7/29/17

Amazingly I am writing from the Heathrow airport in London! I cannot believe my time in Ghana is over. As I reflect back on these past two months I marvel at the fact that during my first week I couldn’t wait to go home and as I said goodbye to my coordinators and fellow participants last night I felt so, so sad. Looking back to when I decided to go on this trip, I can’t even remember why I chose Ghana as my location. I never had a specific reason other than I had read that the locals are welcoming and the programs sounded very interesting. Now that I have been through both the Cape Coast and the Accra program I can’t imagine my summer any other way. Additionally, what I read was so true! The locals are so nice and made me feel safe no matter what. I could travel alone and I could depend on taxi and trotro drivers to point me in the right direction. Granted, they did raise the price for me because I am white, which bothered me a lot at first, but the more I reflect on my experience I couldn’t be happier. Everyone wants to be your friend (and to marry you, which is something I didn’t enjoy as much, haha) and show you the culture and learn about you and where you are from. It is drastically different than the US! The things that initially troubled me about the culture I grew to love and the friends I made I know I will keep in contact with! I have never come out of a summer feeling quite as satisfied as I do right now, but it is a great feeling.

I thought it would be hard to be without wifi or service since I had never really gone long periods of time without it, but it is not difficult at all! It was a nice break and it helped me focus on what was happening in front of me. I wish that I could have captured every breath-taking moment on camera (and I did get a lot of them!), but it just wasn’t possible. I saw things that broke my heart, things that made me question everything I had known, things that blew my mind, and things that made me smile so wide it hurt my face. There is no way I could fully explain my two months to anyone and have them understand quite how amazing it was for me and that is okay. It is nice to know that I have some experiences just to myself, or just shared with the people I was with. I look forward to keeping those memories deep inside my heart, along with my love for Ghana as a whole. There are so many things I wish that I could have done on the trip, such as Mole National Park and traveling to different regions all around the country, but I know that I will be back at soon because those Ghanaians stole my heart!

I also learned that I am totally capable of adapting to strange or different situations. It is comforting to know that I really did complete this whole program in Africa, as my first time going overseas and my first time outside of North America. Nothing will ever be as astonishing to me that I actually did this and I also loved it! I know that I can travel (almost) anywhere and I can’t wait to see what other environments I will be able to see in my life time! I look forward to another month of summer before I head back to school even though I will spend most of my time working. It will be nice to recover from this long travel day and I can’t wait to catch up with my friends and family!

Here’s to two amazing months in Ghana and to coming back as soon as I can!!

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7/25/17

I had a wonderful weekend! I celebrated my birthday in the traditional Ghanaian way- cold water and beer poured on my head! Even though I was freezing, I had a huge smile on my face. It was such a fun and different way to celebrate a birthday! At that moment, surrounded by the friends that I had made over the last month and a half, I knew that it would be very hard to top this day.

It is crazy that I will be heading home in just a few days; I cannot believe how fast the two months I spent in Ghana went. Although my experience started off on the wrong foot, it turned into an extremely rewarding and useful summer. I learned so much about the amazing culture, the health care system (including all of its strengths and pitfalls), and most importantly about myself. When going on programs such as CFHI, I discovered how frustrating it can be to be an undergraduate or pre-medical student. I wished every day that I could help do something or offer my own advice or even interact in a meaningful way with patients, but unfortunately I am not trained to do such things. In my time at Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital I found in most rewarding to work in the physio therapy department and the malnutrition rehabilitation center. In both places I was able to work with patients and learn from that hands-on experience. In physio-therapy I was able to help with the therapy sessions for children with cerebral palsy and downs syndrome. The sessions change for each child. Some spend most time practicing the sitting position, while others spend more time learning how to move from laying to sitting, crawling, walking, standing straight, and bilateral movements. One day we saw at least three patients with nerve damage that causes atrophy in one side of the body. With these children we focused on strengthening their muscles so that they would have almost full function despite the nerve damage.

