Matt's Ghana Service Blog
My new art work

My new art work

Two Weeks Down…

Two weeks in and this journey has been a nothing but a positive and eye opening experience. Winneba can only be explained as a bustling metropolis with crazy taxi drivers, unfinished buildings, and an array of odors that make breathing a constant chore. Yet, as I walk down the unpaved and extremely bumpy roads that no American car could traverse I can do nothing but smile.  Life here is simple, and more than that, people are happy. The most damning evidence is the myriad of smiling little faces shouting “Obruni! Obruni! What is your name?”  However it is not only the kids that makes one smile. The men and women are willing to listen to you talk and they have plenty to say themselves.

                Life around the Hostel has started to get into a routine. Waking up around 6:30 and brewing coffee precedes the 10 minute walk to the medical clinic. A set schedule at the clinic has not yet been set and so whenever our service ends for the day we retreat to the hostel.  Journeys down to the beach and beginning the task of cooking dinner are the most popular afternoon activities. Laundry, a less popular activity, takes 45 minutes but as long as you are diligent, clean smelling clothes are a deserving reward. Emmanuel also deserves special praise. He has been cooking most of our meals with the assistance of a couple students every night and the result is always delicious.

                Emmanuel’s hostel is full of commotion even when we aren’t around.  Caring for the hostel takes a lot of work and Emmanuel’s nephews, Robert and Phillip who are 20 and 19 respectively provide the necessary assistance. Emmanuel’s own two sons Prince (who deserves recognition because he typed his own name on this post) and Gabriel also provide plenty of distraction in the evening. Gabriel is only 1 and Prince, who is 8, often has the responsibility of watching his younger brother during the day. They are both a riot and everyone has enjoyed their company.

                The beach deserves special attention. Not simply for its beauty, but also for the football! Yesterday as a few of us made our way down the beach we started kicking a ball around. A little boy joined in as we walked. I determined that his name was Emmanuel and his touches were very good for a 10 year old! I have had the chance to kick a ball around a couple times with the locals and I love the enthusiasm everyone here has for the game.

                Those who have chosen to go to the clinic for the next four weeks are subject to a rotation schedule based on each individual’s preferences. I spend the many of my days in the trauma unit with a few days in various clinics and one day in the Surgery Theatre. However the rotation will not start until our third week in Winneba. Next week we will visit various specialty clinics and meet nurses and doctors from this hospital district.

                Today we travelled to cape coast and we visited the Cape Coast slave trade castle. It was really an eye opening experience. To relive the hardships that many went through during their stay was an experience that none of us will forget. After our tour of the castle we had some time to shop at the vendors around the castle. I made my first purchases of the trip which consisted of a large canvas painting and two small masks.


A 2 hour bus ride Saturday afternoon has transitioned us from life at the capital to Winneba, a smaller city lying on the ocean west of Accra. While we are in Winneba we will stay at Emmanuel’s hostel. Getting settled in has been the chore of the last 24 hours. The process included unpacking and cooking for ourselves. Emmanuel and his family have been most accommodating during our moving process. Robert and Phillip, two of Emmanuel’s cousins have helped immensely. They both enjoy football (soccer) which is awesome. However, one of the best parts to being in Winneba is the fact that the beach is a three minute walk from our lodging and the kicker is that it is probably the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

International Student Hostel

International Student Hostel

Post One!

Hello all! I have been in Accra since Saturday. So far I have found nothing but good things to say about everyone and everything. I have so much to say but I will keep it too the point. The weather for the most part has cooperated. While scattered showers have plagued us daily, the temperature has been mild and the light breeze in the evenings makes the perfect atmosphere.
Class from 8:30 to 5:00 seems especially long for us used to 50 minute classes. However it is hard to loose attention when professor Justice takes center stage. His lectures are engaging and his experience in the field is an irreplaceable teaching tool. Learning about the NGOs in Ghana has not been our only focus. An hour everyday learning Fante has been especially useful in not only bringing the group closer together but helping us acclimate to life in Africa.
I will end my discussion with praise for everyone who lives here. The community’s openness and willingness to help us since the moment we exited the plane has made our transition from the United States to Ghana smooth and at times effortless.
Until next time….


Still can’t believe I have woken up in Ghana twice now. After a slight delay, we arrived in Accra on Saturday afternoon (morning back in the States). We then made our way to the University Hostel. The campus is beautiful. And huge! Big, green trees, orange dirt roads, bright flowers…just gorgeous….

Lunch 6/17/2012

Lunch 6/17/2012