没想到世界有这么大。 过海，在一个新世界。 我很累。 昨晚没有睡好。不知道我家人和朋友现在在做什么。虽然只有过了不到一天，我很想念我爸，还有很想念我前男友。为什么，我不太知道。楚国半天，已经让我想了好多人，心事，等。我出生在这个世界上一定是有道理的。我很想用这个机会来找我自己，而且也可以学到好多东西。我还有到指定的地方，但是我很开心。 我一定挥拍好多照片。从小到大，我父母没有让我受到任何困难。我一看到那里的人一定会让我哭。通常，人们不会想到他们所有的东西。每一个人都在想他们要的。为什么我们不可以想到，我们已经有好多了，有些人什么都没有。
Had a long day today but it went by pretty fast. Got to work all day at the clinic in pharmacy making sure we pack the right meds for each patient. It was very educational being able to learn all the names for the most common diseases in Accra. I learned a lot in every station that I’ve been in, but pharmacy was the one that gave me the most knowledge that is applicable to what I will be doing in the future. Filling prescription bags were really difficult especially the environment we were in. Our clinic was held at a school facility. We separated stations based on: doctor consult, triage, pharmacy, dental and OB/GYN. Patients did not always go through each station, which they are strongly encouraged to do so. This is good so that they can have as complete of a check up as possible, although a lot of patients were too scared to go to the clinic. They would rather keep from getting checked and in time, their conditions will worsen.
Yesterday, I started in OB/GYN. I met the nurse Georgina and she was very polite. I shadowed her while she did pap smears. It was very limiting to what we could perform on patients. We had the instruments to be able to see the vagina and cervix. There was lube, cotton swabs & vinegar. We cleaned the cervix with the cotton swabs and then swiped vinegar to see how the vaginal fluid reacted to the vinegar. A change in color to brown or black is a sign of infection. If it was normal and pink with no change, then the patient was NAD (no abnormalities detected). I just recently got my pap smear done so it was nice to see it from the other perspective instead of having it done. It was a great experience to see what Georgina could do even with limited supplies. One of the crazy things I learned from Georgina was that in Accra, many women complained of infected and itchy vaginal areas. This was mainly due to the fact that the men did not like vaginal fluid. They told the women that if the women had fluid in their vagina, then that showed how much the women did not love them. A dry vagina was what they expected. It didn’t matter how natural the fluid was or how harmful it was to the women, but this is just a way of life for the people of Ghana. Women would stick their fingers inside their vagina to rid themselves of the fluid, but what they end up doing is infecting that area because that is a moist, dark and warm area which easily harbors bacteria. It was interesting to learn that this concept is almost the exact opposite in the US especially because people tend to like it wet and will even use lubricants.
After lunch, we swapped stations and I was able to do public health. There, Sindura and I educated the public in groups as they waited in line to fill out a form to enter the clinic. We spoke to the audience while the translator (Ike) translated what we asked and suggestions we gave. This was helpful because it really engaged the community. We weren’t doing just what we thought was best, but in actuality, we listened to their needs and learned about how they lived their life through all aspects. We also showed them how to use LifeStraws which is a mechanism used to filter water that they fetched from the well or the reservoir. After a bit of educating the public, we also passed out meds to the patients whose prescriptions had been filled. It was nice to call out the patient’s names and see them overjoyed to be called up and receive their meds. They were consulted on how to take each medication prescribed and how often.
Dinner was a bit earlier than usual. Brenda and I were napping in our rooms and by the time we got downstairs to get in line, the line was already pretty long. Usually we are at the front of the line. Many people complain about how long the lines are and how the food runs out as they near the end of the line. It is quite unfortunate. The food here isn’t bad, but I haven’t been able to fulfill my regular daily bowel movements. I have only taken a shit once since I’ve been here on Wednesday night back in the room when everyone was at dinner. I took advantage of the fact that everyone likes to mingle and drink while at dinner. I hurry to finish my lunch just so I can utilize the bathroom. I pooped, showered and brushed my teeth for bed. I’ve had a lot of fun so far experiencing another country, but it is difficult to adjust. We are here with 2 other schools. UCI’s medical and dental brigades and Cardiff’s dental brigades are here with us at Weda Lodge. It is very crammed. In my room alone, there are 14 girls and one bathroom. The bathroom is very dirty. Scum and cockroaches… The shower pressure is questionable. When you use the toilet, you cannot put toilet paper in the toilet. It must be placed in a waste container even if you wipe your ass after taking a shit. It is disgusting because it smells really bad in there. Also, in the room, all the girls have their shit everywhere and it’s really messy and smells because everyone smells like sweat, poop, pee and dirty socks. It is horrible. I’m not saying my socks don’t smell, but I bagged them up in a zip lock bag to be courteous.