On Friday some of us spent the day in the malnutrition rehabilitation center. This was probably my favorite day at the hospital because the nurses let us handle all the patient care. We learned that the center has a wide array of specialties, including teaching mothers how to cook for their children, weekly check ups, and a FREE program that provides families with RUTF (Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food). The system they have set up is doing its part in reducing child malnutrition rates in the Greater Accra region. If a child is admitted to the hospital and is malnourished, determined by body mass index and MUAC (Mid-Upper Arm Circumference), then they are referred to the center for counseling. Sometimes the child isn’t well fed because the mother cannot produce enough milk and the family can’t afford formula. Ghana Health Service strongly recommends solely breast-feeding until 6 months because so many cannot afford the formula. Additionally, after 6 months many mothers start to feed their child traditional food. Because the Ghana’s food has many spices, the baby usually cannot handle it and requires a significant amount of water to soothe its mouth. At the end of the meal, the child will only have eaten a very small amount of food and taken a larger amount of water so they will not have received the proper nutrients to gain weight. The counseling of mothers includes lectures on what babies can and cannot eat as they are growing. They also teach them how to cook the meats and vegetables and to pound them properly so their children can eat enough.

Because the program is free, each Friday, the mothers are expected to bring their children in for a check up and to replenish their rations of the RUTF. This is where we came in handy as we did all of the check ups. It was so much fun to be useful for once, ha! We weighed the children (actually much more of a task than you would first think; the mother stepped on the scale and then the child was given to her, however the scale wasn’t working very well so it took longer than usual), measured their MUAC, took the temperature, and gathered a brief history from the past week about overall health. Based on the weight of the child we would give a certain amount of the RUTF, for example if the child weighed between 8.5-9.4 kg they would receive 25 packets of the food and we would instruct them to feed their child 3.5 per day. The RUTF that we distributed was actually very delicious. It is a complete meal and is made up of peanut butter and sugar and is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. It tasted like peanut butter cookie dough! As we went through the day it was interesting to see the patients and their mothers. It is clear that they care about their kids if they are participating in the program, which warmed my heart. One mother came in and she had missed two consecutive weeks and had to beg to keep her spot in the program. Because it is a free program, they only want dedicated participants and unfortunately her actions showed that she wasn’t taking it seriously. Her child was losing weight and she hadn’t replenished her RUTF supply in three weeks, so the head nutritionist expressed her anger. Fortunately she was allowed to stay in the program but was on “probation.” Only one time did a mother ask me what her daughter’s weight and MUAC measurements were. This put a huge smile on my face as she said, “please, can you tell me her stats? I want to know if she is improving or not!” Obviously I know that each parent cares for their child and for their health, but this was the first time I felt like a parent was 100% focused on her daughter’s improvement (I also have to disclose that many mothers do not speak English very well and were a little bit uncomfortable having us helping them, they very well could have asked the nurse in their native language!). Although it is sad to see the malnourished children it is so amazing to learn about the program they have in place at the hospital and know how much of an impact it is having on Ghana’s youth. We learned that in the northern part of Ghana almost 50% of children have stunted growth due to malnutrition, so hopefully programs like this will spread and reach a wider group!

I am so thankful for my time at the Children’s Hospital. It was such a good experience and I learned so much! I wish I could stay longer just to monitor the progress that the children I saw continue to make, but sadly I have to leave to return home.

7/18/17

Our first week at the hospital was much less eventful than our first week in Accra. I continued to work in physio-therapy and also sat with a doctor in the out patient department. There I saw many children with coughs and colds, some who were suffering from asthma, and others who were concerned about TB. Overall it was an uneventful week but we all decided that it was nice to settle into a routine as it makes time go much faster. We arrive to the hospital at the same time every day, meet for lunch and catch a cab home. We spent time at the beach one afternoon and took a ridiculously long cab ride home. It took us 20 minutes to get to the beach but on the way home we spent 2 hours in the cab, taking weird back roads and getting stuck in horrible traffic. That was awful! We learned that it is nearly impossible to get anywhere in Accra around 5-7 pm so we have been scheduling our outings at better times so we can get home in a reasonable amount of time.

This weekend we traveled back to Cape Coast. We took a bus to get there and it cost 25 ghc. We rented a couple hotel rooms at 80 ghc per room per night and were very nervous to see what they looked like. Fortunately they were pretty spacious and were very clean so we lucked out! The hotel was located near the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital so I knew the area very well. We spent time at Oasis where I got to see all the friends I made while I was there along with Patty and Riya who are doing the Cape Coast CFHI program. I also showed everyone the markets where we bought some souvenirs for family and friends. We returned to Accra that Sunday, so it was a quick trip but so worth it!

The night we got back, Danielle’s friend graciously offered to serve us dinner. They did not live in Accra, but in a smaller town called Tema. It took us about an hour to get there and when we did we were offered an incredible home cooked meal. The family was very nice and surprisingly they offered to drive us all the way back to the house! We could not have been more grateful. They told us to come over whenever we wanted and we might just return again!

