Visiting several clinics, as well as having several guest lectures that provided information on the many different facets of the Ghanaian health and belief system, provided me with a new experience of truly conceptualizing how health works in a foreign culture, as well as an idea of how international and public health work really is.
As a future public health professional interested in global health and education, conducting community-based research on malaria has given me a tremendous advantage in terms of hands-on experience.
My experience in Africa will be with me for the rest of my life. The children I worked with had such a love for life that many people back home had seemed to forget. They made you appreciate every single little thing in your life.
In Kumasi we got to see how men made kente cloth, see where the old Kings and Queens of Ghana lived, and learn African dances.
We didn't have running water, rolling black outs were common, we ate unfamiliar food, and through it all, I don't think the group ever wanted to be anywhere else.
We stopped by a Kente Cloth shop on our way back from Kumasi where we had visited one of the few teaching hospitals in Ghana and had bought pure Shea butter from the largest open air market in West Africa.
They have such a passion for dance, music, food, friends, family and interaction. Things that have been so lost here with the development of electronics.
My experience in Ghana has only convinced me that this nation, and possibly Africa in general, is well on its way to becoming an economic and cultural powerhouse in the world, quite without the help of foreigners who think they know better.
I left Ghana with my both eyes opening to Africa (that it is not only a beautiful landscape with poverty or an endless effort to make a change). I strongly believe now that change is a guaranteed possibility.
During this time, I became more aware of my connection to the world around me. The warmth and genuine interactions of the people I met in Ghana made me realize how disconnected we can be from the people, places and things around us in the United States.
These opportunities lead to me to the decision of pursuing international social work. Now I will like to get my dual masters in Social Work and Public Health.
The hospitality and sincerity displayed by so many of the people I met in Ghana is unmatched to the various populaces I’ve seen in my previous travels. I fully understand why the country is affectionately reported to be the friendliest.
Study abroad challenges you in many ways. It takes you out of your comfort zone and has you live an experience.
I remember exactly how I felt when I stepped off the bus in Aburi and heard the sound of the drums playing. I felt that my heart began to dance and I was filled with so much energy. I love music, but I have never heard music that elicited such a strong response from my body.
On this particular day, the teacher was not at the orphanage, so the other interns and I had to help the older children with their schoolwork. Bono and I worked on reading and practicing how to pronounce words correctly in English. We spent two hours reading through books, and I felt as though I was truly making an impact on his education and reading abilities. His face would light up with the brightest smile when he was able to read an entire sentence.
These young passionate learners had so much to offer the world. The children at B.A.S.I.C.S. International were truly inspiring. They lived in one of the most poverty stricken fishing communities, however, they were so enthusiastic about life. They strived to succeed in any way possible and I was there (along with many other volunteers) to help them accomplish those dreams.
One event that gave an everlasting memory of Ghana in my mind was when we went to a ceremony in a town called Aburi. We went to meeting the Chief of Aburi and ask his permission to enter into his town. As soon as we stepped off the bus we were greeted with the sounds of loud drums and women singing a greeting song to welcome us.