The Clinic

2-8-10

I had a very unexpected day today. The plan was to join Catherine in Amanase to visit the clinic in the morning, and then return to Amasaman in the afternoon to help Justine at the Microfinance office. As I have come to learn however, nothing goes quite as planned in Ghana.

Catherine and I left at 8am and arrived in Amanase at 9:15. Her agenda was to pick up two dresses that she had hired a dressmaker to sew last week and to say goodbye to the women at the clinic she had worked at for one month. We decided to go to the dressmaker first to make sure that the clothes were finished. When we got there, the woman pulled out the yards of fabric that Catherine had previously bought and said it wasn’t finished (really? Hadn’t noticed). She said she needed until 4pm to finish, but agreed to hurry since we would only be there for the morning and Catherine is leaving on Wednesday. And so we ventured on to the clinic.

The clinic was primarily set up for deliveries and general health issues like safe sex practices and major vaccines. It was obvious that the nurses were trying to maintain as sterile an environment as possible, considering their circumstances. There was a labor room, which had one of those half bed things with stirrups attached. Next to it was the recovery room with two beds and a nurse’s station, and the final room next to that was the intake room, where two nurses were stationed to dole out medicines to those with common illnesses, and to collect health insurance and fill out paperwork. The posters lining the walls mainly pertained to sexual practices, where I also found the prices for different types of birth control. Amazingly an IUD was only 2 GHC ($1.50!). In the States any and all of the tests, medicines, and contraceptives would have been much more expensive.

We spent most of our time there talking amongst ourselves and with the nurses when they weren’t busy. Yaw #1 from the party the day before also arrived with his friend Simon and we had lunch together. Afterwards we checked back in with the seamstress who was about half way done with the first dress. By my calculations, there was no way we were leaving town before 5pm. So we went back to the clinic.

Over the course of the next hour more things were added to our list of things to be accomplished before leaving Amanase. We now had to go to the District Health Services in the next town to say goodbye to the director there, who consequently wasn’t in, which led to us going to the Ministry for Youth Labour and Employment. The day just got longer. No one was in their respective offices. We moved from place to place in large circles and waited in each venue for chunks of time. Eventually we saw the Chief Executive Director (I know this from the placard on his office door) who was nice enough but made both Catherine and myself feel awkward with questions like, “And what will you do for the Youth Club?” and “Do you know so-and-so who teaches somewhere in Australia?” It seems Ghanaians don’t understand that people in other countries don’t know everyone there.

After meeting with the officials, we returned to Amanase and went back to the dress shop. By this point it was 4PM and the dresses were finished. Katherine tried them on, but the green top/skirt combination was too large. We spent another hour at the shop waiting for the seamstress to grudgingly alter it.

In the end we left Amanase at 5:30PM. Our drive home was filled with laughter about the many strange conversations we had had, and how much we hope there would be water at the house. We did find water, but also a meal of banku which made Catherine go to bed without dinner. I sat with Justine in our common room and we continued on the bottle of wine I had started the previous night. Wine apparently makes the language barrier a whole lot more manageable. Justine shared with me that Ben, the man who works with us at the Microfinance office, will get he axe on Friday. He has stolen 200GHC and had an affair with one of the volunteers. Apparently he has also lied to Hayford and the volunteers as well.

Trotro Name of the Day: “Dr. Jesus”

Ghanaian Travel Tip #49: You think you have everything covered, repel the mosquitos, get the vaccines, avoid the wildlife, but wait, you forgot something… all sorts of biting flies! Yes, the flies love human flesh so beware.

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One Response to “The Clinic”

  1. Chelsey Says:

    unless you are young enough to get it for free, birth control is about 30$-50$ here

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