Since I began my medical studies 5 years ago, I always wanted to go to Africa to see how the medical system works, how they treat several diseases and of course, how big the differences are to the systems in Europe! In Februrary 2013 I went for four weeks to Ghana for a medical internship with Work the World.
As I knew that I would travel on my own, I knew that I wanted to book the trip via an organisation that offers me a secure and supported trip! A friend of mine highly recommended Work the World because she had travelled with them to Tanzania previously. So I had a look on the home page and was easily convinced - everything seemed perfectly organised and because of all the information (like videos and case studies), I could even get a feeling for what the trip would be like!
I chose Ghana because I read so many interesting things about this country in the western region of Africa: in particular, lovely people, fantastic nature and very importantly, a secure politic atmosphere!
I was overwhelmed by the cheerfullness of all the staff in the hospital
When I arrived at the airport in the evening after a 13h journey, it was the heat that welcomed me after leaving the airplane. When I left Germany it was snowing and now it was 30°C at 9 p.m! After passport control, I came in to the arrival hall and immediatly met Ezekiel who came from WTW to pick me up. Everything really worked perfectly and Ezekiel was so friendly! At the airport I directly met another student who arrived some minutes earlier than me and so we drove together to the hotel where we stayed the night.
The next morning we met two more students and left together after breakfast. The 4h-bus drive to Takoradi was very comfortable and the bus even had airconditioning! In the late after noon we arrived at the house and were assigned to our rooms. The house is really big and offers enough space for everybody! It is really clean, has a lot of fans to get rid of the heat and from time to time and running water! Upstairs we had our own kitchen where we could prepare our own food after placement in the afternoon or at the weekend.
During the week we ate a delicious breakfast and dinner that Ophelia prepared for us. I never knew before that I adore pancakes that much – they were so good!
On the next day we got an orientation tour where we saw the hospital, the city with market circle, a few supermarkets, the Vodafone internet café and some more places that would be useful during our time there. On Tuesday, we started our first day in the hospital. I was very excited because I didn’t know how it worked in the wards, how the doctors might be and of course, if I could understand the new language and accent. But as soon as I arrived, all my fears disappeared because everybody was so friendly and happy to answer all my questions! I spent two weeks on the paediatrics ward and then two weeks on the obstetrics and gynaecology ward. All in all, it was a time full of experiences!
Every day brought something new: sometimes something exhausting – sometimes something embarrasing and of course, also a lot of happy moments! In particular, the treatment of death and pain differed a lot from our way at home and it was sometimes not that easy for me to accept all the circumstances in the hospital. On the other hand there were so many enriching experiences!
I saw a lot of diseases in Ghana that I’ll never see in Germany - tetanus, sickle cell aneamia and malaria are only a few examples! Furthermore I was overwhelmed by the cheerfullness of all the staff in the hospital! This is one of the things I am sure to miss in Germany as a lot of people in the hospital are often very severe and not that open-hearted!
At the weekends we had time to see a lot of the beautiful country! We visited the slave castles in Cape Coast, made the Kakum cannopy walk and slept in a treehouse, went to Mole National Park up north in the country and visited the Kintampo water falls, the Buabeng Monkey Sanctuary, Axim Beach and took a canoe to the village on stilts! We filled every weekend we had with a wonderful tour and saw a lot of interesting places in Ghana!
This is one of the great advantages of Work the World: you can make contact with so many interesting people and you can travel in a big group at the weekends, which makes it less expensive and much more exciting!
All in all I can really say that my trip with Work the World was a fantastic, once in a life time experience! I learned a lot of things that I could not have learned in Germany!
The staff from Work the World were, without exception, very friendly, and supportive! I can really recommend Work the World and also visiting Ghana, as I will always remember it as a very friendly, open-minded and beautiful country!