Entries tagged with “Ghana Africa” from Nursing Students Without Borders

After our meeting with the minister’s chief director we board our bus again and we began driving to our next destination of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.  The traffic is stopped ahead and our driver who is following the lead of our truck in front of us, decides to go over the curb into the oncoming 2 lanes of opposing traffic.  The passenger in the truck is frantically waving to the oncoming cars to get out of “our way” so we can drive ahead to our destination.  I was too busy watching my life pass in front of my eyes to take out my camera and get a video of this adventure.  

Well, I am writing to you now so you must know that we arrived safe and sound at our next destination.  We toured the Mausoleum which is a lovely tribute to the first President of Ghana when the country became a republic in 1961.  Our tour guide tells us that he was removed from office around 1966 in a coup d’etat that was secretly supported by our own USA CIA.  I don’t know if that is true but the fact that I see only one photo of President Nkrumah with JFK and multiple pictures of him with Fidel Castro then I suspect there could be some truth in this fact.  

It is an impressive site that also contains the headless and handless statue of this president that was partially destroyed during the coup d’etat.  It has some eerie resemblance in my mind of the statue of Saddam Hussein that was destroyed by soldiers during the invasion of Iraq. This Ghanaian president was obviously loved and respected and when he died his remains where brought to this park (that used to be a British polo field where no Blacks were ever allowed to walk on).  We also saw his car, a bulletproof American Cadillac that sits out in the hot African sun.  The display in the museum and the car are interesting but seem to be in dire need of some good museum conservation to keep the exhibit viable.  There are signs of aging of the photos and not much appears to be done in terms of archival preservation.  We also do a drive by of the Parliament and the massive conference center and parade grounds.  

Kwadwo has rejoined our group and he has taken our personal funds and exchanged them for Ghanaian cedis.  The exchange rate is not bad 1 USD to1.4 cedis.  We finally have some money to buy some water and food.  My task was to divide the over $3000 in Ghanaian money (mostly 1’s and 5’s) into even piles of $280 each.  The one mistake I did was to count this money in the rear seat of a moving bus.  For those who know me you know I am extremely sensitive to motion sickness, especially in the back of vehicles.

We arrived at our restaurant which was a bountiful buffet of all the Ghanaian foods that the students wanted to try.  Some of the students love the food others are less than enthused but it is an opportunity to experience some of the culture.   After a quick trip (thru the endless traffic of Accra) we go to the Mall to purchase a cell phone so the students can call home and some water for our day tomorrow.  We will be journeying to Kpando and the students will leave the bustling city of Accra and see the rural area of the Volta Region.  We are scheduled to work at 2 different blood pressure clinics tomorrow.

Everyone is weary so we head back to our hotel for a nice cold drink and a suitcase supper.  A suitcase supper is made up of snacks that were brought by us to Ghana.  Our land package does not include meals so we are trying to economize and eat some of our snacks as meals.  Many of us are still full from the food we had earlier today.   Back at the hotel we experience a blackout for an hour or so and we are told that this is a regular occurrence.  All the students are prepared with flashlights.  We now have running water and the air conditioner is working so life is pretty good here tonight.  Jet lag has really caught up to us so we are going to bed a bit earlier today.  Tomorrow will be a busy day!

Today started with a loud tapping on my door at 6 am.  Kwadwo’s wife Sylvia was waking me up about an hour earlier than I had expected. Oh well, guess I will function on 3 hours of sleep today. I was unsure about our breakfast arrangements so I finished my ˝ leftover turkey sandwich I had bought 2 days ago at Panera.  I was hoping I would not get salmonella but if I did I rationalized that it was probably “American” salmonella. 

We all met at the hotel restaurant and I had a glass of OJ and the girls were very pleased that coffee and tea where available.  The owners of this hotel called the Samartine Hotel are very friendly and accommodating.  They have just finished years of work on this hotel and opened last week.  I think we are one of the first guests.  The sheets on my bed are brand new and the place is immaculate.  It is a nice change from some of the previous hotels/guest houses we have stayed in and I would very highly recommend that you check out this hotel if you are in need of affordable, yet clean hotel rooms.    Ok, enough of my commercial but the proprietors, Sam and Martine, are such lovely people I had to give them a shout out.

After breakfast we loaded onto our 25 seat bus (also a huge improvement in the Tro Tros that we used last year).  Off we go for a day of sightseeing and a meeting with the Minister of Education.  We had hoped to meet up with the University of Ghana students today but they are all on Christmas break so we will try to connect at the end of our trip.  We drove through the campus.  It is quite large and covers many acres of prime land overlooking the city of Accra. There are many academic departments and it is a frequent choice amongst students from neighboring countries.  

The campus is impressive but we hear stories about the living conditions for the students and the UML students realize how good they have it at UML.  Often there are 6-8 students sharing one dorm room with many bunk beds.  We ask our friend Mawuli who is attending there in his last year of a BS in Social Work, how much the tuition is a year.   He reports $500 per year.  Ummmm… I could save a lot of money and send Jimmy here. 

After our drive through the campus we drive to the site where the Minister of Education works.  He is a very important man and he has written an official letter of support for our group and that is not very often done.  I believe he has interest in our trip and has agreed to meet with us. He was unable to meet with us so we meet with his Chief Director, Mr. Dannyo. 

After brief introductions by all the students and myself we review our  itinerary with the him.  He appears impressed by the type of experiences we have planned.  The students ask him some very relevant questions and we present him with one of our blue NSWB polo shirts and a copy of the UML Magazine article that was written by Karen Angelo last Spring about our trip in 2009.  We also have given him some medicine that have brought with us as a sample of some of the supplies that we have carried into Ghana to deliver to the underserved people in our clinics.  He is also impressed by this little “freebie” gift of multivitamins, ranitidine, loratadine and Advil.  He reports it is the first time he has ever gotten free medicine. 

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