Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sleepless in Teshie

I did not sleep a single wink last night, and neither did Sherie. So, we spent the night talking, eating random food left in the pantry, reading, and listening to our ipods. We couldn't figure out why in the world we couldn't sleep. We both got out of bed around 7:30 am and decided that we must be too excited about coming home to rest! We stopped by the hospital to say goodbye to Prosper and Dr. Akosua, my two favorite people in Ghana. We then spent the day by the pool at La Palm. I am now a few shades darker and Sherie has a few new freckles!
I made some scrumptious pancakes last night for dinner. The power was out, but the stove is gas. I had to use candles so that I could see what I was doing. Sherie photo-documented the experience, just so that there would be proof of me cooking (in an apron)!
We leave for the airport in a little over an hour. We are all packed and ready to go. All that's left to do is shower. I am waiting until the VERY last minute so that I sweat as little as possible between here and the airplane. I am not looking forward to the long plane rides. The only thing worse than my goat phobia is my plane phobia! Hopefully, I will be able to sleep most of the way. I am really excited about being home. I can't wait to see my fam and friends at Match Day on Thursday, and some even sooner than that! I love ya'll and miss ya'll!

Breaking news: Sherie just walked in the door and told me she has malaria for the SECOND time! She told me its not fair that she has it, that it was supposed to be me. She says I am the sickly one! I am so thankful that I did not get malaria or typhoid. I'm not sure how I did it! But, with my lousy immune system, of course something had to go wrong. I have a cut on my toe that is now grossly infected. I looked down while walking today, only to see a lot of pus and swelling. How delightful, I know! Its pretty gross. Im sure that plenty of bacteria crawled into my cut from walking on the beach that people use a public toilet! Foul!

Much love,

Friday, March 13, 2009


Mudassi means "thank you" in Twi. I think that it is a pretty appropriate title for today. I am leaving tomorrow, and I feel really thankful for my time here. I am so lucky to have had the chance to come to Ghana. I have had some incredible experiences, and seen many amazing things. There have been several trying times and a couple of bumps in the road, but I wouldn't trade this trip for anything. I have definitely learned a few things about myself. For instance, I really need to have access to air conditioning when its 100 degrees outside, and I have a huge goat phobia. But, in all seriousness, I don't think it is possible to come to a third world country without it changing you in some small ways. And, my visit to Ghana has made me appreciate my family, my friends, my opportunties, and my fridge so much more than I ever could have before!
Sherie and I saw all of the UVA kids off to the airport last night. It was so sad to say goodbye to them. They have become a lot like family, and I know we will both miss them. The house felt so lonely and quiet last night!
We came into work this morning, and then found out that we had the day off. That made me really excited, because there were hardly any patients to see. So, Sherie and I went and had lunch at the resort and then spent some time walking along La Beach. Multiple Ghanaian guys tried to rip us off by making us pay to walk along the beach. We have learned that when a lot of Ghanaians see white skin, they think "stupid" and "money". Sherie and I have grown so tired of people trying to rip us off. Needless to say, after exchanging a few words, we walked along without paying.
I'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning so that I can lounge by the pool before I have to come back and pack in the afternoon. Our flight leaves at 9:55 pm from Accra, so we are leaving for the airport around 6:45 pm. It is about a 6 or 7 hour flight to Amsterdam, and we arrive around 5 am. Then we have a nine hour layover before our flight to Memphis, which leaves at 1:30 pm. From there, it is a ten hour flight to Memphis. After a short layover there, we will finally be back in Mobile around 9 pm on Sunday. First thing on my agenda when I get home....SHOWER!!
Alright, I'm off to buy some fruit to go with the delicious pancakes I am making for dinner. I hope everyone is doing well. I can't wait to see you when I get back!

Much love,

Thursday, March 12, 2009


So, we ran out of water again. We were out for over a day and half before we finally got some. That was not fun! Our fridge has also broken, twice, which means all of our food has spoiled, twice! They don't plan on fixing it anytime soon, so I have been living off of granola bars and pita bread that is going to mold at any second. I can't wait for a good meal!
We went out to dinner last night at a place called Coco Beach. We had dinner (pizza for me!) on the ocean. It was a really great time! The five students from UVA are leaving tonight. The house is going to be empty and lonely with only Sherie and I there for the next couple of days. We are really going to miss everyone!
I have the day off today, but we all came into the hospital this morning, because the staff wanted to present us with gifts. They had fabric embroidered with our names. Everyone has been so sweet and helpful, and it was really thoughtful of them to have something made for us!
We are planning on working tomorrow and then I am going to make some delicious pancakes for dinner. The plan for Saturday is to go to the pool at La Palm all day, and then come back to Manna and pack before we leave for the airport that evening. I can't believe we leave in 2 days! Time has really flown!
I love and miss ya'll!

