“Wa”t’s up?- May 20th

May 20
The rains have come at last and are such a welcome relief from the heat (37*C today!)
If you’ve ever experienced Africa in the rainy season you know how impressive the downpours can be, but trust me, my Albertan friends, the thunder, lightning and torrents of rain are a real show.

Although we have only been in Wa a short time, we have been very busy organizing people, activities, and resources before supervisors Dr.Bruce Hunter and Dr.Isaac Luginaah depart for Accra.
Most importantly, we are working on getting local Ghanaian organizations on board with our guinea fowl project so that we can apply for funding through a CIDA program focussed on food security (including the University for Development Studies: http://www.uds.edu.gh/ and ACDEP, the Association of Church-based Development : http://acdep.org/wordpress/)

This means a meeting with a lot of people, and takes a lot of time and energy (Dor and I mostly just smile, nod and shake hands enthusiastically but we are working through defining our goals with Bruce before he leaves)

In the rush before Bruce and Isaac go, Dor and I will be practicing our necropsy techniques, as well as learning how to take the appropriate tissue samples and preserve them for later analysis (e.g. looking at parasites, as well as looking for Newcastle, AI, etc). Necropsying guinea fowl will be a significant part of what we do here in Wa, but we are also looking forward to getting the chance to hang around the adjacent vet clinic and see how veterinary medicine is practiced here. Our other major task will be conducting more research to flesh out the grant proposal- we will be traveling to the four villages involved in this project and learning more about guinea fowl husbandry.

Many many things still need to get sorted out before we can leap into our work, but it is a learning experience to be involved in the organizational stage- communications class in first year vet certainly has not prepared me for this!

Here I will introduce Dr. Luginaah’s PhD social/health geography student, Jenna, who is with Dor and I for the summer and is likely to be mentioned in subsequent blog updates. Her project is focussed on examining the national health insurance system in the area but we spend a lot of time together and I frequently impress/bore/confuse her with veterinary chatter.

On Wa

My first impression of Wa has been positive. It is smaller, cleaner, friendlier and just generally more accessible than Accra. There is a market here that runs every day but the large market is held every 6 days. We have only had a brief stroll through so far, but the food looks delicious, and the selection of fabrics and textiles is incredible! Dor, Jenna and I also look forward to purchasing goats as companions from the market (perhaps they will follow us home to Canada!). We are fortunate to have an experienced guide, Kirsten, the VWB summer student who was on this project last summer (and could not resist returning again)
I must also mention that the fruit here is exquisite; already we have been enjoying the most flavorful pineapples of my life, as well as mangos, bananas, watermelon, papaya and tangerines.
Last but not least, I will also add that guinea fowl are as tasty as they are adorable.

The Ghanaians we have interacted with have been without exception, helpful, friendly, and inviting. As an example, we girls have been invited to attend a wedding tomorrow afternoon! We took this as an excellent excuse to buy dresses 🙂