Ghana Team Journal

Ghana had made me feel like home

Thursday, August 2, 2012

For breakfast today we had oatmeal, toast, and orange juice. 
Martine was a little tried because she could not sleep.  It could be because in a couple more days I will be leaving for New York.  I can’t believe this is my last journal entry.  I will miss Ghana so much along with the children, my room mate Margaret, Esther, Samuel, Gracey, and Evelyn and the ladies at the clinic.  One of the children even asks me for my phone number so she could call me.  I will definitely miss her and the other children.  Ghana had made me feel like home.  Just when I was getting comfortable, it is already time to leave.

Later this evening for dinner we had the chief charity, Esther, Samuel over for dinner.  We had fried rice chicken and salad.  After the dinner we took pictures.  I’m really going to miss Ghana so much.
Our company brought a non-alcohol drink flavored with pear.  It tasted very good.

Money lesson

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Oatmeal, toast, juice was for breakfast. 
We made it to our assignments at 9:00.  Esther took us to school because her son had pink eye so she was on her way to hospital. 

At school today Margaret showed US money compared to Ghana money.  US money is all the same size and color.  Ghana money is different size and different color.  Martine was with students in the library continuing their computer instructions.  I called at 12:30 to see where they are because I do not walk alone to anywhere.
At 2:30 we leave for the Library to read books to children until 4:00.  Then it started raining hard.  I was told this is the rainy season, but this is the first rain I have seen.  

Back to work after a great weekend

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thought of the day: When we face our maker we will not be asked how many positions did you hold but how many people did you help
We woke up late, but it was a great weekend. 

Martine went to the library.  She worked with students with the basic computer knowledge.  Margaret went to a private school and took pictures of her former Global Volunteers adventures. 
Esther took us to the market for material.  Martine wanting pure shaved butter and black soap.  She was looking and found hair extensions of hair to be braided into her hair.  We forgot about the chocolate.  Esther wanted to shop so we went home in a taxi.

 With our material we went straight to Margaret our personal dressmaker.  We got measured and picked out our pattern.
After dinner Margaret removed a mask off the wall to see where it was made.  Out ran a lizard that made Martine scream and Margaret jumped out of her shoes.  I really started to laugh when I looked down and had no shoes on my feet.  This laughter stayed on me for part of the night.


Party at school and busy work day at the clinic

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thought of the day: “We must use what we have to invent what we desire.”-Adrienne Rich

Today is the last day of school for most of the students here. This is the day children bring a dish to school to have an end of the year party with their classmates. The private schools will have theirs next Thursday. 

Today at the clinic, I helped fill out new card applications as well as insurance applications.  This was the most work I’ve done since volunteering at the clinic. More malaria patients came in. A common scene here.
Today was so far the warmest day. Lunch for today was “Red Red” (black eye pea’s stew with ground cassava sprinkle over it served with sweet plantain.  I enjoyed today’s lunch. Margaret was very tired today therefore; she went for a quick nap. In the meantime, Samuel educated me about the culture of Ghana. The driver came to pick us up around 3:00 hour to take us to the bead factory. Traveling by taxi to the bead place was an adventure within itself. There was one area that was bumper and more difficult to drive though. You have to be a pretty skillful driver to get through this road. Once inside the factory, I saw how beautiful this place is. It’s quiet and peaceful. Palm trees everywhere. We saw the equipment and products that were used to make these beautiful bracelets and necklaces. They were mostly made from wine bottles. Both Margaret and I both purchased a couple bracelets.

For dinner that evening, we ate fried chicken served with fried rice and coleslaw. Very good!

Reading more stories

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This morning for breakfast, we were served corn flakes for breakfast. I haven’t had this cereal in decades. Unfortunately, I couldn’t enjoy it because it was served with carnation milk. Plus cold cereals are not my thing. But I did enjoy the omelet with toast.
Esther came about minutes to 8:00am. We sat at the table to read yesterday’s journal. Then we were off to the clinic.

This morning, the clinic was not having as many patients as yesterday. Only about six patients came in while I was there.  While waiting for Gertrude at the front desk waiting to check patients in, I can hear children nearby in the local schools singing and drums beating. The sound of them made me smile. The clinic is in need of many resources. At least from what I have observed. I noticed Gertrude only had one thermometer to check all the patients’ temperatures. Only one scale was available. Simple things like alcohol and alcohol pads, blood pressures monitors, and medicine dispensers, the clinic seemed to be lacking.
Before checking in any patients, a prayer service is always held at every medical center. Most of the patients that came in today had malaria. On girl was so ill that she collapsed in the waiting area. That was a scary scene.

