24 Jun Global Health from a Ghanaian Perspective
Do you have what it takes to be thrown into a mission where you must get locals to partake in lending you crabs for crab racing pleasure, fillet a fish, or roam around the unknown market of Elmina to find the one and only fisher mans’ chief? No? Well that’s unfortunate because our Global Health crew sure did! We were seriously motivated. Who wouldn’t be if you knew you were going to be rewarded with homemade eggs benedict and French toast smothered in baobab honey!
As we continued our placements with HEPENS over the week, we were all able to gain a deeper appreciation of health outreach here in Ghana. This time, we went to Kwamoano, a small rural village about a 30 minute trotro ride from Cape Coast. We were able to see many of the projects that HEPENS was running in the community– from the construction of a primary care clinic, micro-finance projects, and a women’s income-generation project focused on Palm Oil production that has received funds from OG’s Project Fund! After giving a short informative presentation to some of the women in the community on prevention, treatment, and symptoms of Typhoid fever, we got our hands dirty in some data collection for the Palm Oil Project.
The Global Health crew were able to interview half of the women currently part of the project and gathered baseline data on demographic, health, sanitation, income information using questionnaires. The data will be used to track the expansion of the project. Conducting the interviews was definitely a tough, but rewarding experience! We were also fortunate enough to have representatives from Ghana’s Health Insurance Scheme and Ghana Health Service come in to talk about how health care is provided from the community to the national level.
Though our days in Cape Coast were coming to an end, we were determined to end it off with a bang, and our Global Health girls sure know how it’s done! We all got dolled up for a girls night out, which was definitely one to remember. From midnight gas station parties to dancing in the rain by the ocean, it was a perfect way to end our time by the coast. However, we were also in for a surprise on our last day as Nicholas, the director of HEPENS, presented the entire group with certificates for our time volunteering with the organization and thanked us for our efforts by presenting every team member with personalized fabric, Ghana-style!
Kumasi, home to the “most hectic market in Africa”, was where we would call home for only a short 2 night stay. While our time slipped away quickly we were sent off into the hectic Kejetia market on the notorious OG scavenger hunt. Although this quickly became an overwhelming day for most we still hustled our way around to learn some of the local language, try some of the oddest foods we could find, learn a few random facts, and of course, see who could find themselves In the prettiest wedding dress. It made for an interesting experience to say the least. Later this evening we were able to meet with one of HCC s medical students Mark over dinner for an intimate discussion on what life was like growing up with next to nothing and how he has risen against all odds and is now on honours lists in his 3rd year of medical school. Mark also had some very inspirational words and insight into Ghana’s health care system.
From the unsettling head bobbing to a few more sweat rags later and 35 banana peels; we finally made it to Sandema after a 15 hour long bus ride. We were sweaty and tired but our red sandy coloured skin called for nothing but sheer excitement. The place in which we could finally call home until ITT was everything our group had hoped for. Long quiet roads smothered with friendly faces, goats, donkeys, and chickens were what we found in one of the most northern communities in Ghana. Our first night kicked off with a chill sesh laughing already reminiscing about past times and gazing into the beautiful northern stars. As well, we all caught up on our hand washing of clothes, beauty rest, and much needed RnR. Although we were more than enthusiastic to get started in placements we couldn’t do that before jumping on 6 mottos and heading through the scenic, windy, beautiful roads to Tono for a dip along with some pre placement planning with a picnic under one of the largest baobab trees in Sandema. In just a few days placements will begin and we are all smiles over here, not only are placements exciting but our team is fully equipped with their black star jerseys ready to cheer on our countries soccer team during the World Cup matches!!!
Go Ghana go!
Soo much more to come. Plenty of love and sunshine until the next time,
West Africa Global Health 2014