Today I present my feeble attempt at beginning a blog. I must preface this endeavor with a few things: (1) I can’t promise regular updates, as internet in Ghana is unpredictable and free time to blog seems hard to come by. (2) I seem to be losing my creative writing capabilities as undergo my metamorphosis into a scientist, so readers must forgive me for that. And (3) I do not normally enjoy writing for the reading pleasure of others, but I have found this endeavor to be important, as I wish to keep up with all my friends and family and have found it impossible in the past two weeks to do so. Therefore, blog it is. I also appreciate all of the inquiries I have gotten and messages I have received from back in the States. Hearing from friends and family made my first week here even better.
I do not know where to start, nor do I have time to write about everything I have seen and experienced this first week. To be honest, I think it would take me well over a month to type an update about my first week here. For tonight, in the ten minutes before I hit the hay, I will offer a summary of a normal weekday.
The sun rises here around 5:30 AM, so I typically rise with it. I have a window in my room that opens to the east, which is perfect. I dress for the day, grab my coffee cup, Bible and book, and make my way to the table that sits in a room open to the front “yard.” I pour myself some tea, cut a piece of bread (for which I bought some jam at the market last weekend – a taste of the U.S.) and enjoy the cool morning for a while. Usually I see my new Swiss friend Cecile leave with the school bus to pick up the children. We stay at the Esaase School and Orphanage in the small village of Esaase, very close to downtown Kumasi. I will tell more of her and Mr. Boateng, our host, when I have more time. They are both fantastic.
Usually around 7:45 AM Mr. Boateng or his son Guy is ready to take me to Mount Sinai Hospital, where I have been spending the majority of my time in Ghana.
The drive is about 3-5 minutes, and we go through the village of Akrompong (I will have to check on the spelling). My first 2 weeks I am stationed at the Males Ward, so I make my way there and help the morning nurses clean and set up for the day. I stay in that ward until somewhere between 12:30 and 2:00 PM, when I take my lunch. I will have to tell more about lunch. Actually, shouldn’t take long – lunch is always the same! I cannot believe it has only been a week and I’m missing real American food! It is either rice or banku with some type of sauce or stew. The food isn’t at all bad, it’s actually pretty delicious. I guess I always took for granted the fact that my Mom wouldn’t make the same meat, vegetable, or side dish for dinner or lunch within three days of having it!
After lunch, I head back to the Males Ward where I help administer medicine, do patient records, or take BP and temperature of the 8-10 patients in the ward. Richard, the head nurse at the hospital, usually calls for me between 2:30 and 4 PM to accompany him and Dr. Essien on rounds. There are a total of 4 wards in the hospital: Males, Females, Children, and Maternity. I follow Dr. Essien as he talks to each of his patients and explains their condition and treatment to the nurses and me. When rounds are through, I call Mr. Boateng or Guy to pick me up. I say this is a typical day at the hospital, but I have only had one or two days that consist of what I have presented. Most days have exciting cases, surgeries, or conversations that I cannot cover at the current time. They will come.
I return to the school maybe around 5 PM, although it has been as late as 6:30, and catch Cecile to go for a run. We’ve been finding new routes to avoid the Tro-Tro’s and crazy drivers that take these small bumpy roads pretty fast. We usually run for 30-60 minutes and call it a day.
When we get back, dinner is waiting for us, and it is always exciting when rice or oil is not included. We eat together, sometimes with Mr. Boateng, and the children are usually swimming in the pool out front or crowding around us. It is a joy to be loved by so many kids!
I usually have my chance at the internet in the evenings after dinner. I get enough time to catch up on important e-mails and possibly post a few pictures on facebook. Unfortunately, I am out of time tonight, and must hit the hay. Long day ahead of me tomorrow – after work at the hospital we are going to meet the chief of Esaase!