Ghana Team Journal

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

Team Photo - Students Only

by Namrita

Today was an excellent day. We all assumed our regular duties as we knew it was to be one of last days of volunteering. Chris and I went to the New Senchi Ferry clinic. We saw a few patients and then had several hours of downtime. We decided to take matters into our own hands and we took the tro-tro to the Akosombo market and internet café.

After the market, we joined the others for lunch. Lunch was delicious and filling, as usual. Next, Christopher, Amy and Cris and I went to the Volta River while the others went back to the market. The river was amazing, it was my first time rowing and I was excellent. Everyone was so impressed, they were taking notes. NOT.

After our time at the relaxing river, we headed back to dinner. We discussed our plans for a soccer match the next day that many of us are really looking forward to. We finished up the night with a game of Rummy and some reflection on one of our best days in Senchi.

“Don’t speak for others.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

by Cris

It was another great day in Ghana. After the usual breakfast, most of the volunteers headed to what was said to be the final day of the construction of the new preschool. Meanwhile, there were medical students contributing at all three clinics today. After our favorite lunch (Peanut soup with rice balls), Amy, Namrita, Chris and I delivered thank you notes to the district’s C. E. He talked all about his position and about the village and we really enjoyed our visit. Most of the others went to the river where they rowed down the Volta on rented boats. After dinner, it was a pretty lazy evening with games of Rummy, books, and movies passing the time until everyone went to sleep.

In other news, today, Barack Obama won the Democratic Presidential Nomination, and Hillary Clinton has yet to concede.

“If you teach a man to hate and fear his brother; that he is less of a man because of the color of his skin or the policies he pursues, then you teach him to face others not as fellow citizens, but as enemies. We must learn that this world can neither be ennobled nor enriched by hatred and violence” Robert F. Kennedy

Team Photo

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

by Ida

As our final week comes to an end, there’s an unspoken feeling within many of us to truly cherish and appreciate our last days in Ghana. Jaylee, who usually spends her days teaching Kindergarten at the Catholic school, wanted to experience helping out in a clinic for a day, so she shadowed Namrita during what was one of the busiest days at the clinic.

At the Senchi-Ferry clinic, Kim, Maryal, Caitlin and Jen volunteered to stay to assist Madam Grace in a natural birth! Based on their accounts and my own imagination, I can confidently say it is a truly incredible experience. As first year medical students, they felt very fortunate to have experienced such an important procedure.

The rest of the afternoon was spent mostly indoors due to some scattered showers, but that didn’t stop any of us from having fun! A few of us caught up on reading and writing, while other put newly bought nail polish to good use.

After a few us of us returned from a nice walk through Senchi Ferry to visit the seamstress again, we all spent the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying our last Tuesday night together in Ghana.

“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

by Tam
The dreaded Monday has finally arrived. Colin and Eric are heading up the Volta River on their ferry ride while we all get back to work. The four of us, Kim, Amy, Chris and I, headed off to Senchi Ferry at 8:45 in the morning and started our day at the clinic. We headed straight into the exam room and looked at patients for the next three hours. At 12:15, we decided to head back to the guest house for lunch, but Madame Grace asked for our assistance and we stayed at the clinic for a few hours longer. We were even given four pineapples for our hard work!

After finishing lunch, Maryal, Kim, Jen, Caitlin and Richard left for the Akosombo Hydro-Electric Dam while Amy, Namrita, Tara, Jaylee, and Ida left for the Akosombo market. Chris and Cris were fast asleep when I left with Monica to get a shirt made for my younger brother by a local seamstress.

I then took the trow-trow, a local transportation service, to find stamps to send mail to my friend back at home. Then I walked to the bridge and took pictures of the river and two cool Ghanians who knew my name! It was fun! I then walked down the street to browse through the various stores along the way to the guest house.

On my way, I passed by a fabric shop and bought even more yards of great fabric! After purchasing the fabric, and giving up on my search for stamps, I went home on the trow-trow. I ended the afternoon by lying on the couch and reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

As dinnertime came, everyone returned from their excursions and we all ate another delicious meal together! We all separated after dinner, some going to watch a movie, read a book, while others, like me, have to write a journal entry.

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

by Kimberly

The month of June began today with out group’s first free day which everyone made sure to take advantage of. With a late breakfast starting at nine, we were all able to get some extra sleep. That is, with the exception of Maryal who managed to get up at 6 to join the community jogging club for a short run. After breakfast, the group split up so that everyone could do their own thing. One group hiked down the main road of Senchi Ferry, which continued past the last houses and ended at the Volta River. It was a hot walk but the view was worth it. Another group headed down to the river to play volleyball and relax, and others stayed in bed even longer.