Some girls are rude. There are 2 female students from _________ that joined UCI’s brigade and I cannot stand them. One of them is loud and obnoxious. She thinks she is better than everyone, but when she talks to you, she is fake nice. She acts like she completely understands you and agrees with what you say wholeheartedly. It’s annoying. The main reason why I don’t like these two girls is because I overheard them talking at breakfast one morning saying they think the English are weird, and wish they would say Harry Potter so they could laugh about it. It was ignorant and rude to say the least. I cannot stand that. I don’t like the other girl who is red headed because I came into the room one afternoon to use the bathroom and the door was already shut. I asked if there was anyone in the bathroom and she said yes and then blabbered on about how she was next in line and had dibs and had been waiting for the longest time. Ok. I don’t mind that she’s next, that’s fair, but the way she spoke to me was rude. She even admit it to her UCI friends right after I walked away. I can’t stand people like that. I wasn’t even rude to her in the first place. I would have done something to her and blown up on her going all ape shit, but I didn’t want her to sabotage my stuff.
Anywho, enough about that rambling. The other day, I thought I had lost my malaria pill. I have to take one pill once a week, which is a lot better than everyone else who takes the pill every day. That sucks, but I was prescribed Mefloquine so it is what it is.
Got through another day of clinic. Got to work alongside the doctor for consultation. Was skeptical at first, but it ended up being a really good experience. I liked the doctor I worked with a lot. His name was Eric. He was a lazy doctor who looked very much forward to lunch and kept anticipating the end of the clinic day but I was able to learn a lot from him. Having done pharmacy the previous day really helped because we were able to learn yesterday in pharmacy, how to read the prescriptions and learned all the abbreviations used. Today, working with Eric, I was able to assess symptoms, and I was even allowed to prescribe medications. A lot of medications prescribed were anti-malarial & regular acetaminophen. The surprising thing I learned was that a lot of people faked their symptoms. A lot of parents convinced their children to come to the clinic and complain of headaches and soreness all over the body. Working with Eric, I learned to tell based on how the patient explained their symptoms to determine if the patient was really sick or not. Many times, you can just tell by looking at someone if they were really sick or not.
After lunchtime, I moved to work in pharmacy some more for a couple of hours. Then after a while, I was able to go back into doctor’s consultation. The rest of the day was pretty slow. While the clinic was running, we had a lot of people doing data informatics (DI). It was nice to get it done during the day rather than have to do it at night when we should be relaxing and having fun. When we got back to the lodge, we only had 20 more forms to complete.
Some interesting things I learned today was that the place we are staying at is called “Weda Lodge Ocean View Resort.” Apparently, the place we stayed at is considered a 5 star place, yet my first impression of the place was “OMFG, get me the fuck out of here. “ At first, when I came here, I wanted to go home so badly. I hated the place we lived at and that totally sealed the deal. This feeling was my initial feeling at the beginning on Monday night when we arrived at the lodge. I was not used to being in a room with 13 other girls not including the ones in other rooms. It was crazy. It is now Friday night. I am not sure what time it is. To be honest, I never know what time it is because I have no phone and I didn’t change any of the clock settings on my ipod or laptop. It doesn’t matter what time it is. It also doesn’t matter what I look like or what I wear or what I smell like (to a certain extent). I just want to be able to do what I came here for and that was to get a completely different perspective on life. I have always been given basically everything I wanted or needed. I even have excess, but the people here in Ghana have less than they require. They don’t complain, they make do with what they have. Why is it that we cannot be like them? We take everything for granted. Everything we do is done by using the simplest work and probably using the most expensive method. We drive to a place very close to us when we need to go somewhere. We waste gallons and gallons of water when we use the shower or use the sink. These people in Ghana don’t even have any water. They would gladly take the water we have already used. It still would be better than what they have which is the sad reality. I am moved by the people here. They do so much in one day and work so hard to get through each day. I wish them the best. I hope they continuously receive care from all the different global brigades. Our last day of clinic is tomorrow and I feel like we can still do so much work and there’s still so much that I want to learn, but we only have 1 week of spring break and we did our best. I am proud of the members of UC Davis’ Global Medical Brigades because I could see that it was hard for many people to adjust, but we did it! Just one more day and then we will have done what we came to do. Another reason, the main reason as to why I chose to come to Ghana is to experience hardship. I have only seen in pictures and heard about how poor Ghana is, but you don’t really understand until you have actually been there or experienced it with your own eyes. These things we take for granted and valued by Ghaneans. Students constantly asked for food, clothes, proper shoes, and even pens. They wanted to be able to write. It was very sad to say the least. I am so sad to see all of these sad and poor people, but with time, a change can be brought about. I just hope we continuously implement these good habits and they follow suit. Tomorrow is the last day of clinic and I will be either in dental or triage. I wouldn’t mind doing both actually. I wish there was one more day of clinic so I can do the last two that I hadn’t done before. I want to be able to experience everything I possibly can.
