Monday, January 10, 2011


My faithful readers,

Due to network difficulties, I cannot get my pictures to load in an at all acceptable pace.  Therefore, I am going to hold off on posting this last week until I return to the states.  I promise that I will get it all posted, but it is taking nearly half an hour a picture, and days 8 and 9 will each have at least 50 pictures and there just isn't enough internet connectivity in the day to get them loaded.  I apologize and promise that you will get to see them all soon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7th, the 7th day!

So today we did another HIV/AIDS program.  We got to the village and all set up and the chief came and said that the women had all left for Friday prayers.  So instead, we went back to the clinic and toured the entire grounds.  We even got to meet the Minister for Health in this region.  It was pretty cool. Overall, the clinic seemed much like any here.  There were differences of course, but the biggest was something that we've seen many times already and that is that there really isn't ANY patient privacy here in Ghana.  There is no HIPPAA to contend with and so they really don't even attempt to keep people's information secret.  Below are some posters that we saw on doors and such for health promotion.

  Anyone notice the scoop stretcher on the ambulance stretcher?  It's just like the ones we use at home!  The white bales are treated mosquito nets to protect children from Malaria.  The thing is, talking to the minister that none of those nets are for this region.  The national office just decided they were going to store them here and dumped them all over the place.  Half of the clinic space is filled with nets that the clinic cannot even give out.  So they have very limited space, and don't get anything out of the inconvenience.  The national office waited until the regional minister was at the capitol to dump them all here so that he couldn't say no until after they were already all unloaded and the trucks gone and there was nothing he could do about it.

The next several pictures were taken in the lab at the clinic, the differences are astounding!

So things to note about the lab, eating and drinking in the presence of samples of HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and every other imaginable sickness. NO GLOVES TO BE SEEN!!! And, his own private laptop on facebook in the lab with the infectious material.

This is fufu in light soup with fish.  This is like the traditional number one Ghanaian meal.  It's pounded casava (yam) and plantain formed into a dough and then placed in this very peppery soup.  It was pretty good.  You eat it with your right hand.  Everything here is done with your right hand, because your left hand is considered unclean, (and because it typically is as they use it to wipe with and then don't wash their hands).  So you reach into the bowl with your hand and tear off a little chunk of the dough and shape it into a little bowl and dip it back in the soup, then swallow it without chewing.  It was pretty good but a little too spicy for my liking.

Following the eating of the fufu, we went back to the NGO's office.  We went to both their old one so they could show it to us, where we met another volunteer who has been with them since August, his name is Jacob and is from Germany, then we stopped by their new one although didn't go in...Then we headed back to the village and did the program.  I taped the whole program and will try to get it uploaded to here once I get back to the states, the internet is not the best here and is not cooperating with uploading that much.  I will close with a picture of my friend Alicia from my group.  We all get mobbed by little kids anytime they see a camera.  They want their picture taken, then they want to see their picture, then they want you to give them money for letting you take their picture.  Mobs like this one happen everytime you get out a camera though.  It's pretty overwhelming.

Six days down in Ghana!

This is the view from the window at my NGO.  I am working with a group called PEYORG, which is the Progressive Excellence for Youth Organization.  It was a fishing day where they were bringing in the catch.

Another view.

So this is a little out of order, but the uploader is being a pain in the butt.  I uploaded this as a shout out to Tommy Giessmann, since he reads my blog to find out what his wife is up to in Ghana, and as it is a picture of his lovely wife, Sarah, right before she devoured her pizza.  Although, she only ate half and totally picked the onions off of every piece and in the dark no less.

This is my friend Daniel, he's on the trip with us and we split the pizza to save a little money.  Our pizza had chicken, beef, shrimp, onions, peppers, and kalamata olives on it.  It was seriously the best pizza I have ever had.  The restaurant was called "The Goil" and its owned by a Turkish guy.  Turkish pizza = AMAZING!!!

This is what the fishermen live in, its totally old school driftwood huts with thatched roofs.
My NGO did some HIV/AIDS testing so we had to go pick up our nurse at this clinic.  Yes, that yellow thing is an ambulance, look at the next few pictures and then I'll explain.

So the first thing about ambulances in Ghana, they are Mercedes Benz's, which is pretty cool, now if only we could get the University to order us some Mercedes for saving lives. :-P  You can see the insides in the previous shots, there is seemingly no drugs, all the stuff that is normally on the outside of the ambulance is in that compartment to the left of the stretcher. There is a ramp to get the stretcher in and out, but other than that, it seems like our first ambulances over in America that their only purpose was just to get the person to a Doctor.

