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“Out and About in 90 Degree Heat”

“Out and About in 90 Degree Heat”

The pharmacy in Dzorwulu was pretty slow last week, so we tried to have some fun on our lunch breaks.

On Tuesday, Bright picked us up from the pharmacy and we drove to Cynthia’s dressmaker because we wanted to have dresses made. We were almost to the address when Bright stopped the car because the dressmaker was walking down the street away from her business. He talked to her and it turned out that there was no power in the shop and she was on her way to meet someone, so we had to try again “any other day”. We went back on Wednesday and she was there. We flipped through magazines to select what style we wanted for our dresses, showed the dressmaker our choices and our cloths, and she took several measurements. She said it would be two weeks to make our dresses, so they will be ready to pick up on October 25 (right before we leave to come home). We can’t wait to see how they turn out!

Thursday was full of adventure and it has been our favorite day so far. The morning started off with FanIce, which is ice cream in a pouch that tastes like a milkshake. It comes in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, but we tried vanilla to be safe. It was tasty and it was a nice relief from the heat.

Cooling off during a hot day at the pharmacy.

The FanIce bag is the size of a large smartphone, so it is a portable treat.

Thursday turned out to be an interesting day at work. We are used to seeing patients who speak English or Twi, and Rita, Kate, and Josephine fill us in when a Twi-speaking patient comes to the pharmacy. Thursday was different because we saw three patients who spoke French. Josephine said it’s not uncommon to see a French-speaking patient on a weekly basis since all of the countries that surround Ghana are former French colonies. These patients stymied Rita and Kate, but Nicole was able to communicate with them since she can speak French. It was difficult because two patients spoke a local dialect Nicole had trouble understanding, and in the end they wanted a product they had used before even though the symptoms they described would not be adequately treated with that product. The third patient was easier to help because he also spoke some English, so Courtney and Rita did the initial consultation and Nicole followed up with counseling. Overall, Nicole was happy to be able to communicate in French.

We followed our morning counseling with a lunch break at Palace, which is a Chinese restaurant near the pharmacy. Nicole wanted to try local Chinese food at some point during the trip because she enjoys Asian cuisine and she wanted to see how it compared to Chinese food in America. America wins. We shared an order of sweet and sour chicken and white rice (which does not come with the entrée here) and it was not as good as sweet and sour chicken at home. The sauce was not very sweet and the chicken was mostly fat (so this part was like home). Not the best lunch, but it was something different to try.

After work, Rita’s friend Cynthia picked us up for dinner, but first we stopped on the side of the road to try coconut water.

The vendor used a machete to trim and open the coconut, and then you would drink the water.

Courtney designated Nicole as her official taste-tester for the trip, so Nicole tried the coconut water first.

Courtney reacts after taking a sip, while Rita talks to the vendor between sips.

The coconut contains water, which tastes slightly sweet but does not have a very distinct flavor. It tasted kind of like flavored water without any added sweetener. Once you finished drinking the water (or tossed it in the gutter if you could not finish it), the vendor would crack open the coconut and scoop out the coconut fruit. The fruit does not taste or resemble the packaged coconut in the baking aisle of the grocery store – it is slimy and has the same taste as the water.

After this detour, we went to Cuppa Cappuccino for dinner. It is a sandwich shop that also serves a variety of drinks – including coffee.

Courtney was able to drink coffee for the first time in almost two weeks and she was very happy about this.

We ordered sandwiches without any vegetables since we were not sure how the vegetables were washed, and after some very slow service, the waitress messed up our order. The sandwiches we okay, but it was nice to have food that reminded us of home. Courtney was happy regardless because she drank her cup of coffee (and then ate many of the accompanying sugar cubes), until it was 1:30am and she was still wired from the caffeine.

At dinner, from left to right: Sylvia, Cynthia, Rita, Courtney, and Nicole. Lorraine did not want to be photographed so she operated the camera.

Friday was a laid back day. Rita wanted to have a manicure and pedicure during lunch, so we walked to a nearby salon. Nicole and Courtney each opted for a manicure, and it was probably the cheapest manicure we have ever seen (5 cedis each, which is about $2.50). The quality was not top-notch, but a $2 manicure isn’t a bad way to spend a lunch break.

The funny part about this excursion was lunch. We decided to eat after the manicures and we forgot to take into account how the nail polish would not be completely dry when it was time to eat. We each ordered a meat pie for lunch (a pastry with a meat and onion filling) and requested forks from the waitress. We had to ask her four or five times to bring us silverware and she probably thought we were crazy (eating a meat pie with a fork is the equivalent of eating a fast food hamburger with silverware at home). Rita finally explained that we just had our nails done and procured some forks for us.

The Dzorwulu FamilyCare Pharmacy staff from left to right: Kate (DT), Rita, Nicole, Josephine (RPh), and Courtney

Saturday was the day we had been waiting for: beach day! Bright said he would take us to the beach and he would pick us up before the afternoon. This means noon, right? Not in Ghana! He did not arrive until almost 4pm. At first he said he was stuck in traffic all afternoon, but then it turns out he watched a soccer match while waiting for someone to show up at an appointment. Either way, we were still excited to go to the beach, even though the sun was now hidden behind some clouds. We tried kebabs made with goat meat, which were pretty good! The meat was a little chewy, but the flavor was good.

We finally snapped a good photo of Bright! He says wearing shoes around your neck will be fashionable by fall 2015.

Courtney’s on a horse – after all, anything is possible when you use Old Spice body wash. (She doesn’t.)

Courtney, Nicole and Rita at the beach

Nothing like a friendly reminder each time you light up.

Daniel arrives early Monday morning, so we will kick off two weeks of health organizations and travelling with a very early “Welcome home!”

Auntie Nicole and Auntie Courtney