We got out t shirts today, but the unfortunate thing is that they are of poor quality. We did not get the sizes that we wanted and many of our names were spelled wrong. In addition, some of us had shirts that had bad printing jobs. The ink ran and you can’t make out the names listed on the back of the shirt. Very unfortunate, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Just take it and leave it. We paid pretty cheap for them. It was 25 cede which is about 15 US dollars I think. I’m not completely sure about that. I wish I had brought some more money on this trip. I had only about $60 which $25 is for excursion and then I spent 15 Ghanean on the t shirt. Sadly, I can barely afford snacks from the roadside markets, but maybe this is good for me because I’m used to buying things whenever I felt like it. I need to experience saving and withholding from spending splurges.
Technically I will be spending Easter Sunday in Ghana since I’m still here until Monday night. It is Saturday night here around 10pm. It is apparently 3:42pm in CA. I wonder what my family is doing. I wonder also what my friends are doing. I’m in the room by myself while everyone else is out there dancing to the music. I always take time out of socializing time to take a shower and get ready for bed. This way, I don’t have to compete with everyone else when they get back. Also, I don’t feel like dancing. I would love to dance and all my friends can vouch for me when I say I LOVE DANCING. It’s something about moving my body to a beat, which gives me the happiest feeling. We had the congressman of the area visit and give a short speech. It was nice to meet him and see what he had to say. There was a lot of thank you exchanging. In addition, we met the head of Global Brigades of Ghana. His name is Nana something which is cool since my nickname is Nana too. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that UC Santa Clara joined us tonight. We have seen them every so often, but this time they actually showed up to dance with us. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to mingle with them at all but oh well. I am just feeling not too social tonight. I have done a lot of shit talking during these past couple days, which I am very sorry for, but the girls of UCD enjoy it so I’m glad for that. The music and food here isn’t bad. I could definitely get used to it. I wish there was more time allotted for eating different types of foods because I love the spicy tomato sauce that they make. I love the pineapples here too. I don’t usually eat pineapples back home because I never liked them much, but here, everything tastes amazing. I’m just one of those people that are able to eat just about everything.
Today was the last day of clinic. I hadn’t done triage or dental yet. The majority of the day, I was in triage taking weight, blood pressure, blood glucose readings, temperatures and symptoms. The phrase I kept using over and over again was ‘adenayoo’ which means “what is wrong with you?” Apparently it is very proper, but doctor Eric taught me and I finally learned it. I am sad I did not get to take a picture with both doctors or Georgina, the OB/GYN. They were amazing people to work with and very nice. Too bad it was too much of a hassle to always translate for us because I really wanted to learn EVERYTHING. I wish I was able to have a notebook with me everywhere I went to take down notes of everything, but I was always busy with my hands and running around to fill voids. After lunch, there were still more patients waiting to be seen. I was supposed to shadow the dentist afterwards, but there was not much help needed there. I basically organized both suitcases and sort of watched the dentist. I wish I had given more interest in this area, but I was just too tired at that point. Four days of clinic Wednesday through Saturday really takes a toll on your body. I’m so water deprived and my skin has lost a lot of its elasticity. The translators in the dental part of the clinic did not do a very good job of explaining what they wanted us to do and I felt out of connection with them. Oh well, I am not too disappointed since I will not be going into dentistry, but it would have been nice to maximize my learning. After a lull, the coordinators decided that we should pack up doctor’s consult and triage because there weren’t many people left, but after a while, we had to unpack and set things back up because there was a crowd that came into the clinic.
