Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home, Safe and Sound

We are all back from Africa safely with relatively few bug bites. We are enjoying the hot showers and constant electricity that the States has to offer. Now its back to the daily grind and getting our data analyzed and published (hopefully).

We miss our friends we made in Ghana and will always have vivid memories of this experience.

Thanks to all who read and kept up on our adventures!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

...and then there was one

This post could easily be titled "Where is your sister?" because that's what I've been asked all day today! Courtney left early this morning so now it's just me. Kinda weird being in Ghana solo.

Our last day at BASICS was a lot of fun. We truly were honored with the good-bye the staff and the students gave us. They brought in a cake, which apparently is a rare event, and some of the students got up and publicly thanked us in front of the other students. We received the traditional "Chorkor" shirts that were presented by some of the students. Then they children all broke out into African song and dance. A great ending to a great trip!

It's been fun being in Ghana during the World Cup as well. Everyone is really into football and the games are always being played- even in the street! In Osu, the main street was blocked off and they had a large big screen and a crowd watching Nigeria play Argentina. It should be a real experience when Ghana plays tomorrow. I desperately hope they win so I can see the craziness.

It's off to Nigeria for the week come Monday. We will see what adventures Nigeria has to offer. I am grateful for the hospitality of the Gowon family as they have invited me to stay as a guest in their home.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Last Days

Yesterday, we taught our very last lesson about HIV to the children at BASICS. Today, we administer our post-program survey. Reflecting back on the work we have done, we feel pretty proud! It’s clear the students have been interested in the things we have been teaching them- we are often asked, “when do we learn about HIV again?” We feel the hard work we have done to put this program together has paid off. To top it off, the Associate Dean of our college has even asked us to submit an article for the alumni newsletter about our project and that’s pretty flattering.

We don’t know if we will ever fully understand the impact that we have had on the children of BASICS but hope that they have gleaned something from our program and stop the spread of HIV. We hope that they will take the knowledge they’ve gained and share it with others in this poor community.

This has been the ultimate learning experience for us in terms of truly understanding how forming a research experiment and carrying it out works. We know there are many mistakes that we can correct in the future, but without this opportunity, we may never had understood the details that often get overlooked.

We are looking forward to coming home and having constant electricity, running water, and not having to ride the tro tros!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Last Weekend in Ghana

It’s been a while since we have blogged, so we figured it was about time to provide an update on all our adventures. We actually haven’t been to the internet cafÈ for some time. Things on the HIV education side of things are going really well. We have only one more day of actual intervention before we administer the post-program survey. It’s crazy knowing we are almost finished here! Last week we taught the students how to use condoms. The students were surprisingly mature and well behaved through the entire lesson. Below are some pictures of intervention. This weekend we traveled to Kokrobite Beach. It wouldn’t be Ghana without some type of travesty with our travel transportation. We were supposed to leave on Friday night, but when we saw the line of 50 plus people long all waiting for the same tro tro we knew it might be a while. After 45 minutes of waiting, and still no tro tro in sight, we bagged the idea and decided to go in the morning. Instead we treated ourselves to a nice Italian dinner in Osu. The following morning we got up early, and with relative ease, made it to Korkrobite. We stayed at Big Milly’s Backyard, which we were highly impressed with. We spent a lot of time at the beach reading our books and getting a little sunburned. It was a nice relaxing break from the city. The only downfall of Big Milly’s was the small double sized bed we shared and the mesh curtain separating the bedroom and the bathroom. Needless to say, we are getting quite comfortable with each other. We met some other travelers who have a sweet Land Rover they drove from England and are touring the world for the next 6 years. Their set up seemed pretty intense and it made us dream of doing more traveling. Courtney leaves in less than a week and Lori is off to Nigeria shortly after. We can’t believe how time has flown here in Ghana. Things are beginning to feel like “home” here. We are starting to get anxious for the things we are missing in the States and have taken the liberty to finally starting dreaming of those things (prior to this point, it would have just been depressing). Anyway, we will keep you posted on our final adventures!

Again, thanks for all the donations. This is us with the Kindergarten (KG) group with their new t-shirts! They were so excited!!!

Teaching condom use

Our Ghanaian skirts and dresses. Lori is wearing a fairly common style.

Kokrobite Beach. All the African boys were running around swimming naked and the sandy butts were hilarious.

Kokrobite Beach

Learning how to use condoms!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Evening Out

Yesterday we went out to "Two for One Pizza Night" with one of our co-workers, Charles. He is planning on obtaining his Master's degree from a university in Connecticut, so we were able to talk about all the differences between countries and had some good laughs about each other's perceptions. For example, he was in awe that we have constant electricity. We were surprised to find out that goldfish for a meal is considered a delicacy. The "nicest" bus we have seen here would be considered the worst quality of vehicle in the United States- he was shocked about that. We found it hysterical that our tro tro had to get a push start, but Charles acted as if it was a normal routine procedure. Clearly we are learning lots about the world around us. Charles has also agreed to take a look at the dysfunctional jump drive in hopes to fix it. Hopefully that means more pictures to come!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Bon Appetit!

We have established some favorites and some not-so-favorites of Ghanaian food. We wanted to post some pictures of the various foods we've eaten, but the dumb jump drive we went out of our way to purchase got corrupted, so now we are unable to transfer photos again. (We may have a third back-up plan, but that has yet to be determined).

Some of our favorites:
  • Kelewele (fried plantain with a special spicy seasoning)
  • Red Red (a type of bean dish sometimes served with chicken)
  • Fried Plantain (always our back up plan if there is gross lunch at the center)
  • Fan Ice (basically frozen chocolate milk)
  • Fruit- bananas, pineapple, mango
  • Avocado (the pits alone are the size of the large avocados in the States)
Some of our least favorites:
  • Banku (a strange mix of pounded maize)
  • Fish soup (Banku is usually served in this)
  • Rice ball (served in a peanut soup)
We don't dare try fufu or kente because we hear they are basically like Banku.

In order to protect ourselves from having to eat Banku again, Lori asks the cook daily what the meal is for the following day. She then passes the information on to all the other obruni so they can plan accordingly for lunch. This has become quite the joke for all the locals at the center.

We basically eat Ghanaian food all week so on the weekend we utilize our ability to seek out Western food. The pizza and hamburgers definitely aren't as quality in taste as what we eat in the States, but it gives us a good break from the 4-5 staple meals they eat here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Bebeni is the Twi word for black person. This is as black as we get! We got our hair braided in order to prevent having to wash our hair in the bucket day after day. We think we look ridiculous but the Ghanaians keep telling us our hair is beautiful. Keep your mouth shut if you disagree.