Much love,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Final Countdown

The final countdown has begun! Only three days until I leave. I am really excited about coming home and seeing everyone. I am DYING for some mexican food, TCBY, and red wine!
I don't have anything super exciting to write about today. We went to the National Cultural Center yesterday and got harrassed by lots of Ghanaians trying to sell us stuff. I bought some gorgeous paintings and got to try some delicious Ghanaian ice cream. I felt bad last night and went to bed early. I got tested again for malaria today, and I don't have it. YAY! It turns out I am just pretty dehydrated, and that explains my headache and fatigue.
I spent the afternoon giving a presentation to the doctors at Manna Mission. We are all about to go a beachside bar to have drinks and celebrate the UVA kids' last night here, and I am super excited!
I hope that you are all having a good week. You have no idea much I miss all of you!

Much love,

Monday, March 9, 2009

Big Hugs

Personally, I think that nothing is better than a really big hug! And, big hugs is just what I have been getting recently. I got to spend Thursday at an orphanage hanging out with about 50 children. It was by far the most wonderful and meaningful experience I have had here in Ghana. The minute I walked through the door, I was bombarded (literally) with hugs from children ranging in age from 1 to 15. They were all so sweet and lovely. They loved playing with my hair and my camera. It was really wonderful to see them all so happy. However, it was definitely very humbling and somewhat sad. I couldn't help but think how lucky I was to have loving and supportive parents. The children at the orphanage had beautiful faces and wonderful personalities, and they are all a victim of circumstance. They deserve just as much as me, or anyone else, to have a family to take care of them. I was glad that I was able to listen to them and give them some much needed affection, even if it was for just a little while.
Sherie and I went over to Manna Mission School on Friday to buy some fabric, and the children there were having their morning recess. All of the school children in Ghana wear uniforms. The Manna uniforms are red and white checks, and the kids look like a little sea of red and white running around everywhere. I decided to take a few minutes and interact with the kids, who were immediately enamored with me because of my light skin and hair. I bent down to talk with one of the little girls, and I asked her to give me a hug. When the other kids heard this, they immediately ran to me and suddenly I was in the middle of a group hug with about 30 six year olds. It was the sweetest thing, and it gave me the greatest feeling! It totally made my day!
After playing with the kids for a bit, we went to the pool at La Palm Resort. It was Ghana's Independce Day and the pool was packed. I always have a fabulous time reading and sipping drinks by the pool, and Friday was no different!
On Saturday morning, the whole crew woke up early and we left for Cape Coast around 5:30 am. We had quite a bit of trouble getting the cab driver to take us to the correct tro-tro station. We always make a point of asking the cab drivers before we get in if they know how to get to the place we are going. They inevitably ALWAYS tell you yes. Then, about 15 mintues into the drive, they always turn to you and say, "tell me which way to go". This is beyond frustrating. How are we supposed to know how to get around the crazy dirt roads in Ghana?!
We finally made it to Cape Coast around 9:30 am. Sherie and I spent the day laying by the pool and the ocean. It was really sunny and really hot. By 3:30 or so, we both realized that we were burnt to a crisp, so we went back to our hotel and sat by the ocean and had drinks. We had dinner there, and I managed to stuff down an entire pizza and an order of french fries. During dinner, we watched some tradional African dancers. After dinner, we went to the nightclub upstairs from the restaurant. Apparently, it is the best place to go in Cape Coast. We had a blast dancing with the Ghanaians!
The place that we stayed was on the beach, but was far from glamorous. There was one communal shower outside and two outside toilets. We crammed four people into our dirty room with two sleeping on the floor. It was an interesting experience for me. I'll leave it at that.
We came back from Cape Coast on Sunday and Sherie and I went to the La Trade Fair. It is basically like a big flea market. Soon after we got there, the sky fell out and it began raining incredibly hard. Sherie and I got soaked! I was dripping wet and my feet and legs were nasty from tromping through ankle high water (think rain water mixed with sewage) in flip flops. It was actually really fun, though!
The power was out for most of the night last night when we got home. We also ran out of water again, but luckily I had already taken a shower!
I am super excited because I am starting my final week of medical school today! I can't believe it. I have been so caught up thinking about Ghana and Match Day, that it had not occured to me that I will officially be done with med school on Friday! I am also really looking forward to coming home. Only five days until I leave!
-Health Update: I am feeling pretty well, especially in comparison to most of the others here. Sherie and one other girl have malaria. Two girls have typhoid fever. I just want to stay healthy until Saturday!
I hope that you are all doing well. I love you and miss you!

