As I begin to prepare to leave for Ghana (t-54!), I’ve been of course reading the Brandt travel guide I recently bought (oddly, the only guide book exclusively made for Ghana). But, admittedly, I’ve been drifting to other sources, such as the New York Times-A Taste of Ghana. The NYT guide for “36 hours in Lima” proved as an excellent starting point for our culinary excursions, and I imagine this article to have a similar effect.
New Plan! After discussing my placement with my family, my Dad made contact with a colleague he knows in Accra, who works in infectious disease at the University of Ghana. Originally, the plan was just to meet him, and have a contact in country (which, is always a good thing!). But, after some thought we decided it would be a great opportunity to work there. After all, my prior training and other passions lie in the health sciences, and at risk of sounded even more like a gigantic nerd…I honestly miss both the lab bench, and academia quite a bit. So I jumped at this fantastic opportunity! The details have yet to be fully worked out, but I have been approved by the department head there. So, it’s a GO! This of course, greatly changes my plans. And while I would love to volunteer my time with building sites-and maybe I can during any spare time I have? But, I couldn’t pass this up. I’ll update as I know more.
It should come as no surprise that a big part of traveling for me, is the food. I think there’s no better way to experience a new culture than to dive into it’s local cuisine. The unfortunate prevalence of western fast food was hard for me when I visited Lima, which has such a rich, deeply rooted food culture reflective of it’s history. Every dish there had a story, and I learned so much about the history of the country simply by culinary exploration. The diluted, flavorless western food is such a waste and I certainly hope it never causes a loss of such fantastic culinary history.
I’ve made my decision. It’s a compromise. I’ll be spending about half my time on a building site in the Akuapem Hills, just outside Accra (Ghana’s capital city). The other half is up in the air, and I’ll decide after spending sometime in country. I’m working with a new organization: Projects Abroad. They look great, and instead of living in a communal volunteer house, I’ll be living with a host family in whatever village I’m working in. This is something I’ve never done, and am very excited. I have a feeling this will be a bit more immersion than previous ventures. Lima was great, but I felt a constant disconnect from people I was working with, hopefully actually living with them I can learn/experience a bit more about the culture. Can’t wait!