We started our next week of work and we are all hoping it goes as smoothly as the last one. I cannot believe I only have 11 days left!

7/10/17

Wow, it has been an incredibly busy week for me. I started my new program in Accra so I packed up all of my things and moved to the CFHI house here. I had to say goodbye to the two people who had been with me since the beginning, which was surprisingly difficult. Even to this day I miss having Ashley and Emma by my side as I continue to experience Ghana. Luckily they had a great time in Rome and are home now enjoying the last part of summer! I am extremely thankful for my time in Cape Coast. I learned so much about myself and about medicine in the coastal region. While the resources are limited, the doctors that work at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital have an incredible set of skills and I can only imagine how they would do in the United States with extra equipment to aid their pristine hands-on expertise. No matter how much I struggled in Cape Coast I am so grateful for the friendships I made and relationships that came from it! Now I truly understand why work in NGOs such as CFHI is so rewarding. I have said it many times but it is true that it is so easy to create close-knit friendships in just a month and I definitely did that. I will certainly be returning to Cape Coast as soon as I can!

Accra is a very different experience. Most of the work we will do is in the children’s hospital and it is much smaller than the teaching hospital! We spent our first week doing an insane amount of public health work. We started the week off slowly so the newcomers could adjust to this new lifestyle. There were 6 new people, Patty, Riya, Sara, Mark, Brandi and Danielle. Patty and Riya have since moved on to the Cape Coast program and the other four have stayed in Accra with me. Sunday night we were able to return to Bosphorus, the very nice restaurant I had been to my first night in Ghana, and we celebrated Mark’s 21st birthday. The next day we visited the Botanical Gardens and saw beautiful trees and flowers. It was a national holiday so many people were having a picnic and celebrating Republic Day. On Tuesday, the Fourth of July, we got to be very patriotic. We spent the morning at the USAID’s office and learned about one of the initiatives they are working on that involves preventable child and maternal deaths. They focused on malaria prevention, ensuring that birthing centers were up to standard in the rural locations, and the importance of family planning. They have set up nurse’s offices and small clinics in 5 of the 10 regions of Ghana that provide services to help them achieve their goals. The nurses travel to multiple villages in a day to discuss family planning methods, condom usage, and general advice on preventing the spread of malaria such as removing standing water and using bed nets. Although their project is progressing well, they still have a lot to accomplish in the next 2 years! That evening we attended a Fourth of July party at the US Embassy and ate pizza and garlic knots with the United States diplomatic community. It was a fun party and odd to see such a large amount of Americans in one place.

On Thursday we had another busy day. We attended two lectures and went back to the US Embassy for a tour and discussion. The first lecture was at the National Aids Control Program where we discussed the initiatives in place to decrease the rate of HIV/AIDS in Ghana. Interestingly, only about 0.04% of Ghanaians are HIV+. We learned that every time a woman comes into a clinic and is pregnant she is automatically tested for HIV and if she is positive they ensure to perform a C-section for the birth so there is a smaller chance of her giving HIV to her child. Because of this mandatory testing, the amount of woman tested compared to men is about 8:1. By removing those tested due to pregnancy, it is almost 50/50 in men and women being tested. In Ghana, the test and antiretroviral medications are free and counseling is provided. They treat it very differently here, usually if someone tests positive they are immediately referred to a counselor that helps them accept what will happen to them and help them understand that their life is not over. The medications can improve their health and ensure they live a relatively normal and long life. The next presentation we saw was about malaria and its importance in all communities around Ghana. There are many programs set in place by the National Malaria Control Program that help distribute mosquito nets and attempt to educate people in rural and urban communities about the ways to prevent mosquito bites and malaria contraction. Finally we returned to the US Embassy and met with two Americans who work there along with a woman from the Peace Corps. The two Americans had very interesting experiences and discussed the hardships they had encountered in the time they’ve spent in Ghana as well as the work they do for the community. Both worked as administrators for health programs. Hearing about the woman in the Peace Corps made me feel bad about ever pitying myself since being here. She lives in a rural community and works to help promote business initiatives but focuses most of her time on improving water sanitation. She said that the closest volunteer is 3 hours away from her and in her village only about 10 people speak English. She commented on the troubles she faces and expressed her excitement to return to the US soon.