After a delicious lunch of peanut soup, the group reconvened to walk to the river for an afternoon of fun. It was beautiful day for hanging out at Sajuna Beach Resort. We relaxed in the splash pool, played ping-pong, and foosball, ate strange looking popsicles, and it wasn’t long before a game of volleyball started up.

One game led to more games, and with some talented volleyball players on both sides it was dusk before we knew it. We made the trek back to St.James and enjoyed a new dish for supper. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and getting ready for another busy day. Today was a great opportunity for everyone to take a breather and also to bond one last time as a group before we lost two more teammates on Monday. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!

“Two paths diverged in a wood, I took the one less traveled and that has made all the difference” Robert Frost

Saturday May 31, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

by Caitlin

Today started with breakfast at 7am followed by a van ride to Accra. Today two of us left and everyone was sad to see them g. In Accra our group split with some going to the mall and some going to see the teaching hospital. In Accra we went to the Art Center where various vendors sold objects curved of wood, jewelry and paintings and clothes. They were very aggressive and would often try to stroke our hands or touch us. We then went to Frankie’s Hotel to eat a westernized lunch, buy some pastries and get ice cream. After this we went to the mall to meet up with the other group. At the mall we stocked up on a few grocery items before we all headed back to St. James. After dinner some people went to a disco while some of stayed in and played cards.

“Any good that I may do let me do it now for I will not pass this way again”

Friday May 30, 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

by Richard

Today drew to a close the last volunteer day of the second week we have in Ghana. We will be saying farewell to several of our teammates this weekend but will forever hold our memories together close to our heart.

The day started at 7:00 with a great breakfast and the excitement of what was sure to be a great day of volunteering and sport. By 8:00 the teachers had headed off to their respective classes while the rest of the group took a break from assisting in the clinics to lend some helping hands at the construction site.

The construction of the new school school had progressed quite impressively from where it was when we arrived a couple weeks ago. With about a dozen volunteers working we made another sizeable dent in the pile of blocks and could appreciate the buildings beginning to take shape.

By noon the construction workers and teachers conversed on the futbol field to take on one of the local school teams. A huge turnout of younger school children were on hand to watch the match and cheer us all on. While our team came up short in goals we put up a valiant effort and had a lot of fun entertaining the crowd!

We retreated to the comforts of the guest house just in time for a festive lunch of red red, fried plantains, and plenty of cold water. At 3:00 part of the group headed back to Senchi Ferry to visit the homes of some school children while the rest of the group was in the middle of an extended nap or otherwise recouperating from the long day outdoors. We were all back together at 7:00 for one last dinner. Afterwards, we gathered together in the commons and viewed a beautiful slide show summary of the previous two weeks followed by free-time and relaxation.

“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just” Abraham Lincoln

Thursday May 29, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

by Cris

It was another great day in Ghana. The heavy rains from last night made today cooler than usual. After breakfast, the medical team split up. The group at Senchi Clinic screened the blood pressure of upwards of 200 patients. At the Senchi Ferry Clinic, the goug-goug didn’t begin until 10 AM so we were able to see Madame Grace in action.

We screened 50 patients for blood pressure. The afternoon was spent at the river. Four people went rowing and the rest of played volleyball. I’m pretty sure the Med students are the reigning champs. Finally we got jello at dinner, which was an awesome treat.

“What is to give light must endure burning” Viktor Frank.

Wednesday May 28 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

by Jennifer

The day started early for three of the medical students with the promise of a digit excision surgery. Unfortunately the patient never showed up. For the rest of the group, it was another day of rewarding volunteer work. The medical students went to the three clinics and did a range of activities from home visits, to school screenings, to diagnosing cases at Senchi Ferry. The teachers and construction workers did another hard days work on the new preschool. Luckily, today was cooler with the cloud cover, which hopefully helped them progress further on the project.

The afternoon began with another delicious meal of yams and beef stew which appears to be everyone’s favorite. After lunch we were invited to meet the District Mayor at his office neat the Atimpoku bridge. His role seems to be similar to a governors in the US and we were lucky to get the chance to meet him. We got a chance to learn more about the history of the people in this region as well the progress the community has already made and plans to make rise our of the poverty left behind when the terries were stopped due to the constructions of the Atimpotiu Bridge.

