that all 15 of us and our luggage made it is miracle! We got off our bus and were greeted by friendly taxi drivers who remembered the nursing students from last year. We arrived at the beautiful Hans Cottage Botel! Yes Botel. This afternoon we had a glorious swim so we are all refreshed and loving life. We also got connected to some quality WiFi so we enjoyed connecting with families and friends again. We are all sharing one big dorm room tonight. We had more people than beds in our last hotel, so a single bed per person will be wonderful. The Hans Botel also happens to be a crocodile farm, so we’ve already had fun watching the crocodiles and naming them. Some of us are hoping to get a chance to pet them, some of us are not so excited about the prospect. Our last two days were spent in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Two days were full  of sightseeing and new experiences like driving in some of the sketchiest transportation on the scariest roads ever seen in Tro-Tro’s  (basically a hollowed out van packed with as many people as possible like a can of sardines), eating delicious freshly chopped mangos and pineapples from the side of the road, being constantly sweaty and sticky 24/7, taking showers with an intermittent water supply, using some of the most creative “bathrooms” we have ever used,  dodging marriage proposals like never before (“I love white women! You are so beautiful”), learning how to eat beside open sewers, receiving legitimate hissing cat calls (we’ve learned that being hissed at is only a way of getting one’s attention in Ghana), witnessing an enormous tire fire that seems to concern no one but us, making friends which a school full of enthusiastic and beautiful children, and getting some the whitest and brightest smiles we have ever seen. Also, we’ve had a lot of good conversations with the locals considering there is no way a group of 15 white women walking around Ghana cannot draw a TON of attention.  And so many more new experiences! Basically we’ve had a lot of TIA (This Is Africa) moments.

                Yesterday we had an afternoon that would leave us all dumbfounded and lost for words. Throughout our first few days here, we have all been very surprised by how unbelievably well dressed and clean the Ghanaian people are when they live in homes/shanties that would be inexcusable as a home in Canada. We have constantly been hopping over open sewers on the sides of the street which at first was shocking but now we are starting to get used to them... (if that’s really possible). Many of the working people in Ghana live in conditions that we can’t even fathom. Yesterday afternoon, we were taken down to the slums in Accra where hundreds of thousands of people live that have no job and no money. We all were shocked at what we saw for the few hours we were down there. No amount of reading books could have prepared us for what we saw for ourselves. Crowded living conditions, people living among overflowing raw sewage, children running around with no clothes on, playing in the dirt that was difficult to distinguish between sewage, stray animals everywhere, lots of overwhelming smells and stares, piles of garbage and tires burning everywhere, people picking through the garbage in the garbage dump and through the sewage canal for things to salvage. Very hungry children and families. People attempting to funnel crude oil into large barrels – the ground was saturated with oil, the people funneling it were covered head to toe in oil, people and children were walking through it with no shoes on. Children were playing on the ground among garbage and dirty soil. There really are no words to describe what we saw down there for the hours we spent there. It is something that is very difficult to process and we all have been trying to do that in our own ways. It was very important to see.
                Note to Christy’s family: She’s almost fallen in the sewer numerous times and has required rescuing. You are eternally indebted to us J.

Overall our experience has been filled with laughter with the Ghanian people and rapidly growing love for this country and each other. We are heading off on some more adventures this afternoon. Sending  love to everyone that we left back home! Talk to you soon.


2014 Ghana Gals 


  1. Dear Muriel & Students,

    It is great to read your first impressions of Ghana and move through this journey with you via your words and images. And as you now know, as UBC Okanagan nursing students, you are important ambassadors for our community, our university, and our nursing profession. Wherever you go over the next several weeks, you carry a part of us with you and we will watch and learn through your eyes and your posts. I know you will do us proud, as global citizens and as soon to be graduate nurses.

    I have put on my Ghana and Zambia bracelets and shall keep them on until you are all back with us safe, sound, and inevitably transformed by your experiences.Take care of each other - and keep us posted back home.

    Patricia Marck
    Professor & Director, School of Nursing

  2. Hey 2014 Ghana Gals!

    So great to be able to follow your adventures from a far! The descriptions bring back instant memories of the complete chaos we felt upon arrival in the hustle of Accra.

    I'm sure I speak for all the 2013 GG's when I say enjoy the experience, eat as much mango as possible, be ok with not being ok at times, lean on your fellow nurses (you need them more then you'll ever know!!) and find dough balls ASAP!

    :) Robyn

    Ps. Hi Mama M, Megan and Sinbad!