In this series of posts, University of Pennsylvania students who took the spring 2019 APOC (Appropriate Point of Care Diagnostics) course write about their experience traveling to Ghana in May-June 2019.
by Ellie Chen (Bioengineering, ’22)
Waking up early to the sound of rooster calls, we washed up, ate, and got ready for our 9:30 am church service. As we drew close to the location, the bus began to rumble to the vibrations of worship—indicative of the amount of passion and volume we were about to experience in the first of many parts of the service. Walking out of the bus, we were engulfed by the music of our open-building communion. The amount of evident love, hope, and faith was overwhelming. The three-hour service in and of itself consisted of worship and thanksgiving—in which we celebrated many lives—as well as a sermon, all of which held a consistently amplified energy, song, and dance.
By the time we got out of service, our stomachs were once again rumbling and we were ready to eat. We sat down for a traditional Ghanaian meal: jhollof rice and fufu. Careful to not use our left hand, we scooped our fufu in our hands and downed many servings, supplemented by the delicious jhollof rice and protein of our choice. Many salads were left untouched.
Plates emptied and stomachs refilled, we set out to our first football (or, as we know it, soccer) game. Sitting down in the stadium filled with cheering fans, we tried to discern which team to cheer for. We decided upon Allie’s favorite color: yellow. Unfortunately, after consulting a local, we found out that the players in the yellow jerseys were of a team far from here, and the red-jerseyed team was the local—the one we should be cheering for. This was good information to have because the game ended in a 2-0 win for our local team.
Post-football game, we wandered our way into the mall, picking up carelessly forgotten essentials and dinner. For the majority of us, this was curry rice, chicken, and kebabs—which ended up being too spicy for everybody except El. We ate. We planned. We debriefed and went to bed, ready for orientation tomorrow.