Today started with a loud tapping on my door at 6 am. Kwadwo’s wife Sylvia was waking me up about an hour earlier than I had expected. Oh well, guess I will function on 3 hours of sleep today. I was unsure about our breakfast arrangements so I finished my ‘ leftover turkey sandwich I had bought 2 days ago at Panera. I was hoping I would not get salmonella but if I did I rationalized that it was probably ‘American’ salmonella.
We all met at the hotel restaurant and I had a glass of OJ and the girls were very pleased that coffee and tea where available. The owners of this hotel called the Samartine Hotel are very friendly and accommodating. They have just finished years of work on this hotel and opened last week. I think we are one of the first guests. The sheets on my bed are brand new and the place is immaculate. It is a nice change from some of the previous hotels/guest houses we have stayed in and I would very highly recommend that you check out this hotel if you are in need of affordable, yet clean hotel rooms. Ok, enough of my commercial but the proprietors, Sam and Martine, are such lovely people I had to give them a shout out.
After breakfast we loaded onto our 25 seat bus (also a huge improvement in the Tro Tros that we used last year). Off we go for a day of sightseeing and a meeting with the Minister of Education. We had hoped to meet up with the University of Ghana students today but they are all on Christmas break so we will try to connect at the end of our trip. We drove through the campus. It is quite large and covers many acres of prime land overlooking the city of Accra. There are many academic departments and it is a frequent choice amongst students from neighboring countries.
The campus is impressive but we hear stories about the living conditions for the students and the UML students realize how good they have it at UML. Often there are 6-8 students sharing one dorm room with many bunk beds. We ask our friend Mawuli who is attending there in his last year of a BS in Social Work, how much the tuition is a year. He reports $500 per year. Ummmm’ I could save a lot of money and send Jimmy here.
After our drive through the campus we drive to the site where the Minister of Education works. He is a very important man and he has written an official letter of support for our group and that is not very often done. I believe he has interest in our trip and has agreed to meet with us. He was unable to meet with us so we meet with his Chief Director, Mr. Dannyo.
After brief introductions by all the students and myself we review our itinerary with the him. He appears impressed by the type of experiences we have planned. The students ask him some very relevant questions and we present him with one of our blue NSWB polo shirts and a copy of the UML Magazine article that was written by Karen Angelo last Spring about our trip in 2009. We also have given him some medicine that have brought with us as a sample of some of the supplies that we have carried into Ghana to deliver to the underserved people in our clinics. He is also impressed by this little ‘freebie’ gift of multivitamins, ranitidine, loratadine and Advil. He reports it is the first time he has ever gotten free medicine.