The day ended with more relaxing back at St. James and another wonderful dinner that included fried chicken, french fries, and salad.

“We are one man, one destiny” District Mayor

Tuesday May 27, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

by Caitlin

After an exciting and fun filled three day weekend it was time to get back to work. Many of us helped in cojavascript:void(0)
Publish Postnstruction to get more work done on the developing school building, while the medical students all went to the separate clinics and continued serving the Senchi Ferry and surrounding communities. Some of the medical students held a health screening at one of the Senchi Ferry High schools, as well as spoke about HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and personal hygiene.

In the afternoon all of got to watch the cooks put on a food demonstration. They prepared a Ghanian favorite, fufu. It was interesting to watch the cooks prepare our meal without the appliances we have become accustomed to in the States. The rest of the afternoon was lazy and enjoyable and all of us are looking forwards to the rest of time we have in Ghana

“Be the change you want to see in the world” Ghandi.

Monday May 26, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

by Amy

Today we finally got to sleep in a little bit…and by sleep in I mean breakfast was at eight. After breakfast we packed into a van and made the two hour trek to the waterfall. The walk to the waterfall was a path through the woods and contained many wooden bridges. When we finally got to the waterfall, the party began. After a few people jumped in the water, most of us followed. It was an amazing experience and definitely a favorite moment of the trip thus far.

After the walk back down there was shopping and lunch in the village there. We then piled back in to the vans and Namrita wisened up and sat in the front of the van and we all drove to the monkey sanctuary. There many of us were able to feed the few monkeys we saw with bananas. After the drive home, we ate dinner and crashed.

“I like your shirt”

Sunday May 25, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

by Jaylee

Today was yet another exciting day in Ghana. After a late night with our friends from the pool, we said goodbye and headed to the Canopy Walk.

The bridges were about 40 meters high and we could see the tops of trees. Everyone loved the view but I only saw the back of Amy’s head since I was so terrified. A few of us ate at the Rainforest Café. The rest of the group went on a nature walk and admired different types of trees.

The ride home was really smooth and relaxing and there was not one single pot hole. NOT! But we did get home safe and sound in time for yet another delicious meal from Monica.

“Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around”

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008

by Namrita

Today was a very exciting and fun-filled day. We took a break from teaching, construction, and working in the clinic to travel to Cape Coast. Our drive there took about four hours. As we approached our hotel we drove to the city of El Mina, which was beautiful. The view of the beaches and ocean was amazing and palm trees lined both sides of the road. Our hotel was just as nice; we had a wonderful view of the pool and bar as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

After checking into the hotel we went to lunch at the Coconut Grove Resort. Our lunch was served to us in a Gazebo located just a few meters from the beach. After we ordered drinks, we frolicked on the beaches and took lots of pictures of our beautiful selves!

Once we ate lunch we went to one of the biggest slave castles. This was a castle owned by European Settlers where slaves were held until they were shipped to the west. It was a very beautiful castle with a very sad history.

After visiting the castle we drove through the city to get cash. Next we went back to the hotel and made some new friends at the swimming pool in the hotel.

“Happiness is a by product of living a good life.”

Friday, May 23, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

by Jordan

An early wake-up call and three delicious meals later, our sixth day in Ghana has come to an end. While the Creighton medical students have paired off to maximize the number of people they can treat, and Colin and Eric have begun a large scale construction project, the rest have remained with their classroom assignments. Fortunately, the work we do continues to fulfill us and sustain us through the heat and humidity.

Returning to St. James after the long morning’s work, a handful of us returned to Sajuna Beach Club. We played volleyball and my team crushed the Blue Jays and Alyssa - when losers write history they become winners - swam in both the splash pool, sunbathed on the trampoline and played soccer. And before we knew it, the sun had begun to set, beckoning us home.

Finally, we celebrated our respective success with a delicious dinner. Tomorrow, we are traveling to Cape Coast to see the slave castles and do the canopy walk. I am certain it will be a picturesque location and a memorable weekend trip.

“You can stand under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh…”- Rihanna

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

by Colin

Today was my last day in the classroom. I am sad to be done in the school but I am also very anxious to start help building the new preschool. As a group we went to a nearby market and looked around at all the cool stuff. We also stopped at The Adomi Bridge and looked out at the beautiful view along the Volta River. At lunch today we all tasted palmwine and by the taste of it, it seems like things might get a little rowdy if we drink one too many glasses. In the end, this first week has been a great experience and I’m excited for the week to come.