Back to the guest house after the clinic. We were served yam balls with coleslaw, and fish. The food was very good! At 3:00 we were at the library to read to the children. A few of the kids were eager to read me some stories. They were very good readers. One of the books I read to the kids was the Senchi Ferry Library book. The children really loved that one because they were pictures in it.

Dinner was good but a lot. I ate mostly the veggies and a little rice. I was still full from lunch.


It’s off to work we go!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thought of the day: “Man does not become rich unless he enriches others.”

Hi ho hi ho! It’s off to work we go! For breakfast we ate omelets along with oatmeal, toast, and orange juice. We enjoyed it.
When we arrived at the clinic, we listened to a speech about malaria. Gertrude is who Martine was paired up with and I paired with Charity. I was there for 4 hours and 4 patients were diagnosed with malaria. “Uncle Meow” Samuel picked us up from the clinic to go back to the guest house.

Lunch, Martine had chicken peanut soup and Margaret had beef peanut soup served with a loaf of white rice. I say loaf because it was shaped like a loaf of bread.

"Uncle Meow” takes us to the library at 4:00pm. It is a wonderful feeling to have little hands fitting into yours. We helped read books to everyone that stuck a book in our faces. Little hands touching my hair and the beads of my shirt.

 “Uncle Meow” takes us back to the guest house. While making our way over, Samuel would say “see you later” which meant we were walking in the wrong direction. We would always laugh at that.
For dinner we had French fries! With fried chicken and green salad. Yum yum!

Another good day in Ghana.

Warm welcome in Senchi Ferry!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I woke up around 8:00 am. I slept ok. Margaret and I went downstairs to the restaurant within the hotel for breakfast. It was a very simple buffet set up. I had an omelet with what looked like maybe tomatoes added to it with one thick home-style toast with butter and glass of pineapple juice. Very satisfying. Before leaving the hotel we changed our US dollars to the Ghanaian money cedes. $100 US gave us 180 Cedes. Then we were off to the guest house where we will be staying during out time. The ride was almost an hour long. I enjoyed observing the local people and the surrounding areas. The women wore both traditional and western influenced attire. I love watching the women carry baskets of goods on their heads with such grace and confidence. I noticed some farm animals like, goats, sheep, and cows roaming freely. Food market stands are setup along the side of the road. Mangos, melons, coconuts, papayas, yams and grains were among some of the products being sold. The main road is paved but the surrounding areas were mostly brick red color dirt.  The houses the people lived in were make shifts. Nothing fancy. Some areas had the houses apart from one another while some houses were almost on top of each other. Laundry and be seen being hung to dry on walls of the local homes. I even saw a local bathing in the outhouse of his living quarters. There were many unfinished constructions. Esther told me the people work on these homes when they have enough money saved. It can take as long as 5-20 years to finish a project at this pace. I did see one college and an army recruiting school during the ride.
When we reached the guest house, the people there were very welcoming. After settling down in our room, we meet with Esther to have a small quick meeting. We learned some native words like:

 Obroni: “white” person

Maakaye: morning

Maaha: afternoon

Maadwo: evening


To a woman: yaa ena

To a man: yaa agya

To a friend: yaa anua

To a child: yaa oba

After our meeting we ate lunch. Food was awesome! Chicken, jollof rice, and crisp vegetables. After our short rest, Margaret, Esther, and I went on our first walk through Senchi Ferry. The locals were very happy to see us especially the kids. The kids shouted obroni! obroni! We waved them hello. Our first visit was to the Chiefs of the village house. The  greeting was a little different from my norm. We followed Esther and said to everyone in the room then the chief went around to introducing himself to everyone. The chief, Obi, held a special welcoming ceremony for us. Part of the ceremony involved passing around one shot glass and poured schnapps for each person to spill on the ground then take a sip. I thought about not participating in this but Margaret went before me and she received cheers and applause. Therefore, I had no choice but to do it. I’m glad I did it because the smiles and the appreciations were priceless. After we left their home, we went across the road to the library, the one former Global Volunteers helped built. It was a beautiful library with many books and a computer room. On Monday Margaret and I will read to and with the local kids.

By 6:00pm, we were back at the guest house and dinner was ready. Again, the food was great and the most I have ever eaten... After dinner, Margaret and I got to know each other better. She just retired from being a cafeteria manager in Ohio and I’m currently a cafeteria manager in New York.

 It’s after 8pm and I’m still trying to digest the wonderful, filling, food we at 2 hours ago.