Friday we were able to visit the World Health Organization office, complete orientation at the hospital and pay a visit to the Accra branch of Planned Parenthood. At the WHO office we were given a presentation on what the WHO does around the world, in Ghana, and what their goals are for the future of Ghana. Along the same lines as Thursday, the main focus of their efforts is on HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and other tropical diseases. They have their own set of programs and goals to accomplish. It was fun to hear about them! Orientation at the hospital was fun, we were able to see the wards and different departments in which we will work. After that we had a surprise visit to the Planned Parenthood office. I was shocked that they had an office and when we went we got to see a large part of their operation. Their mission statement expresses their hope to have every pregnancy be planned and wanted and to help women and families accomplish what they want with their life. I enjoyed this trip too, family planning is very interesting to me.

After our week of orientations and presentations we had a very important funeral and burial service to attend. Interestingly enough, our landlord is the King of a community called Kwehu. His mother had passed away last month and we were able to attend her traditional burial service. When we arrived they were in the middle of prayer, but the King’s son insisted that we greet the line of royalty so we were awkwardly paraded through the service to shake hands with the chiefs. We were not warned to bow while shaking hands with a chief and when Brandi attempted he got very angry and said “When you greet a chief you need to bow, show some respect!” She apologized and I was feeling very grateful I was second in line. Only 3 out of 7 of us were able to greet the chief before we were shuttled out of the service to await the end of the prayer. All of us felt extremely uncomfortable and nervously laughed as we waited. After, we went to the King’s house to eat lunch and enjoyed one of the best meals I have had while in Ghana. When we finished our lunch we returned to the service to actually greet the King and his line. He hadn’t left the service yet and was giving a speech when we arrived for the second time. Again we interrupted an important aspect of the funeral and the same chief as before spoke directly to Dr. Charles and explained that usually when you greet a line of royalty you start with all the chiefs and end with the King. Additionally, Patty greeted the wrong person first and when she tried to correct herself, she fell down the step! We left feeling very embarrassed but we are able to laugh at it now, feeling somewhat ignorant but mostly just thankful we don’t have to go back. That was definitely an adventure! We were assured that it was okay, but as we were leaving we saw a TV camera and busted up laughing, all of our cultural mistakes were live streamed to the general public of Ghana! The King pardoned our mistakes, as he understood we weren’t informed of what to do and ended up laughing with us, so overall it was an incredible experience to be able to talk to a King of a community and see some of the traditional practices involving the death of an important member of society.

On Sunday the crew traveled to Cape Coast to drop off the people staying there for the next three weeks and everyone got to experience Elmina Castle and Kakum national park. It was a relaxing trip!

Today was also another day of craziness. I was able to work in the physical therapy department and enjoyed that a lot! Brandi and I expressed our surprise that most of their patients are those with developmental delays. Now that we know, it makes sense! When someone has Downs Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy they don’t develop at a normal rate and therefore do not have the same muscles or ability to use them, so it was fascinating to watch them work with the small children on crawling, rolling, and walking. Afterwards we returned home and went grocery shopping. On the way back we got smoothies and then packed all 5 of us in a small taxi. Unfortunately we hit very bad traffic and those of us packed in the back seat were not too happy about that. To top it all off, we accidently hit a kitten that crossed the street at the wrong time and when we were only about 5 minutes from home, a car stopped suddenly in front of us and we rear ended them! Fortunately everyone was okay and the car worked just fine after, but that was definitely a scary experience. I am honestly surprised that kind of thing doesn’t happen more often with the way people drive here, but I am glad that it all worked out. Today was almost as much of a mess as our experience at the burial!

I am looking forward to just 3 more weeks in Ghana. Although home is calling me, I know I have a lot to look forward to in my time left. I cannot wait to keep experiencing this crazy, fun and different lifestyle.

6/27/17

Coming to Africa was a huge step for me. Before this I had been out of the country only once when I went to Mexico. While in Mexico I spent my days in a resort and never really saw what the country was like, so being in Ghana has been a very intense experience. When I first arrived I was terrified to do anything because it was so different than at home. The longer I stay the more I realize how grateful I am that I am here with CFHI. It makes the hardships much less difficult and gives us a place to feel 100% safe. There have been a few times where I have been so uncomfortable that I wished with all my heart that I could go home. This was mostly when I first arrived. When I landed in Accra at the beginning of June I sat down on the bed and thought, “Oh my God, I have 8 weeks here. How will I ever be able to do it?” This feeling stayed with me for some time, especially when I wasn’t feeling well; how could I possibly stay for the two months I committed to? There would be times where I would be laying in bed at night mentally counting down the days until I could go home. I felt so pathetic and so bad for myself because everyone else was having a blast and enjoying their experience while I was on the verge of tears for a week. I spent my days talking to my mom who made the transition much easier because she was very encouraging and sympathetic to my concerns. With this attitude I knew I would never enjoy my time working or being a visitor in this country and since I was going to be here for 8 weeks I needed to change my mindset. With the help from my family and friends at home and the coordinators I was able to begin to change my perspective.