The hospital also does a lot of work on family planning and antenatal care.

  That is the nurse up there talking to this village.  When we got there, we got to meet the chief.  He's behind the guy in the yellow and you can't see him.  VERY old man, and incredibly respected, it was so cool that he came out to hear us talk.  We went through this ceremony with him in his house when we got there.  He said a prayer to bless our work, and then offered us all a drink of this REALLY strong whiskey.  The thing is that under their customs here, when a group comes to talk to a village, they take the chief a bottle of Schnap's if he accepts you are at peace and may talk to his village, if he does not you are at war.  When all is said in the meeting, he offers everyone a drink of hot alcohol and if you don't accept, you are saying you are at war with his tribe.  So, really, we didn't have a choice but to accept the drink or put the USA at war with this tribe in Southern Ghana, and none of us wanted that. ;-)  Man did it EVER burn though.

That is Makayla, she went to UNL, and is our site leader here in Cape Coast.  Her and her boyfriend came along to our program with us.  She was playing soccer with all the little kids.

When the kids saw me take her picture, they all wanted their's taken too, so I did.

Me and my little goats, they are just so darned cute.

This little guy had just been born, his umbilical cord was still attached.

So after the program is when we went to the Goil, then came back here and went to bed because it was a LONG day.  The 7th is up next!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ghana day 5

You know me and my trying to be artsy sometimes, so I will start with a view artistic shots around the house.

The front fence.

So we had orientation to our NGOs today, and according to our site director, the second best cook in Ghana, the best makes food for us everyday ;-), served our lunch at the ProWorld Ghana office.

After lunch, we took an hour long hike into town and I took some pictures of how people live.  This is a garbage pit obviously and they burn their trash rather than following the law and taking it to a REAL dump site.

Chickens and goats are EVERYWHERE!  These two were pretty upset we were in their area.

God is on EVERYTHING here.  I'm all for religion, but its in every last thing they do.  From the alcohol in this sign, to the cell phone repair to the bread I eat for breakfast.

See the two TINY goats?  They were SO cute and the smallest I've ever seen!

The Police here all drive  motorcycles just so they can get through the traffic.

I totally didn't realize when I took the pic of the bikes that I was in front of a substation, but I was...  Basically, it seems like the cops aren't really law enforcement here, but a job that the government hands out because they don't do anything and don't seem to enforce any of the laws.

A whole family of chickens was roaming around the shops where we went.  I did lots of shopping and got birthday presents for my mom, niece and nephew!

So President Obama's first state visit was here to Ghana and Cape Coast!  This is a sign with their president and ours celebrating that visit.  The main street of the city is now named Obama street because of him pledging help to the country after he came here and saw how bad it was.

So that was my Wednesday in a quick nutshell.  Look for Thursday in a little bit!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 4 of Ghana 2011!

We started our morning off at a school here in Ghana, and helped them make bricks so that they could expand the school.  I took several pictures of what was on their chalk boards.  Some of this stuff is advanced physics that I never even understood!

This little guy, yes guy, really wanted to help us out.  He was maybe one at the most.

Here's all the bricks we made!  We put them inside one of the rooms to dry.  I had to wash my shoes when we got home because I dumped a bag of cement on them.

This "little" guy was buddy with all the guys.  He really didn't want to play with the girls here but wanted all of the guys to pick him up and carry him around.

After spending our early morning working at the school, we went to a different beach than yesterday.  This one had a cove to the ocean so we got to go swimming.  This was my first ever experience of swimming in an ocean, and I LOVED it.  I've decided it will have to happen more often and I might have to move much closer to one than the middle of Missouri.

That is Fort Amsterdam up on the hill.  I never got to hike up there, I was having too much fun in the water.

Watching the waves break on the rocks was pretty cool.  There are some more pictures of that after lunch too.

Here's lunch, salad, LOBSTER, rice with onions, peppers and papaya, and pasta.  I also had a chicken kabob a little later which was really good too.


So after lunch and some more swimming we got a lesson in the language of this region of Ghana.  It's called Fante.  First names here come from the day of the week you are born.  I was born on a Sunday, so my name is KwaySee.  I also learned how to say How are you, Oat Sudan, it's all cool, ba goal, and a couple other phrases that I can't remember right now.  I'll put up some more fante as the weeks go by.  Good night all for now, its getting late and I've been up 16 hours already.