Much love,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Public Urination

It is definitely time that I address the problem of public urination here in Ghana. No one needs to see you pee in public...Ever! (Well, I could possibly forgive someone who suffered incontinence.) People here are constantly peeing in the road, on the side of the road, on the beach, you name it! And I am not just talking about men, it is women and children, too. You can't go anywhere without seeing a man unzip his pants and just start urinating. The women just lift their dresses and go to town, as well. These people make no attempt to find somewhere even semi-private. It is insanity! The final straw for me was this afternoon when our cab driver just swerved off the side of the highway, got out of the car, and peed right there in front of us!
Okay, enough talk of urine. You would probably rather I update you on what I have been doing. I went to a church service here at Manna Mission on Sunday. I honestly cannot come up with words good enough to describe the experience. I arrived at 9 am.....I left at 12:15 pm, and the service was not even over yet! I decided that 3 hours and 15 minutes was my limit for watching women fall over in the aisles, screaming and shaking frantically. At first I was quite intrigued and entertained, but after a while it got pretty old! I am glad I had the chance to see what a service was like here in Ghana, but I don't think I will be going to another any time soon!
Something must have gotten into me on Sunday, because that evening I made pancakes for everyone for dinner. Yes, I cooked! And it actually tasted good! In case you were wondering, no, I did not set anything on fire. However, by the time I was done, I had pancake batter from head to toe. No shocker there!
In other exciting news, we ran out of water last night. I used a bottle of water to wash my face and brush my teeth last night and this morning. While doing so, I made a promise to never take running water for granted again! I am really looking forward to a shower tonight.
New tidbits:
-There is trash everywhere. You really can't get away from it. People just drop their trash on the side of the streets, or by their shack. It is pretty gross. The sewage system here consists of two and a half foot ditches along some of the roads. They are completely open, and nasty green stuff and trash flow through them. You can also sometimes find a goat walking through there or a child laying in one!
-There is always a fire burning somewhere near. I find this a little disturbing considering it is so hot and dry here. It is a huge brush fire just waiting to happen.
-I go buy bananas and pineapple almost every day from the fruit lady near the hospital. She speaks little English, and every single time I stop by she tells me "long time". I find this very odd, because its often only 24 hrs between visits. I like her, though, because she always grins really widely and puts an extra banana in my bag!
Well, I hope that everyone had a lovely weekend. I leave in 12 days! Time flies! I love and miss ya'll!

Much love,

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Malaria Free is the Way To Be!

Super dorky title, I know, but I am in a super dorky mood today! The good news of the day is that I don't have malaria. I started feeling bad last night when I went to bed, and I didn't sleep at all. I felt really crappy this morning and was having some dull achy pains in my stomach and back. Dr. Akosua insisted that I get tested for malaria. I went over to the lab and Prosper was nice enough to test me, even though the lab was closed for the day. I was a giant baby when he stuck me to get blood, and I screamed. The Ghanaian people here are very stoic, especially the women, so he got a good laugh!
Sherie and I kept with our plans and went to the resort after work yesterday. It was heavenly to lay by the pool all afternoon and drink tequila sunrises. I spent most of my time in the water because it was so hot, but I was able to finish yet another book. After the sun went down, we got dressed up and headed to dinner. Sherie laughed at me when I came out of the bathroom wearing a dress and heels, with my hair and make-up done. We had dinner at the resorts open air restaurant on the ocean. It was super nice, by Ghanaian standards, and we had a great time. I ordered grilled chicken, and was super excited about it, until I got it and realized it was all dark meat. I tried to eat it, but all I could think of were the nasty chickens clucking along the side of the road here. So, I devoured every last one of my french fries! I felt so sorry for our cab driver on the way back home after dinner. It is about a 35 minute drive, and he had to listen to Sherie and I singing along to my ipod at the top of our lungs the entire way back. I felt so bad for him that we almost paid him extra just for putting up with us, but he didn't seem too upset.
I had the chance to go to a Ghanaian wedding this afternoon. It was supposed to start at 12:30, but didn't really start until about 1:30, which is totally typical here. It was held inside the church here at Manna Mission. The service was really long, but I had a fabulous time! I couldn't help but think the whole time how much Corie would have enjoyed seeing it. There was lots of music, dancing, singing, and worshiping. It was such a different experience from a regular American wedding. There were people raising their arms in praise, people dancing down the aisles, and people shouting out good wishes at the couple throughout the ceremony. I am sure that some Americans would have found this to be rude, but I thought it was an energetic and delightful experience!
We have plans to go into Osu tomorrow to browse and shop. We will probably have a low key night tonight since Sherie and I lived it up last night!
Assorted thoughts for today:
-If you walk out and about on the dirt roads after dark, you can see tons of little children stripped down naked and taking their daily bath with a bucket and a cloth outside their shacks.
-They sell hair weave on the side of the street everywhere. It cracks me up.
Anyways, I hope that everyone is having a nice weekend. I love and miss ya'll!

Much love,