Often I mention the extravagant trips I take with my program or the exciting things that happen here, but rarely have I talked about my everyday life. Although occasionally the day-to-day routine can seem mundane at times, I thought it would be interesting to tell of my average week here and what it entails.
Monday through Thursday, I have at least one class per day. When I wake up in the morning I go downstairs to the quaint kitchen where three Ghanaian women work and order some of my favorite breakfast food (usually porridge with honey and bananas) or grab a fruit smoothie from the convenience store on my way to class. My host campus is quite large, so typically I try to take the school shuttle on the especially scorching and humid days as to not show up to class looking like I’ve just got out of the shower.
Classes here last two hours and they only meet once a week, so this was an adjustment for me when I first arrived. There are not many assignments either, but when there is, you can bet that it is going to be group work. This also reflects the sense of community that is evident all across Ghana. Not to mention there is a huge emphasis on group discussion and tests. Although it may not be my traditional style of education, it’s refreshing to get a feel for a learning style other than the one that I’ve grown up with.
After class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I usually make my way to the hospital. As a part of my service-learning class, I had to choose a location to volunteer at while I am here. Since I am a nursing major, I decided the best course of action would be to try and get some experience at the university hospital in the children’s ward. My days here are never exactly the same. Sometimes I get to have conversations with a sweet and stressed mother whose baby was born with some complication. Or occasionally I’ll get to play with restless children while their fatigued mothers attempt to get some rest. I have to admit however that my absolute favorite activities at the ward revolve around learning from the nurses. They have taught me how to check vitals, let me assist with drawing blood, and showed me how to change an IV.
On my way home from school, I sometimes stop at the nearby market and grab some rice and chicken or goat kebabs for dinner. But maybe if I am feeling adventurous, I’ll have a bowl of banku and ground nut soup, a dish that contains fermented corn and cassava and is adored by locals. I also joined the University of Ghana swim team, so it’s typically off to practice for me! A school night usually consists of me talking with friends at the hostel, and then a refreshing cold shower on my way to bed.
When Friday rolls around, I have to admit it is my favorite part of the week. Often I’ll explore Accra on little day trips by trotro (the main form of public transportation) or hang around the hostel eating my favorite snack (this little marvelous packaged ice cream called FanIce.) My local friends offer neat sights for me to go and visit, and each outing always blesses me with something new to be learned. I love the life that I have made for myself here, and can not wait to see what else the future has in store.