Our first encounter when we arrived to Ghana was meeting our host in Accra. Appiah was waiting for us as we walked out of the airport. Through our stay with him before and after our volunteer duties he has been nothing but kind. He welcomed us into our home and made sure we had everything we needed. We volunteered at a hospital in Dunkwa-On-Offin. Dr. and Mrs. Nawaane own the hospital we worked at. They housed us in their hospital for our duration of the volunteer trip. Being in a private hospital in Ghana was very eye opening. The health care provided here does not always correlate with the standards back in the United States.
We met many new friends along the way that enriched our experience here in Ghana. Appiah and Ben from Elghana were extremely hospitable. The employees at the hospital were extremely welcoming and the extended family brought us in with open arms. We didn’t have an exact set schedule but everything ended up working in our favor. We went for an excursion with Mrs. Nawaane’s son Jedidiah to Cape Coast. This day had to have been my favorite because we were able to spend time with our new friend Jedidiah, visit the Cape Coast Castle and see Kakum National Park. When we arrived back to Accra it was great to see Appiah’s smiling face waiting for us.
When we arrived in Dunkwa-On-Offin we were brought to Dr. and Mrs. Nawaane’s house to meet them. They had us take a tour of the hospital. All the staff were friendly once they started talking to us. We worked mostly in the female ward for the duration of our trip. We witnessed deliveries and were able to see how they run their day as nurses. We did ward rounds with the doctor and listened into information given. After ward rounds was when the nurses would start administering the medication. We were also able to shadow the visiting doctors in the consultation room and in the theatre. It was great to talk with the doctors because they were very knowledgeable about disease process unlike the nurses who weren’t able to explain. I felt I had a shock factor from watching the nurses clinical practice but learned the most from the doctors.
In Accra, Appiah was AWESOME! He was so welcoming and kind. In Dunkwa-On-Offin, it seemed some things weren’t communicated. We thought Dr. and Mrs. Nawaane would be very involved in our stay there and we barely saw them. They were very kind and helpful upon request. Mrs. Nawaane’s son Jedidiah was the most helpful. He became a very good friend of ours. We hung out with him most of the time. We also met a lot of the family, house help and hospital staff. Their company made us feel at home. Our room in Dunkwa was large enough but our bathroom ended out broken. We luckily only had to use another bathroom for a couple nights. The traditional Ghanaian dishes were different then we are use to. We didn’t particularly like FuFu. We ate a lot of rice and vegetables with chicken. We requested for seafood. I ended up getting travelers diarrhea and luckily had a prescription that my doctor gave me for just that. My body hasn’t really tolerated the food all that well. Our meal schedule was not set in Dunkwa. They told us breakfast was at 8, but we had to be in the hospital waiting for the doctor who wouldn’t show up sometimes until 930-1000. By that time we weren’t going to leave because we would miss a lot of things. We went for lunch everyday and by the end of the 2 weeks Grandma finally knew the portions to give us. It is extremely difficult because the Ghanaians serve so much food and we are not use to that. When we couldn’t finish the food we felt like we were disrespectful. Then for dinner we didn’t really go and get it because our stomachs could barely tolerate some of the food. Jedidiah took us to Cape Coast which was an amazing adventure. I would recommend that to everyone. We also were able to attend the presidents funeral ceremony in Dunkwa with Mrs. Nawaane. That was amazing to see. It was basically a huge party. Mrs. Nawaane also took us to University of Cape Cost because she had an assignment to turn in. All in all we had a good experience.
Leading up to the trip we were able to get all our questions answered. The problem was we didn’t know which questions to ask. There are definitely some supplies that I would recommend to bring which we didn’t even think to ask about. During our trip we had a phone and could call our host family as well as our host in Accra. They checked up on us often. They truly care about our safety which made us feel very secure. I think that it would be great to connect past volunteers with future volunteers so that they can learn from each other and share their experiences so the new volunteer will know a little bit more what to expect.