Everyone arrived safe and sound to home base. Now for our first Ghanaian meal and some R&R!
Ghana VS. USA
Ghana and the United States specifically the parts that I am familiar with make for an interesting comparison.
An example of a difference between the two is how people react to and hald, death. From my experience I believe Americans have sad tear jerking funerals with family and friends. However Ghanaians throw happy, loud funerals with drums and dancing. In Ghana death results in a celebration of the dead’s life. The difference between how two cultures deal with the same event fascinates me. Also, I have noticed that Americans are much less resourceful than Ghanaians. IN the USA we drink a bottle for water then throw it away, package candy individually just for convenience, shower for way too long, and leave the TV running all day. In Ghana the water bottles are reused, water conserved and TV turned off to save electricity. Us Americans tend to take our resources for granted. Ghana and the USA also have similarities, arguably more than differences. They sare values like caring for family and working hard, They also both take proud in their environment and the nature around them. Furthermore, both have an emphasis on community and socializing with others individually, My trip to Gita, Ghana from Seattle, USA has taught me that even countries which appear polar opposites have similarities that overpower their differences.
Jasper is a beast. Never have I met someone who can do hard work at the rate he does. Known as, “Amega” (boss man), Jasper leads Danesh, Rain and I to glory as we come closer to finishing the compost toilet for the community. After hours of working as beads of sweat rolled down Jasper’s face, I begged him to take a break, but he refused, and continued to lead a one-man show. His determination and commitment to finishing the project is inspiring. He motivates us all through his intense as fiery spirit, his forgiving and accepting attitude, and his occasional goofy dancing, to be leaders and better people. Jasper never gives up, never gives in, and never breaks down. His generosity of spirit and laughter has drawn everyone from the work site to him, and continues to amaze me day after day. Jasper truly is a beast.
Though lacking monetary wealth the people of Ghana are wealthy in ways first world citizens do not often experience. My first experience with Ghanaians was on the plane ride to Accra. The plane filled with people who carried US passports the proud name of Ghana, was the most pleasant flight I have ever taken. The passengers were kind in helping me a young solo flyer, and enthusiastic in our landing on the beautiful country. SInce this landing, I have met all kinds of people, each unique in many ways but similar in the joyful, kind hearted demeanor. Walking down the street, children sing to us, “Yavv Yavv Gaibo”, and adults staff greetings, “Mia Werzo”. The staff go out of their way to make every student comfortable. Though with a language barrier, some people might be quick to give up on communication, I have yet to meet a Ghanian that did not at least five me an enthusiastic wave. The people here in Ghana are never to busy to exchange a friendly smile and a humble greeting. The people of Ghana are what I will miss the most about this beautiful country.
In the first few days of our adventure to Ghana we have all grown in multiple ways. From Jed’s stomach growing to our emotional strength becoming stronger we have all been changing on way or another in our time in Ghana. Today we visited a slave fort, a very narrowing experience. We learned about the horrors that slaves endured by the , first Dutch, then British, Keta slave fort. We also got to witness some pretty incredible thing at the slave fort as well. We saw and touched a whale’s vertebrae, we also saw a skeleton of a sea turtle. Our experience at the Keta SLave fort also gave us a different perspective to see the slave from. We were able to compare what we saw to how we heard about it and were taught about the Slave Trade in the USA. Over all the Keta slave fort xperience helped to deepen our understanding of Ghana and the slave trade. The experience helped us to grow and more knowledgeable today and I am sure that this was not the last of our growths.
Ohhh Ghana… What do I say? After a 10 hour flight I entered your country with a tired mind, body, and soul. Nevertheless, I was awoken by your liveliness. As we hoped into the van we embarked on our first journey as a group. The ride from your airport in Accra to our homease in Deita was around 3 hours, As the wheels began to turn I felt myself began to turn I felt myself beginning to wake up. Immediately, I was embraced with warm smiles and waves only with the right hand of course that made me feel safe, welcomed home. I was told by our group mentor that here in Ghana you say hello and wave to those you pass, even from within a van, That here, taking that extra step to greet someone in not only expected and polite, but normal. Immediately I felt a smile spread across my face. I was safe, welcomed home. As we continued down the Ghanaian road, I was woken up by the views of everyday life… GOATS!!!! CHICKENS!!!! DOGS!!! All running, walking, lounging besides the road. Their BAA”s and Barks all adding to the mixtape of voices saying “welcome! You’re home!” My eyes became fixated on the street vendors, their products ranging from detailed colored clothing, to ground nuts. The women, men and children carried baskets on their heads filled with goods, fruit, and other necessities. I saw school kids, their faces lighting up with warm smiles as our van drove by. “YAHOO, YAHOO, YAHOO!!” they would yell. We returned the smile and added on a wave. When we pulled into the “meet me there lodge” I was once again presented with the same loving feelings that the streets, vendors, people and of course the goats had given me. I was welcomed, safe, and home. I was finally fully awake.
One of the most memorable evening activities I experienced while in Ghana was the introduction to Ghana health care system given by a local nurse named ROse. We learned the structure of the healthcare system beginning with a local hospital director, then a district director, regional director and the head of the system is the director general. The director general supervises all the medications coming into Ghana and the regional director. The regional director oversees the district director and the district director supervises all the local hospitals in the district.
The health care system also dictates when hospitals an injured person would go to. Local hospitals only take care of minor injuries and childbirths and mainly carry basic medication. At the district level most broken bones can be placed in casts and more serious injuries can be treated. Only D hospitals in Ghana can handle and treat almost all injuries. These hospitals are also given stronger medication that can only be prescribed by doctors.
Another interesting part of the lesson were the similarities between vaccinations in the US and Ghana. For example polio, MMR, Typhoid and Turnus vaccinations are given in both countries. However, Ghana also gives a yellow fever vaccine with the MMR. I was most surprised by the fact that until a child turns 3 years old all the vaccinations given at birth until 9 months are free. Learning how the health system works made me want to know about my own country’s. I also think learning about the levels of organisation in the health system and similar vaccinations made me realize that regardless of a country’s economic status they can still provide an adequate health system