Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kumasi to Tamale


It's been a short 12 days since leaving Canada. Life in Ghana has had its challenges but We think it's safe to say that we are all adjusting quite well. In our first week in Ghana we spent every two days traveling from city to city. On March 16 Our group packed a Tro Tro with windows rolled down and baggage packed to the roof headed towards Kumasi.  We traveled north-west for 4 hours into the town of Kumasi where we stayed in a Presbyterian church guest house. Just outside the gated area was the perpetual reality of heat and dedication. We have notice that the same people are at their vendors on every day of the week. Some people here explain that after working Monday to Sunday for a couple weeks straight they might consider taking one afternoon to sleep because of exhaustion. Could you imagine working so hard?

After we settled into the guest house, we set off to find some food. While walking to the local restaurant The clear sky's turned dark and the clouds rolled towards us. We expected a down poor of rain to cool our bodies from the intense African heat but were only entertained by large bolts of lightning. Our next adventure in Kumasi took us to the cultural centre where we could find a variety of different items to buy for ourselves or maybe even a couple special people back home :)

Before we could even blink an eye it felt like we were loading another bus up; on the road to Tamale. Kumasi faded out leaving behind Palm trees and dense humidity. Driving to Tamale, grass huts and the country side became obviously apparent as we made our way North. After 6 hours in the bus, we arrived safely to the Catholic guest house where we would call home for the next 2.5 weeks. The temperature here reached a staggering 40 degrees on our first day as if Mother Nature was welcoming us with a tease.

It was on March 19 when our group had the privilege to go into the Chenshagu village. Our professor Muriel Kranabetter has been designated King here. All who resided in the village came to see us including the traditional drummers, dancers, elders, children and parents of the village. Driving through the rough red sand and into the village we were greeted with enthusiastic, bright-eyed faces. Children from all over the village came to greet us and would yell from the top of their lungs about our arrival. One-by-one our group of girls piled out of the bus and into the hands of the children. Every girl in our group had 10 little hands holding each of our fingers. Although we weren't able to hold each hand in the village, our hearts poured out love and kindness with the smiles, songs and games we shared. Even though there may be language barriers, we've learned that every culture shares a common ground for love and compassion.

At a quick glance you can see that the struggles are more pronounced for those living in the village. Many of us girls witnessed the harsh reality of how people treat themselves without access to health care as some children and adults would fill their gaping wounds with the dry soil to keep flies and other bugs out of their sores. Defying the odds, the children remained lively while traditional dancers and drummers followed behind us and performed in the +40 degree weather. We shared in the celebration when the dancers strongly encouraged each and everyone of us girls to dance and shake what booties we have. All people in the village were embarrassed for us, as evidenced by their intense laughter and cheers. Unfortunately, we all have incriminating footage of us attempting cultural dances.

After we got our fill of cultural dancing, we loaded the bus to head back home (catholic guest house). Muriel had finally gotten in contact with the nursing director at the Tamale Teaching Hospital where we would begin the last clinical practicum in this program.

The next 2.5 weeks will be filled with adventure and heartache as we gain insight into the developing healthcare practices in Ghana.

P.s. Photos to come when we have better internet connection. Sorry about that.

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