(I'm not always able to make it to the internet cafe, such as today, but I am still going to be writing “blog entries” that I will just post my next time to town.)
The journey up here was an adventure, as to be expected. About 70% of the roads were paved, making for large portions of VERY bumpy streches. So bumpy, in fact, that we blew a tire two hours into the trip. Though it seemed like forever, we did eventually complete the 12 hour drive up to Tamale and are very happy to be here. While it is still humid, it is much more tolerable than Accra. Tamale is the capital of Northern Ghana and though it is a city, it is much cleaner with much better roads and friendlier people. Goats and sheep are all over the place!! I am irrationally taken by the goats and have made a special friend with one... His name is Winston. He's wicked small and has adorable grey/silver coloring with black hooves, main, and horns. I'm pretty sure customs would be chill with me bringing him home... :) Sadly, Dr. Wanye was honest with me when I asked if they are food. They are. Also rampant around Tamale are really neat lizards of all sizes and colors – very cool!
Dr. Seth Wanye is the ophthalmologists who we will be working with. There are only 49 ophthalmologists in the country and only one in the Northern Region, of course being Dr. Wanye. He is extremely nice and very smart – I really, really look forward to working with him! When we arrived late on Thursday he insisted on taking us out to dinner, which was very generous. He takes great care of us, checking up on us to make sure we are comfortable and happy. He has a great sense of humor and seems to really enjoy our group.
I was mistaken when I said it would be six girls. When the sixth group member arrived, we found out he is a guy (lucky him is probably going to be allergic to estragen for a while after this trip). The six of us have a guest house to ourselves, which is great. The house is surrounded by a gate and there is a guard on duty 24 hours a day. It is a very comfortable home. There are three bathrooms, four bedrooms, a living room, dining room, and kitchen. We all set up mosquito nets around our beds, but thankfully the bugs aren't so bad here. Though there is no AC, each room has numerous fans. There is running water, but no hot water. (It's so bloody hot that this does not bother us.) The group gets along great together. Jessica, Yue, Cu Ri, and Marielle are all going into their junior year as pre-med students. Jessica and Yue go to Wellesley, Cu Ri is at Mount Holyoke, and Marielle is at Holy Cross. Mark graduated this year from UC Denver and is applying to medical schools while here (he's here for six months!).
Our home is just outside the city center in a nice nieghborhood of sorts. We walked around the area for a bit today. There are little shacks/huts lining the main road that sell everything from snacks to water to phone cards to clothes to tools. Walking around, we made a spectacle for the children. I don't think they see many fair skined people, thus making us wicked novelties! Kids from all around will run up to us to greet us and ask what our names are. They are very sweet.
Monday is a holiday in Africa, as well. It is Africa Day, meaning we get a long weekend (not that we've even worked yet). We all look forward to our first day on Tuesday. That's about all that is new now, so I'll be in touch best I can as soon as I can. I love and miss everyone back home, take care!!