Category: 2019

Ghana Goats Go Home

With the intense end to our projects, the team decided to spend the last few days exploring the country and meeting up with old and new friends. Our first stop was the Volta region with our language instructor Edzordzi and his friend Augustina. They happened to be in Ghana at the same time we were despite studying back in the United States, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend some time with them. Edzordzi is from the Volta region and offered to take us there to show us some of the major places. 

Our first stop was the Akosombo hydroelectric dam, a major source of electricity for Ghana. We stopped in Akosombo for lunch and then took a boat ride to see the dam and the natural beauty of the region from the water. From there, we took a trotro out to the city of Ho and spent a night relaxing on the side of a mountain at a hotel. The next morning, we made the journey out to the Wli waterfall, West Africa’s tallest waterfall. While the weather wasn’t great, we all still had a great time splashing in the water and goofing around. Once we were done, we started the long journey back to Accra for the night. 

The breathtaking scenery near the Wli Waterfall
  The group with our guide at Wli Waterfall in Hohoe
The team at Wli Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in West Africa!
It’s a small world! We ran into a Tech alumnus in Ghana of all places!
Ho at night
The team with Edzordzi and Tina on our way to the hydroelectric dam

The next morning, the team headed out to Cape Coast to relax on the beach and explore the History of Ghana at the Cape Coast Slave Castle. We spent our first day there relishing in the sunshine and playing in the Atlantic. The waves were quite large so we couldn’t swim, but that didn’t stop any of us from having a good time. The next day, the team got up early to take a taxi out to Kakum National Park. While we knew what a canopy walk was, the reality of being over 40m up in the air over the forest was daunting. The team pushed on and had a great time up in the air. Edzordzi then met us back at our hotel and came with us to tour the Slave Castle. It was a very eye-opening experience to walk in a place that once housed over 1000 slaves and see what conditions they truly existed under. 

The Cape Coast Slave Castle

After Cape Coast, the team returned to Accra to see a bit more of the city

The canopy walk at Kakum National Park wasn’t too high for us!

and get some final work done. When we weren’t consolidating our resources for future teams, we met with Augustina at the University of Ghana – Accra to see the campus and explore the Botanical Gardens there. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to our new friend and see another piece of the natural beauty Ghana contains. From there, the team headed back to the hotel to work some more on logistics and start packing.

This post was written from the Kotoka Airport in Ghana. From there, the team is splitting up with Tristan heading back home to the States and Becky and Lucinda spending a week in Europe. It is safe to say that five weeks in Ghana is something no one on the team will forget, and we have all learned something from the experience. At times Ghana frustrated us, surprised us, and confused us, often all at the same time, but in the end, we survived the journey and made a difference.

Thank you to everyone who has followed our blog over the weeks and supported us on our journey, we couldn’t have done it without you!

-Lucinda, Becky, and Tristan

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Goats on the Go!

The Ghana Goats made the final leg of our journey into Sunyani on Saturday. We will be staying on the campus of the University of Energy and Natural Resources for the rest of our time in Ghana, with small excursions into other areas of the country. As soon as we moved into the dorms, we hit the ground running with meetings with contacts and visiting key areas like the market. At first, we were all a little overwhelmed by the new area, but we managed to survive on our own in the market to get supplies for dinner- even if it was just plain rice with fried vegetables on top. 

The next morning, we got up early and made the trip to Babianeha with Dr. Opuni, a key contact for the program here in Ghana, who drove us and even introduced us to some great bread on the way. Once in Babianeha, we met with the Opuni family and exchanged contact information. For a quick excursion, we hiked out to the egg farm and met with some more of the family. After that, we walked over to where the schools and community center are, the two main locations where we will be working. With Dr. Opuni as our guide, we ventured into the border town separating Ghana and Ivory Coast to meet some more people who will help us be successful during our time there. After a quick lunch back at the Opuni house, the team traveled back to Sunyani for some more exploration of useful locations. 

Becky, Lucinda, and Tristan in Babianeha.
Standing at the border of Ghana and the Ivory Coast with Emmanuel and Kwajo Opuni.