One of the hardest things for me to witness is people in pain. I always knew that I was a very empathetic person, but while being here I realized how much of a problem this could become in the medical world. Going into this experience I had my heart set on medical school and eventually surgery. I follow surgeons on Instagram and find their work so extremely interesting; I love learning about science and the different ways to treat illnesses and what can happen to the body due to certain stresses, but since being here I have a very hard time around sick people. It makes me so sad to think that these people are suffering and many times, I can’t do anything to help. Whether it’s because they have a chronic illness or because they can’t afford care, it breaks my heart. There was a patient in the ob/gyn ward who couldn’t afford to have a colonoscopy to confirm the doctors’ belief that she was suffering from colon cancer; additionally she wouldn’t be able to afford the medicine needed to treat it. All this time she was pregnant and in constant pain. These stories make me question my desire to join the medical field. While I explained this concern to my family, they helped me realize that although this is extremely difficult to witness I shouldn’t allow it to affect how I view all medicine. I needed to change my attitude from expecting this to be a medical internship to viewing it as a way to experience medicine in a different way and in a different country. Most medicine in the US will be very different and now I know that before I make any changes to my vision of becoming a doctor I need to work in a situation that I would actually be in. I haven’t ruled out anything, but I know that as of right now I enjoy more of holistic approach to medicine, a much more difficult task while working in a hospital. Who knows what will happen in the future, fortunately I don’t have to decide what I want to do for a while!

During all of this self-realization, I still had to adjust to the new culture. I thought that I was an adaptable person, but it has taken a long time to get used to the differences. One of the most shocking things for me is the way people act towards the white people.

Some are unbothered by us, but others will stop what they are doing and stare as we walk by or take our picture. Sometimes the men will ask us if we are married or if we can take them back to America and the only thing we can do is apologize and say no. The stereotype that Americans have in Ghana is that we are all very rich, this most likely stems from the fact that 1 US dollar is equivalent to 4.30 Ghana cedi. Because of this, people will give you unfair prices as taxi fares or in shops. We also attract a lot of attention when we go out so occasionally we will make an effort to only go with our coordinators so we feel more comfortable.

Another thing that was hard to adjust to is saying no to children who ask for money. It makes me very sad to see them begging for food or money, however I have come to realize that I cannot help everyone in need, no matter how hard it is to accept that fact. I wish that I could ensure every single child could attend school and learn everything they need to be successful, but unfortunately that isn’t feasible. Our cab driver explained to us that stereotypically the families that live nearest to the coast are “uncivilized” and they do not attend school, or if they do they stop going when they reach 15 or 16 years old. He also explained that those children who beg for money from us on the beach most likely live in those communities. Obviously there is poverty everywhere, but it still is heartbreaking to see it up close and personal.

As I spend more time in Ghana I am becoming more comfortable with the norms and understanding what is acceptable and what is not. I think that this is one of the most important things to learn while being abroad. Other countries have such rich and vibrant cultures and it is fun to immerse yourself in them. It has been an adventure attempting to adjust to the Ghanaian lifestyle, but I couldn’t be more thankful to be able to do so with the other participants. It helps to make grow strong friendships with people and as our coordinators say, the goal is to make close friends that make you want to return to the country. This way when we say “goodbye” what we mean is “see you soon.”

6/23/17

Even writing the date shocks me, how can it already be June 23rd? Where did all my time go? How do I start my next program in just over a week? I know that summer always passes quickly, but it is passing so much faster since being here. This week we continued to settle into our routine and I was in the ob/gyn ward again. We were able to return to the out patient department and continued to do our rounds in the ward. This week was very warm and unfortunately the ward had lost function of the fans that usually cool down the patients. By the end of the week, however, the fans had been fixed and it is slowly cooling down.

