Ghana Trip to Study Tuberculosis: Day 10

by Kaila Helm, Biological Basis of Behavior ’20; and Hope McMahon, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering ’18

Ghana 10.1
A sheep spotted relaxing atop a speeding van as we travel from Kumasi in the south to Mole National Park in the north.

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.

Today we took a trip up north to Mole National Park. It was a little over a seven-hour drive from KCCR in Kumasi, but it went quickly as we drove past many communities. We were able to pick up food from vendors carrying it along the road. We picked up some of our favorites, like plantain chips, bananas, and groundnuts, and we even tried some new foods, like fried cheese.

Ghana 10.2
A sleeping selfie taken as we embark on our 7-hour bus ride from Kumasi to Mole National Park. (Left to right: Kate Panzer, Jason Grosz, Katharine Cocherl, Ethan Zhao, Kathleen Givan, Dave Pontoriero)

Once we arrived in Mole, we were greeted by baboons, which like to stay around the motel. We had to be careful with any food that we brought because they could chase us for it. After a brief dip in the pool, we enjoyed a nice dinner overlooking the terrain below us.

Ghana 10.3
The beautiful view of Mole National Park from the Mole Motel. (Left to right: Kate Panzer, Kathleen Givan, Katharine Cocherl, Kaila Helm, Danielle Tsougarakis, Hope McMahon)

We ended the night with another round of speed friending. By now, we had gotten to know each other to the point that leading questions weren’t necessary to carry conversations. After a few hours, we decided to retire for the night. When it became dark, we were amazed at how dark the sky was and how visible the stars were. We all went to bed, excited about the opportunity to go on a safari adventure tomorrow.