GHANAIAN CULTURE, environment, herbal remedies, language, newspapers and health care are being studied in detail by seven students from the University of Wisconsin – Superior in the United States. The group’s professor, Dr. Ephraim Nikoi, wanted to bring them to his hometown as part of a three to four week study abroad experience. In addition to researching, the students are enjoying making new friends, attending the inauguration and other social functions, swimming and buying locally – made wares.
Serena Kienbaum came to Ghana to learn about the culture. She wanted to see how different Ghana is from America. She enjoys learning new things and having new experiences and hopes to learn about Ghanaian fashion, food, music and dance. She has been learning about various dresses like the slit and kaba. She went to Makola Market and was able to get material for a dress made in one of these styles. In the upcoming days she will be learning more about music and dance from a woman who went to college for dance.
One of Katie Huberty’s interests is in women and gender studies. Her minor at college is related to it, and the opportunity to come to Africa and study about women’s health spiked her interest. She wants to understand more about the use of contraceptives, abstinence, and access to services for women. The choices that women in Africa have as compared to the United States is another interest, especially, where it relates to these health concerns. She has already had the opportunity to watch services for women with young children. Immunizations, weights and other progress reports are looked at to see what can be done for the child in question. She is interested in seeing more about what services are offered when children are not doing as well as they could be. The clinics Katie has been to offer many services so she hopes to learn more.
Clarissa Kelly has always been interested in her family’s ancestry. Being half African – American, she has always been fascinated by where that part of her family came from. As she finishes out her senior year in college, she plans to do her capstone about something related to science and Africa. Because of her African interests and environmental forensic surveys (plastic research), she ended up joining the study abroad program to learn about how the plastic pollution can potentially harm the ecosystem and the people who make their living off of it. She’s interested in understanding how much damage plastic is doing to the fish and people who use the waters in this area.
Dan Fuller came to Ghana to study herbal medicines because he thinks that herbal remedies might be better than synthetic drugs. Because of Ghana’s rich history in the use of herbal medicine, he thought he would be able to study it in more detail than in America. His research has showed that religion is very closely tied in with the herbal remedies. He has learned from people that the medicines they sell have come to them from God. He wants to learn more about clinics, pharmacies and how they make use of herbal medicines.
Kasey Cable is a Communications major with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. After she found out that she could research community health within the confines of maternal and family planning health, she decided to come to Ghana. She has been able to speak with people at LMK and the Community Health Unit of the La General Hospital located at the premises of the LMK and has learned about the various services they provide. Soon she will be heading out with some outreach groups who go out to churches and schools to educate about family planning services. She has found it interesting that because of the lack of literacy, most information is taught orally. She wants to learn more about women’s health issues.
As a journalism minor, one of Dara Fillmore’s interests lies in newspapers. The opportunity to work with a newspaper in another country has been a great experience for her, especially because written for and worked with newspapers in the past. She is excited to learn about the day-to-day work that goes into the Wojaku newspaper at the LMK. The cultural differences within the writing and publishing of the newspaper are an interest of hers. She looks forward to helping write some stories and design the paper.
Stacy Homstad came to Ghana because she wanted to study in a place where she could learn all about other cultures and customs. Her main goal is to study Pidgin English and how it is used in Ghana. She will be interviewing a focus group and will be learning from several couples. She hopes to find out how they learned Pidgin, when they use it and if they think that they might lose some of the meaning behind what they are trying to say. She has also been trying to learn some Ga and Akan words and phrases and looks forward to learning more.
All the students are enjoying their time in Accra. They have been learning how to shake hands, use Ga or Akan phrases, and eat the local foods. They are digging into their areas of research and like the welcoming atmosphere of Ghana.