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Testimonial ++ Internship ++ Ghana

Johanna's Testimonial : Nursing Internship in Ghana

Middle of August, 8 in the evening, dark, and heavily humid; welcome to Ghana!

I got picked up from the airport and got a lift to my hotel, where I should stay my first abroad. The next morning I entered a trotro for the first time to drive to Ho, the location of my internship! A trotro is the traditional public minibus in Ghana. The ride was adventurous, yet a bit scary. The driver used to make use of both sides of the street, and didn’t mind to use the pedestrian to avoid huge potholes. Sleeping in the trotro is impossible. After approximately 3 hours we reached Ho and got dropped at the side of the road. Prince, my local coordinator, was already waiting for me and accompanied me to my accommodation for the next month.

My Accommodation in Ho

I shared a house with 2 other volunteers. We had shared rooms. We received meals 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that we usually enjoyed together sitting at our tiny plastic table on our balcony. The food in Ghana is quite spicy, usually very oily and always contains egg. I actually really liked it, however, I needed to get used to it first.

Our rooms were equipped with everything we needed, and we had a shower which was cold. Luckily, the sun heated up the water during day time so we kind of had an almost hot shower in the evening. Doing the laundry was an absolute adventure! Washing machines are quite uncommon here, so we wash by hand in a small bucket. If you need an advice: never wash too many clothes at the same time. Try to wash in small loads, so it wouldn’t take too long.

Everyday Life in Ghana

Life in Ghana runs in slow motion. Nobody is on time! People are open and try to help, wherever they can. You never have to wait alone on the side of the streets, as there will be somebody talking to you within no time. I already got used to be called “Jawu” from the locals, which is Ewe and translates into “white women/man”. It is by no means an evil or racist expression, but rather a comment, as foreigners are not usual in this area. Especially kids like to call you like that, and if they do so, you simply throw them a smile and they will smile back.

The streets in Ho are filled with taxis and "Trotros", which cause a quite consistent level of noise with their horns. They honk the horn asking for passengers to hop in when they have reached full capacity, when they give way to other vehicles or if they want others to move out of their way. Long story short, they always honk the horn!

You can find food on every street corner. Rice, noodles, fried Yam or Bufruts, which is by the way very delicious. I really enjoyed the fresh and juicy local fruits like mangos or pineapples. Upon request, you can ask the seller to prepare the fruits ready to eat.

Just like in the books, women carry big boxes on their heads, which are filled with food, drinks or fabrics or clothing. When a trotro stops on the side of the road they quickly gather around the minibus to sell their goods to the passengers through the open window.

Religion in Ghana

Religion plays an important role in Ghana. People are very religious and you will hear them preaching on the streets and phrases like “trust in God” are decorating rear windows of cars or wooden blanks on small shops beside the road. Churches are visited on a daily basis for small prayers, or on Wednesdays or Sundays during church services usually lasting several hours. Church services are very different from what I am used to in Germany. In the beginning, everybody will sing and dance, before the preacher starts reporting, how God has helped him during the last week. The community cheers and applauds reconfirming his words and prayers. The choir accentuates his words with their songs through their microphones. The first thing you hear waking up at 5 am, is the melody of the church bells, which is, by the way, the German national anthem at 9 am. This continues for the whole day, every hour.

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