Ghana 2009

Cohort V

In January 2009, the 20 first-year students of Cohort V traveled to Ghana. The trip was led by Program Director Gisella Gisolo; Professor of Counseling Psychology Tina Richardson; and Teaching Fellow Wes Atkinson.


Trip highlights:

  • Visit to Accra's historical landmarks: Kwame Nkrumah Memorial, W.E.B. DuBois Center, National Cultural Center
  • Walking on rope suspension bridges at the Kakum National Park
  • Visit to Elmina Castle (Cape Coast) and lecture on slave trade
  • African dance and drumming workshop
  • Swimming in Kokrobiti Beach
  • Shopping at the Kumasi market, the largest open-air market in West Africa
  • Learning about the history of Kumasi: Asante's King Palace and military museum
  • Interview with the director and nurses of the Maranatha Health Clinic and its outreach clinic in a remote village
  • Learning about cocoa farming, production, and business at the Cocoa Research Center 
  • Trying out one's bargaining skills at a wood-carving village
  • Learning about traditional Kente textile-weaving
  • Lectures on Ghanaian religion, family structure, politics and art from faculty from the University of Ghana in Accra and the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi



"The same day that we went to the commercial district, we also went to the real market later that afternoon--the largest outdoor market in Africa. This market was so different from the market that we went to in the morning. There was so much commotion going on--I wanted to stop walking and look around at everything. This is the first time in my life that I have been stared at because of the way I look. When our group walked through the market, all in a single file, everyone seemed to stop what they were doing to stare at us or clap and wave. I almost felt like our group was being paraded through the market. At first I was so overwhelmed by everything going on, but I soon relaxed and started waving to people and shaking people's hands. The market was extremely crowded. I felt like so much was going on. I wished that I could be invisible so that I could see everything that was going on. A word that I would use to describe my experience would be humbling. Everyone just dropped what they were doing to look at us. people were cheering and so many people wanted to shake my hands. It was an amazing experience." -Kate Phyfe, Cohort V




"On Tuesday we visited a medical clinic in Kumasi. The woman in charge of the clinic is named Agatha. She told us to call her 'Aunti Agatha' as all of her patients do. She is so inspirational--she couldn't afford to go to high school, so she self educated herself and got her nursing and midwifery degrees. She also has six children, five natural and one adopted. The clinic in Kumasi mostly caters to pregnant women. We saw two women who had just given birth, and their newborn children. There were lots of pregnant women and young children in the waiting room. The operating room was sparsely filled, and lacked many modern necessities such as air conditioning and anesthetics. Auntie Agatha told us that the clinic costs approximately $20,000 a year to run! It only costs seven cedis for a woman to give birth thtere--that's only about five U.S. dollars. I was shocked by how inexpensive it is to run, considering how much of a difference it has made. We were so moved by the work being done that we all gave 10 cedis." -Brenna Tudor, Cohort V








"The dance class started and the professor introduced himself to us. He is in his mid-fifties and he uses a cane to walk; however during our class he put his cane away and said, "How can I teach dance without dancing?" This showed me the strength of character held by Ghanaians. We began to dance in that phase where everyone is embarrassed to do anything in front of the group; however, after the "ice breakers," we learned the rhythm. When our group got comfortable, we danced for an hour in the hot weather and sweated a lot. It cleaned my mind and took me away from the world. This moment may sound simple compared to all the other memories, but I loved it because it strengthened our ties with the culture and with the entire group." -Bruno Neves, Cohort V










from left to right:

The outreach clinic near Kumasi

Elmina Castle, former slave trade fort

Local women working on freshly harvested cocoa beans