by Kaila Helm, Biological Basis of Behavior ’20; Kathleen Givan, Bioengineering and Political Science ’20; Katharine Cocherl, Bioengineering ’20; and Hope McMahon, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering ’18
David Issadore, a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania teaches an engineering course ENGR566 – Appropriate Point of Care Diagnostics. As part of this course, he and Miriam Wattenberger from CBE, have taken nine Penn students, most of them majoring in Bioengineering, to Kumasi, Ghana, to study the diagnosis of pediatric tuberculosis. While in Ghana, these students are blogging daily on their experiences.
We started our not-so-lazy Sunday with a late start. We enjoyed our last weekend breakfast, provided by the one and only Nana Yaa. A fan favorite is always the avocados and the Milo, which we know we will miss dearly when we get back to the States. Luckily, we all have our personal stashes we plan on bringing back. We all had the much-needed opportunity to do laundry and catch up on life errands. Once mid-afternoon hit, we all decompressed by watching the Ghanaian vs. Ethiopian National Football teams on the television in a nearby dorm. GHANA WON THE FIFA QUALIFIER AND THE CROWD WENT WILD!!!!!
The next thing on the agenda was our farewell ceremony and dinner. We were instructed to wear our Ghanaian clothing that had been made for us during the trip, but some of us had not yet received the alterations back from the seamstress. When Nana arrived, clothes in hand, it was exhilarating to see the final products and wear similar colorfully patterned clothes to our Ghanaian counterparts.
The meal was catered by our favorite kebab stand, along with drinks, tilapia, and banku (the classic combination). Many of the people who have contributed immensely to our trip were there, and we enjoyed good conversation and memories into the night. We were put to shame as we watched the children dance their hearts out, using more rhythm and soul than we would know what to do with. It was so nice to see the program come full circle. We all looked back fondly at the welcome ceremony, where all the faces were unfamiliar but kind. Fast forward to the farewell ceremony, and this time, we saw the same faces and smiles, but now we felt connected to the people behind them.