Akwaaba!!

Hello again! So my flight was about 6 hours long and boy, did they feed us well. Within minutes of being up in the air, we were offered cashews and a drink. Shortly after, we were given another drink and warm lavender towelettes to wash our hands. Overall, I had 5 drinks of tonic water, apple juice, bottles of water, and coffee twice. No wonder I had to go to the bathroom so much! My favorite part was the cinnamon roll snack we were offered 1.5 hours before landing. I ended up watching a cute Peruvian movie called A los cuarenta. It was very similar to Death At A Funeral but instead of a funeral, it was a class reunion.

When I arrived, one of the first things I noticed was that the windows got all foggy, so then I knew it was going to be warm outside…we got off the plane and were taken by buses to the terminal where I saw the sign Akwaaba, which means welcome in Twi, the most commonly spoken language around Ghana. The lady at customs started speaking to me in Twi and I looked a bit bewildered haha. She ended up calling me obroni, which means white person. I proceeded to laugh and said, yes, I am very white. She paused for a moment and then said, “that’s okay.” It took about 30 minutes to get through customs and then about 20 minutes to get my suitcases. I must admit that I was a little anxious that my suitcases, I.e. A travel backpack and a red suitcase, were not going to arrive because I kept waiting and waiting. They did though!

Nora picked me up and told me about regions in Ghana and the languages that I will hear. She was so welcoming and helpful. We met Dr. Charles, who came with his car, and we went out to eat and had a dish called jollof rice, which is a spicy rice and chicken dish. I was very impressed with my first Ghanaian meal. I also tried a beer beverage with African spices called Orijin. It tasted kind of like Fernet from Argentina.

We went home and I did some unpacking, took a shower and fell asleep. I did did wake up once in the night a bit claustrophobic with the heat, but I adjusted and fell back asleep.

This morning I woke up around 6 am and got ready for my first day at the hospital. Nora have me a full tour of the entire hospital and introduced me to new faces in all of the departments I will be rotating through. I got to work with one doctor who had me do chart review and then we saw the patients and discussed the medicine and management of the patients. For example, we saw a child with bronchopneumonia, a case of neonatal jaundice, a child with sickle cell crisis, to name a few.

Mortality and morbidity meeting will be on Wednesday, which, like in the U.S., is an opportunity to discuss difficult cases of child deaths and analysis of ways to prevent future deaths. I think this will be very enlightening to me and my education in global health.

After the hospital, Nora took me to buy a few dresses and to get some groceries for dinner tonight. I ended up making lentils with fresh carrots, onions, and garlic in curry sauce. My most favorite memory from today was the lady at the vegetable stand who used a machete to separate the curry packets. It seemed a little overkill but it made me chuckle. I also learned that the best way to bargain is to look completely uninterested in whatever product they are selling. If they sense you want it at all, you will pay double the price even if negotiating. Last but not least, Nora had never tried lentils before today, so it was neat to be able to see her try them.

Well this is enough for today! My bed

My first meal in Ghana. Dr. Charles is so generous :)
My first meal in Ghana. Dr. Charles is so generous 🙂
Take a bite out of the corner and start drinking :)
Take a bite out of the corner and start drinking 🙂

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