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July 2, 2013 by Alyssa
My final weekend was a trip to Kokrobite and a day trip to the capital to see Jamestown. We arrived on Friday evening in Kokrobite, which was only a 3 hour ride in an oven. Since we were a group of eleven we filled a Tro so we convinced the driver to take us directly there. Besides the fact that the Tro driver had no idea where he was going, it was a smooth ride. Even worse was I had to explain it to him using the map in my guide book. We saw a guy on a motorbike get hit by a taxi, but fortunately it was in slow traffic so no one was injured. We also got a flat tire on the way, but the driver realized it when we were right next to the air station where he could inflate it. It held air, even with the huge nail protruding from it.
On Saturday we went for a walk on the beach before we left for Jamestown, which is only a forty minute taxi ride from Kokrobite. We first went to Fort Usher which, until 2001, was used as a prison. We took a tour and saw the cell where the first president, Kwame Nkrumah (who I learned all about from nurse Raynes and who I wrote about in my previous blog), was held when he was imprisoned. Midway through our tour the guide walked into a cell where a pigeon had flown in from the steal barred window. He snatched it right out of midair and carried it around for the remainder of the tour until the end when he released it.
We saw the area where prisoners were hanged and then, pigeon in hand, our guide gestured to the vacant cells which surrounded it on the first floor. There is still some artwork on both the cell doors and on the walls. The fort was also used for the slave trade, and he took us to the room where the slave market was held. Slave owners would come and buy their slaves here. The bathrooms, used by both the slaves and the ...
July 2, 2013 by Alyssa
During our trip to Mole our group and I visited an ancient mosque in Larabanga. I did some research so I could give a good accurate history of the mosque, which even so may still be a bit patchy as it appears that no one is quite certain about its history. It was constructed in 1421 by and Islamic trader called Ayuba out of clay and large branches for support. The age of the mosque is disputed among all of resources I have checked. Our tour guide told us 1421, which would appear to align with the time when Islam expanded its hold on what is now the Northern Region of Ghana. It is said that Ayuba was traveling through the region when he found a “mystic stone.” He decided that he would stand on this stone and throw his spear and sleep wherever it landed. During the night he had a dream about the mosque, and when he awoke its foundation had already been laid. He finished its construction and then stayed in Larabanga, a name which is derived from the Mole-Dagbani meaning “speakers of Arabic.”
I'm really starting to properly settle in at the school now. I was settled anyway, but now I feel like an actual teacher :)! I love it! On Thursday last week it was 'Respect the teacher day'. A day when all the children of the school bring in gorgeous little flower arrangements to show respect to their teachers. They also put on a small assembly, sing and give speeches. It was very cute but at the same time, the concept of young children bowing down to their teachers still doesn't sit well with me and there's still an extremely large part of the Thai school system which I will never be comfortable with. You really have to see it to understand. However, there were no lessons either on this day, so it was lovely to be able to spend the day playing with the children, and not having to tell them off for a change!
I also had to give my own little speech. Obviously they don't speak very good English, so what I was able to say was extremely limited! However, I just told them that I love them all and never want to go home :(
On that night, Chris and I went along to the daycare centre she works in, where we met her supervisor in her little tuk tuk and set off around Krabi to pick up any of the kindergarteners who wanted to come to the park! We were welcomed into a lot of the families houses and it was an eye opener to see how many of these people live. A family of 6, with no sofas, no beds and all sleeping in the same room, yet the happiest and most content people I've ever met. It really makes you feel so guilty about what you have!
In the end, we ended up in the park with all the children, bought them an ice cream and played with them for a while before dropping them all back off with their families. It was a night I will honestly remember for the rest ...
During my time in Shanghai I have participated in both a Medical and Teaching placement. I spent one month in each placement and started with my Medical placement at the Ruijin hospital. The Ruijin hospital is one of the nicest hospitals in Shanghai and I could definitely tell based on the resources at the hospital and the location near the French Concession district.
My average day would start with a one hour commute from my flat to the hospital using the metro. The metro in Shanghai is great. It is easy to get anywhere in the city and the trains are very clean and air conditioned. Of course, sometimes it can get a bit too crowded but I am in a city with a population of over 23 million people. After arriving early in the morning in the hospital, I would usually go on ward rounds and assist in any way that I could during procedures and treatments. I worked in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Emergency Medicine, and Pediatrics departments. Sometimes, there would be a language barrier, but usually I would work closely with a couple of doctors that could speak fluent English who would explain everything and really allow me to understand each case. In the TCM department, I was even able to start assisting in giving treatment to the patients which was a very beneficial experience. I enjoyed being able to learn about a different medical system and seeing that even though there may be different customs in the hospital than at home in the United States, the standard of medicine is the same.
My next month consisted of teaching English and some science at the Ziluolan School. My commute was once again one hour, but this time I needed to use the public bus system rather than the metro. I definitely liked the metro much more. In the metro I did not need to hold on ...
Our Adopt-A-Family project, which provides a suitable and sustainable home for a family living in one of the most vulnerable communities in South Africa, was a major hit for the organisation, and the day that brought everything all together was just as amazing! The homewarming and braai brought volunteers from all over the world to paint the interior of the home, lay flooring, and move all of the furniture from outside into the new Wendy house! Thanks to over 25 generous contributors who financed the construction of the home, donations, voluntary labor, and some tough negotiating for electricity and plumbing, we were able to complete a lovely house and moved in a family that deserved to live in a place that they were proud to call "home."