“Life’s a garden. Dig it!”

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

by Eric

Today I taught English Composition to the students at the Methodist school in Senchi Ferry. Their eagerness and intelligence in the classroom is impressive. During recess I sat on the steps of the unfinished chapel and talked to the students who of course called me “obroni” and taught me new words in Twi. Today on the walk back from the school I tried some of Ghana “Fanmilk”- their ice cream- it was pretty tasty. We visited the Volta Hotel and stayed all evening looking out at its amazing views.

“When in Ghana, do as the Ghanians do”- Eric

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

by Alyssa

Yet again, the day was incredibly amazing and memorable. After walking to Senchi Ferry, we parted ways and went our respected assignments. Walking into a classroom full of smiling kids running towards you screaming, “obroni” is probably the best feeling in the world.

The medical students made house visits today and I was even told Cris touched a women’s bone due to a wound she incurred. After the walk back we had a great meal once again and went to the Cedi Bead Factory.

It is incredible to see how much work goes into making hand made beads. I couldn’t believe the man sitting directly in front of the fire was wearing long pants and a zip up long sleeve jacket. The beads were incredible and we all took advantage of the show room. Dinner was fantastic as usual. I think we are all having a good time.

“My candle burns at both ends. It will not last the night; But ah; my foes and oh my friends- It gives a lovely light” Edna St. Vincent Millay

Monday May 19, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

by Maryal
Monday was our first full day in Senchi Ferry. We started the day by waking up to new sounds like roosters crowing and bullfrogs croaking. Breakfast was delicious; we had onion and tomato omlettes, toast and juice. Due to the crazy thunderstorm yesterday evening, we had to take a different route into town. The route we took yesterday was super muddy and we had to walk along part of the road Ben drove us home on last night.

What was amazing was that the road into town, though paved only has enough room for one car. It’s a miracle Ben got us all home safely yesterday – much thanks to him! We walked deeper into town than we had ever before and passed schools that were in session with children and their matrons singing and saying prayers. Our first stop was at the preschool that will hopefully have all of its walls erected by the time we leave. Next door to the preschool foundation was the current preschool, where the current building was covered in a tin roof, which leaks when it rains and causes school to be cancelled.

Hopefully we’ll make lots of progress on the new building for them. Next, we stopped by the clinic where the med group separated from the rest of the group who went to experience teaching in Ghana for the first time! In the clinic, Madame Grace had us sit down in the waiting room with the patients and we watched her take the blood pressure of her first patient of the day. Later, we separated and some observed Madame Grace interviewing and dispensing drugs. Others were set up at the makeshift pharmacy, which consisted of a table in behind the clinic under a tree, and spoon-filled medicine bags with vitamin C pills, Vitamin B pills, iron pills and an aspirin equivalent. Some of us helped cut gauze and make homemade cotton balls out of sheets of cotton. Two of us went out into the community to make home visits and saw a lot of health issues that will be addressed in the clinic later on. Afterwards, we headed back to our rooms.

On the way, we picked up the part of the group that had done teaching during the day. Jordan and Ida were playing a game where they were pulling disco moves to make the children they erre working with laugh. After we got back to our rooms, we had time to fit in a much needed 30 minute nap before lunch which was bean stew and fried plantains. Afterwards, we headed out to the Senchi Waterfront resort to chill on the banks of the Volta River and eat and enjoy Ghanian drinks such as Stone Beer, Club Beer, Sprite, and of course my favorite Malta! After seeing two boys fishing for tilapia, and hanging with the peacocks, we headed over to the Sajuris Beach Club Resort.

Located next to a mud constructed home, this brand new resort demonstrated the vivid difference between areas that have a lot of money and those that don’t. We played on the trampoline here, played ping pong, and swung on the swings before heading back for our dinner of french fries, friend chicken and salad. Ben finished up the night with a lesson on Twi – something that will help us out greatly tomorrow, granted we can recall the lesson…

Sunday May 18th, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

by Tara
Today was everyone’s 2nd day in Ghana and everything is going well! Everyone seems to be getting along smoothly, which is important because we’re stuck with each other for at least 2 weeks.

Overall, I’m enjoying my experience. The weather is a bit hotter than I expected. But, on the plus side, where we are staying and the food is a lot better than anticipated. I can’t wait to start teaching and I’m excited for the days to come!