Similar to last week we had to say goodbye to two more of our friends that we had met through the hospital on Wednesday. They worked with different programs, but we were able to spend a lot of time with them throughout their time here in Cape Coast. Mila, our first friend made in the ob/gyn ward, is a wonderful Dutch girl with a warm heart. Abby is from the US and did her whole trip by herself, without a group like CFHI, proving her bravery. Both of them left this weekend. Mila was meeting a friend in Uganda for 3 weeks of vacation before returning home after a total of 5 months of travel. Abby is going back to the US. It is very nice to have met other volunteers from the hospital because we get to hear about all of the other cases in each department and hear about everyone’s experience with different doctors and nurses. Another friend, Brittney from Canada, spends all of her time in the Emergency Room so she tells us all about the interesting, scary, and sad cases she sees. As more and more time passes I feel an increased amount of gratitude towards the United States and our medical system and the resources we have available. Although we have our own share of problems, they seem so minimal in comparison to not having enough oxygen for more than one patient at a time in the ER, or merely having one high dependency room in each ward, or not having a plethora of sedative medications at hand. Knowing this, I will be able to appreciate our situation much more than most doctors in the US. Gratitude goes a long way.

 

As a fun change of pace, today we spent time at a children’s school in a village just outside of Cape Coast called Ansapetu. This school was started for orphans in the community so most of the kids we met did not have families and lived on the campus. As soon as we walked into the school we felt like celebrities. The small children came up to us and hugged us, trying to touch our skin and hair, as they were extremely fascinated with its color. We presented to a room of students about the facts and dangers of malaria and the importance of personal hygiene. It was a blast! We had to remind ourselves to speak slowly and occasionally the teachers would translate to Fanti, the local language, so that everything was understood. The kids asked many questions and helped make the lesson interactive and fun for everyone. Afterwards the smaller kids greeted us with many hugs. They asked to have their picture taken, asked about our families and their names and asked if we were from America. It is very sad to think that these kids are growing up without families and must live at school with other children. With that being said, it is heartwarming to see that they are still getting an education and learning English, an important skill to have in order to be successful around Ghana. Hopefully the education will allow them to grow up to be healthy and have the opportunity to start careers and have jobs.

 

We are planning to travel to a beach to the west this weekend and stay overnight on Saturday, as it is our last weekend in Cape Coast. All of us, but CJ, will head out on Friday. Ashley and Emma will be going to Rome for a few days before traveling back to the United States and I will be starting the program in Accra. CJ still has one more week here before she travels home. I will be meeting a whole batch of new people and will be able to experience the capital of Ghana for July.

 

Here is to one more week in our paradise beach town! Can’t wait to make it the best one yet.

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6/18/17

We had a sad trip to Accra to see Dana off. It is amazing how being placed in a situation such as this fosters such deep relationships in such a short amount of time. Even after spending only 2 weeks with Dana we will all share a bond that is impossible to replace. The trip took a total of 9 long hours due to the intense traffic around Accra, but we made it back in time to enjoy another Friday night at Oasis.

The hospital this past week was leaps and bounds better than my first week. I spent the majority of it in the ob/gyn ward again and got to sit in with one of the doctors doing OPD (out patient department). I very much enjoyed that day because the consulting was interesting and moved quite quickly. It was set up in a small examination room with a desk and a patient table. Two doctors sat at the desk and two patients at a time would come into the room and consult with their doctor. There were so many cases! The room was also very crowded with all of us in it. We are very fortunate because the ob/gyn doctors are very good at explaining what is happening and including us in conversation with patients. I’m looking forward to another week in ob/gyn and the delivery suite.

I am not sure if I have actually acclimated to the climate here in Cape Coast or if the rainy season is here. I felt cold for the first time this week! I was absolutely shocked. It probably has more to do with the fact that it rains almost every day and the clouds cover the blistering sun, but I am thankful. On Thursday after work we got to go to a beautiful resort with a swimming pool. It felt great to cool off but afterwards we were all freezing. Because the pool was out of town about 20 minutes we had to walk down a very dark road through a village to look for a taxi or a trotro. We are very lucky that our coordinators were with us because they were able to find 2 taxis to take us back home, even in the dark. Today, Sunday, we were able to start off with a relaxing morning and then go to get lunch in town and return to Kakum National Park so that CJ (our new participant) and our two friends Mila and Brittany could do the canopy walk. Afterwards we stopped at another tourist attraction where we pet a crocodile! It was very scary, but they say that they are well fed so they don’t bite. We all made it out alive thankfully.

I am enjoying my time here very much and I cannot believe it has already been two weeks and I have less than two weeks left in this beautiful town. I am looking forward to continuing my journey, however it will be very sad to say goodbye to my home for all of June. I am hoping to enjoy my 6 weeks left away from home and continue to learn and absorb as much as I can. I love the culture and people!