After the clinic was officially closed, we started packing everything up for good. All the medications and suitcases were packed up and put back on the van for transport home. It was sad to see medications leaving the community, but we saw as many people as we could. It was overall, a very big success. I wish we had more experience coming in to this brigade because with expertise, we would have been able to do even more, but it is what it is, and I am proud of everyone.
I am glad we alone were able to see almost 600 people in the time that the UCD global brigade was here. I am sad that not everybody that wanted to be seen was able to, but in another 3 months, another brigade will be there to help the rest. I can’t wait to do closing ceremony tomorrow. I wish we could do more days here in Ghana, but in all honesty, I’m ready to go home. I am ready to focus on my studies and concentrate on me. It’s not a selfish thing when I say that because I realized that the entire time I was here, I put other people’s needs before my own. This is good. I used to be very selfish and couldn’t share with others. Now, I have seen that it brings a lot of joy to me when I am able to selflessly help others with no benefit in return. I realized that I cannot do good for anyone and ever help anyone if I don’t educate myself and learn well. I want to be the best that I can be in whatever profession that I end up in. I have no idea where I’m going to be 5-10 years from now & there’s no point in trying to figure it out. I will do this thing called life and see where it takes me…
Today was the last official day. We went back to Otabanadtze community to have the closing ceremony and there was so much dancing and sweating. I’ve never sweat so much in my life before. First we arrived and had door to door. We met families in person and asked how their lives were on a day to day basis. We got information first hand from the families in the communities. We had 3 groups of 4 people each and split up walking up and down the communities. Next was the closing ceremony where we were given baskets full of bananas, pineapple and oranges. The people of the community were so grateful to have us there that it made it hard to say goodbye. I wish I had brought more things for the children but there are so many of them, I wouldn’t know who to give them to. There was so much dancing but we all had fun. It was nice to see all the people get together in a gathering instead of only seeing some people going through the clinic. I hope the community takes what they have learned from us and carries the information on with them. I’m so tired as I write this entry. It is only around 10:30 pm here in Ghana, and 3:10pm in the states, but I am so tired still. I need to sleep, but it is so hot. I don’t mind the heat much anymore because it takes about one week to start getting used to it. The only thing that bothers me is that I don’t have any clean clothes left. I brought just enough for each day. Luckily, we also bought shirts here so I have something to wear when we come back. In addition, I hope everyone has a safe journey back to wherever they came from. It was interesting to meet all the people that have stayed at Weda. There was UC Irvine, UC Santa Clara, Cardiff & now London Business school which is a microfinance brigade. London’s school has the most diversity because people from all over the world go to that school and therefore there are all sorts of nationalities. I met several people already and met a guy named Steve from Toronto. I wish there was more time to hang out with the people instead of always being busy doing our own thing, but the time will come in the future to meet new people since we are always so busy. I miss home and I’m ready to go back. I hope to never forget what I have seen, heard or learned from my time here in Ghana.
I’m going to have to do some serious laundry when I get back. Hopefully my shit doesn’t stink too badly. From Accra, we will land in JFK and then fly to SFO. I will officially turn on my phone in SFO. To be honest, I probably won’t have any missed messages or any missed calls since a lot of my friends and my family knew that I would be out of the country. I am sure I smell really bad. I am very sad that one of my suitcases is beaten up, having been used to carry items and being dragged around. Hopefully, after I clean it up, it won’t be so bad. My feet hurt since I have been wearing converse for nearly 9 days straight. I’m exhausted and I am going to be thrown into spring quarter back at school when I get into town. I can’t wait to be back though! Hopefully my family is fine and nothing bad has happened. I plan to go home that weekend to wash my clothes if I don’t get to it during the week. I should have time so long as I plan it. I need to play catch-up already in my classes but hopefully things go swiftly. This is probably my last entry, maybe I will write some more at the airport, but we shall see…