“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day Ten 6/2/2010

Today I was back in the OPD, and since I am leaving for a week long trip I thought instead of shadowing any doctors I would work at the nurse’s station all day, so I took a lot of BP’s, temperatures and patient histories. We are getting a new roommate from Japan so I am moving out of my room and moving into the other room with Kelly (Nievah’s is leaving to go to Accra), so hopefully when I get back from my trip I can meet him.
I am leaving tomorrow to go to Mole National Park with 5 other people and we are leaving Mamfe around 4am so we can catch our 9am bus. So packing tonight, and moving my stuff and hopefully my laundry will air dry fast because I need to pack that stuff for my week long adventure!!!

I just got back from my week long adventure around Ghana! We started at 3am, catching a Tro to Koforidua, where we caught another Tro to Kumasi, then we got into a STC charter bus to Tamale where we spent the night, to get up at 4am to get another Tro Mole National Park. But once at Mole, it is was worth all the driving! Mole is Ghana’s largest wildlife sanctuary, and it is largely flat savanna with a hotel combined on the land. There are more than 90 mammal species and at least 344 bird species. But the biggest attraction they have is the more then 800 elephants that claim Mole as home.
So back to the trip, we got to Tamale and this Australian man named Stewart (he was on the STC bus with us) decided to join up with our group of 6. We got a hotel there and it was decent for 11 cedis a night ($7-8), but it rained really hard that night and my room’s ceiling leaked all over the bed so I didn’t get the best night sleep! But we got up at 4am to get bus tickets from metro station, but the conductor showed up late and refused to sell tickets to us, so we had to baragin in the Tro drivers and they were asking $300 for the ride, but we finally settled with one from $128. We also picked up two Canadian girls named Victoria and Carolyn at the metro station. Most of the drive was ok, but the last 2 hours were hell, the road (especially during the rainy season) is filled with huge pot holes in the road and make for a really bumping ride, but we made it and it was just an amazing place. The pictures above show some of the place, the 6 girls got 2 rooms (3 each) and the 4 boys got a room together, we went for a walk into the park with our guide, but we didn’t see any elephants. Lots of African deer, baboons, birds etc, it was really great. The park is huge and isn’t gated off so these animals are free to come and go, but most stay here because it’s a good place to raise young.
We got up early the next day for our really trek into the park. We got to ride in an open backed vehicle and in about 2 minutes of the ride into the park, 3 huge male elephants walked across the road  So we (just the girls) went on a tracking adventure into African wild to find the elephants. There are just a few of the pictures I took, but they are just the most amazing creatures alive! It was truly amazing to be standing so close to these giants, so it was definitely worth the 12 hour total drive it took. This place is a really cool place to go, the hotel was very reasonable, the food was good, the rooms were nice, there is a pool, and wild boar and baboons are climbing all over the hotel premise (we woke up every morning to baboons on our porch). So after two days at Mole we got up at 4am again to catch the metro bus to Bolgatanga/Paga area (which is at the very top of the western region of Ghana).
The northern part of Ghana has such a different atmosphere from the south, they are much more chill and the area is covered with farm land and adobe style huts. I really liked it up there, the people do try and sell you things, but they aren’t as persistent as the sellers in the south, and it’s really nice sometimes to just be able to walk the streets of a town and not being hassled into buying things. Paga features a crocodile reserve, so we took a 4 hour Tro ride (it was suppose to be 2 hours) up to Paga for the day to see crocodiles, and see the Pio’s Palace. The crocodile place was really cool because they get the crocodiles to come out of the water with live chickens and then they let ups hold their tails and sit on them to take pictures!!! It was so creepy being so close to a crocodile and actually touching it was so amazing, we had to pay for the cameras so a boy on the trip with us has a really nice camera so once he uploads them, I will get some up here. Went back to Bolgatanga for the night and got up around 8am to catch the STC bus down to Accra.
We got into Accra at 1am this morning and since no Tros are operating at this time we spent the night at the bus station, to finally get on a Tro at 8ish. So I am back home and even through this trip was super fun and really amazing, it’s good to be home. I will go back to work tomorrow and I think to Cape Coast this weekend.

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