Ghana: where to begin? What an amazing place full of amazing people, happy children and wonderful experiences. Going to Ghana has to be one of the most eye opening experiences of my life and I am so glad I did it.
It has changed my life, my perceptions of myself and the world around me, it has given me a taste for adventure and opened my eyes and most of all given me the opportunity to better myself and become a better nurse. The people I have met and memories I have created are just simply astounding.
In the Reproductive Children’s clinic I got the opportunity to go out with the nurses and see the children in the community
I actually chose to go with Work the World on a bit of a whim. I felt that going into such a big place that I didn’t know much about would be safer to go with a company that could be trusted, so I could enjoy my experience, get the most out of it and be safe while doing so. Work the World exceeded my expectations. The UK staff where extremely helpful and friendly and created a timeline to help organise your trip and keep on top of all the things you hadn’t done. For me this was brilliant as I am not so organised as I would like to think and to be able to tick of my checklist as I went along was really useful.
The girls (some fellow classmates) and I travelled with TAP airlines from London. As we landed in Accra I was very nervous getting off into the unexpected, worried about a lot of things including did my baggage make it as safely as I did etc? Accra airport is extremely busy and if you’re not prepared it can be a bit of a shock to the system, but we managed to get through it all unscathed.
We were met by Ezekiel the Work the World Programme Representative just after going through customs. After brief introductions we travelled to a nearby hotel where we would stay the night. The hotel room was comfy and air conditioned - what more could you ask for after a long flight! In the morning we travelled to Accra bus station where we commenced a four hour journey to Takoradi. Little tip is to take tissues and hand gel for the toilets! We arrived safely the Area of Takoradi called Pipeano, which is where the Work the World house is located. We were met by the other housemates and given a brief tour of the house by Alhassan, the Housekeeper. The staff in the house where by far the most amazing, funny, easiest going people I have ever had the experience to meet. The house is safe there are staff available 24/7. The caterer Ophelia is simply the best cook in the world - she prepares dinner and breakfast, and her food is delicious, as is her baby son Benjamin!
We were placed in the regional hospital for our clinical work. On the first day we had a tour of the entire hospital and we were introduced to the staff on the ward. Although confusing at first, they use the term “Aunt” instead of sister, but you soon get used to it. I got the opportunity to work alongside staff in the NICU, the RCH and the general children’s ward. The experience is something I cannot describe in words. It so different from at home; the mothers do all the main care for the children and the nurses concentrate the medical side of things. If I went again I would prepare myself more for what I was about to see.
In the Reproductive Children’s clinic I got the opportunity to go out with the nurses and see the children in the community. For me this was the best part as I got to interact with the people of Ghana which I really wanted to do. Another highlight of my placement was getting the chance to go to maternity department and seeing what the midwives did, as we do not have the opportunity at home. I would recommend future students to ask for this as it made my placement one I would not forget; I helped deliver my first baby, I observed c-sections, circumcisions and vaginal sutures. I also got to check the cervix of a women ready to give birth and passed a catheter. These are the experiences that I will take with me throughout my life and I am so glad they gave me the opportunity to take part.
Travelling through Ghana is breathtaking in more ways than one. Travelling is actually quite cheap and for the views and beaches you get to experience it compares to nothing I have ever seen before. I would suggest being as prepared as you can be before you go - take your own supplies of toilet paper and hand gel, sheets for staying in guest houses/ camp sites, lots of bug spray and water. The majority of things you will need can be bought from stalls/ shops on the roadside.
We visited many places such as the rainforest (Kakum), the turtle beaches (Beyin) and Axim beach hotel, the forts, the stilt village (Nzuelzo) - we basically crammed in as much as we could in our short time there and got to do so much. Ezekiel is the man to get advice from when it comes to this sort of thing he knows everything and everyone. He will try his best to help you with your travel - without him I don’t think we would have been able to experience as much as we did.
When we were in Takoradi there are some great swimming pool hotels you can go and relax in after a shift in the hospital. They are all about a ten minute taxi drive away from the WTW house and are a great way to wind down and soak up some of the wonderful Ghanaian sunshine!
There is unfortunately no way I could write all my experiences down in one case study. I can really suggest you to go enjoy and make the most of this experience in the same way I did. I have never laughed so much in my life, and I will have friends and memories that I will take with me and tell my grandchildren about. It has changed me as a person and gave me a taste for travelling.
I cannot thank the Work the World team enough for taking care of me so well and making this the most exhilarating thing I have ever done in my life. Joe, Ezekiel, Ophelia, Alhassan, Charles, Ebenezer thank you so much - you have opened my eyes and made me see another part of the world I never thought was possible. I will never be able to repay you for what you have done for me.