The Library Building at the University of Ghana

So, in case you were all wondering- my professors did end up coming to class on the second week of school. Here, the original time tables, the published ones, are not necessarily  permanent, so several of my classes changed times. Wonderful. Now, I have labs Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That means no weekend trips and no mid week trips. Fabulous. Then, I went to my Tuesday night class (5:30-6:30) and my professor said the time was “quite ungodly”- I was about to agree, because I really do not like evening classes- but then he changed it to 7:30am. That, in my book, is the most ungodly time I have ever heard. It takes me a half hour to walk to class, so that mean I have a cold shower at 6:00am on Wednesday mornings. My mom told me to look for the good in every situation. I’m still looking…

Lecture Theater Two, where all of my classes are held

Since it’s the third week of school, labs have finally begun. They are unlike any lab I have ever been to. I am currently enrolled in “Comparative Animal Physiology”, and we are studying the digestive system. When I walked into lab, I saw two men with chickens outside, and I didn’t think anything of it. Then 15 minutes later, the same two men walked in with now dead, freshly dissected, defeathered chickens. Wow. When I looked around the room, there were also freshly dissected rats, fish, and bunnies (one of them even had a full bladder). This was new.

The Zoology Department, two weeks before the chicken massacre.

The other thing about classes at the university of Ghana is, you always have to bring money with you. They make copies of books and manuals so often, and you have to pay for the copies of everything, as having your own textbook is seen as being much too expensive. My lab manual was 5 cedi. When I looked to see what we were doing for the day (the introduction was “please take this lab seriously”), it was all drawing. At home, we do draw, but not much.  Here,  we draw for a full three hours- and everything is so particular.

Being an obruni, I made the mistake of bringing only pens. I have never been told so many times that I am supposed to be using pencil. I won’t be making that mistake again. I also now know I am not allowed to shade anything, everything must be done with uniform darkness, I must write the title in a specific order, first letter capitalized, but not all the letters, underline with a ruler, label with a ruler, write the magnification on the lower right hand side of the picture. Oh my goodness- I am not sure what my grades are going to look like.

After we finished drawing the freshly dissected specimens, we were lead to microscopes. For fifty students they had 4 microscopes, and we all had to draw what we saw in each one. It took forever. Overall, I am not quite sure what to say about the lab. The specimens were interesting. I am glad I have a strong stomach…and I tried not to think about the animals too much. However, all the drawing!  We weren’t even told what exactly we were supposed to label.  Basically, it was a free-for all, and we all had to push and shove to get a good view of the specimens.  Four microscopes shared between fifty students doesn’t leave much elbow room. I kind of miss my Chem labs back home- never thought I would say that.

Home Sweet Home, a 30 minute walk from class in 100% humidity.

Mosquito netting is held up with Duct Tape brought from US.

Internet has been down for a week at a time.

My bathroom.

Not only is there not any hot water, ever. There’s not even a hot water TAP!

View from my front door.

The Night Market (but it’s not open at night, so I don’t  know why it is called the “night” market) next to my dorm.

I have found a lady who bakes cookies and cooks dinner.  I often buy breakfast and dinner from her, and I haven’t gotten sick! (I think she is the only lady in Ghana who cooks with vegetables, so I consider myself very fortunate to have found her.)