The next morning, the team spent our last day with Andrew, our advisor, by meeting Nana’s mother who runs a pharmacy, meeting the headmaster of the Ridge Experimental Schools, and locating the trotro station that will eventually allow us to travel back to Babianeha at a later date. While we had prepared some ideas for activities for the schools, we didn’t want to do something with the students if it was ultimately irrelevant to their studies, so we asked the headmaster what they would like us to teach while we are there. There was some exchange on what we could feasibly teach them without going outside of our abilities and it was decided we would teach basic electronics to two classes on Wednesday (today) and math to one class on Thursday (tomorrow). Armed with only some photos of a textbook, a science kit, and a general idea of a syllabus, the team headed out. 

The trotro station that will take us from Sunyani to Dormaa on our way to Babianeha.

Yesterday, the team spent the entire day researching activities for basic circuits and using the kits to build engaging projects for the students. After several hours of Google, trial and error, and a nap break, the team had a lesson plan for both levels we would be teaching. We had an early night last night to allow us enough sleep to get to the schools by 7:30AM to meet the teachers again and be introduced to the classes. 

Becky and Tristan designing circuits to be used with Ridge Experimental School students

The first class we taught had a little bit of a rough start, but, with some good communication, we settled into a rhythm. Soon, the students were building little circuits of their own and engaging with us on the activity. The second form was a little bit older and had a bit more knowledge about the circuits we were building, though they had not worked with the science kits from the school before. Our activity got off to a rough start, but we made our way around the room to help the students and everyone, including us, seemed to have learned a bit from it. Our final activity revolved around the difference between parallel and series connections in circuits- figuring out how to get a buzzer and an LED to work at the same time in the small circuit. It took the students a second to figure out how to connect elements in parallel, but soon the room was filled with the high pitched buzz from the speakers signaling success. Tonight, we will finish developing our lesson plan for the math lesson tomorrow and then we will head to the school in the morning.

Catch you next time!

Lucinda, Becky, and Tristan

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Goats Can Fly!

Agoo!

Did you know goats can fly? The Ghana Goats did just that! We flew out on June 26th and landed midday on the 27th.After spending the past few weeks finishing up our travel prep and our language/culture classes, dealing with missing passports, and getting some last-minute planning done, we finally left!

The most stressful thing we encountered before we left was trying to get our passports back from the Embassy of Ghana. We got a call about 3 weeks ago saying that they can’t be released to us because the return postage sent was incorrect. After several calls and emails and a ton of worrying, we got them back on Tuesday, June 18th. That’s a little too close to departure for comfort, but at least we have visas and passports!

Waiting at DTW to board for JFK! Couldn’t have done it without our passports. Shout out to Paige in the PHC for getting our visas sorted out for us!

We’ve also been busy doing some fundraising, and thank you to those who helped us out by donating to our projects on Superior ideas! We couldn’t do our work without you, so thank you again! Our project page can be found here (https://www.superiorideas.org/projects/ghana-2019)

A picture of us looking *professional* for our Superior Ideas page

Packing has also been a bit of an adventure! We have 2 suitcases dedicated for project work, and we’ve been prepping the materials for our projects, especially the Women’s Health project. Lucinda and her mom prepared enough fabric to make 147 sanitary pads in our Women’s Health workshops. It was entertaining to try to get all of those bags around the airport or to the hotel once we landed, and we at one point filled an entire elevator with our bags, but it was worth it to finally be in Ghana and ready to go!

A stack of fabric that can be used to make 147 reusable Sani-Pads

Once we got to the airport, we had quite an adventure navigating the check-in process, but we all made it through with time to spare for our first flight. We ended up landing in JFK a bit late, but, luckily, we had landed at the correct terminal. Getting on the plane itself was also entertaining, and a bit frustrating, when they ran out of carry-on bag space and started trying to send people back out of the plane to check their bags instead. This ultimately led to a back-up and a thirty minute delay to the start of our flight. Once we were up in the air, it was smooth sailing and we even got to see some beautiful views from the windows.

Our view as we were landing at JFK on Wed., June 26th

Landing in Ghana was fairly uneventful. We met Andrew, our advisor, outside the airport and took a shuttle over to our hotel. Andrew showed us around the nearby mall and the team picked up some fun snacks to hold us through until we could go out for dinner as well as exchanged some money. Our further plans for the few hours we are spending in Accra include some exploring and getting up early to catch a bus to Kumasi. We all feel that it is truly unbelievable that we are finally here and can’t wait to really start on projects in the communities. It’s hard to believe that all of our hard work and planning has paid off.

Thanks for everyone’s support, and stay tuned for our next update!

-Lucinda, Tristan, and Becky

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