Azonto, halfway and my birthday! :)

Last Friday afternoon we watched a youtube video with some of the girls that work in our housing complex because they’ve promised to teach us how to dance azonto – probably because they think that it will be hilarious watching us try, but azonto moves are a regular part of our aerobics class and I’m hopeless, so we’re shamelessly trying to get all the help we can get…  no promises of achieving this goal 🙂 But it’s fun and makes me laugh!

And just in case you’d like to try azonto… here is the video they showed us 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTUIlOudlHI

So as of Sunday last week, Binita and I are now halfway through our PULSE assignment in Ghana! I’ve thought about that a lot this week and tried to be reflective, but I’m having a difficult time doing that because I feel like we’re still very much in the middle of things, with a lot still to do… So I’ll reflect in a different post a little later on 🙂

Work has picked up in the past few weeks, and I think that will continue as we move towards writing a semi-annual project report later this year…  There are a few different pieces that I’ve been working on lately… We’re in the process of trying to develop a sustainable data collection and reporting system for the STAR CHPS project, with the knowledge that there will be a scale up to add additional facilities to the 18 that are currently in the project.  I feel like that is a bit of a daunting task, since we’re not sure right now if we’ll be able to get this data electronically or if it will have to be manually collected (I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that we will be able to get it electronically). This week, we’re going to be visiting the Ghana Health Services district offices to discuss the results of our data quality assessment at the current 18 STAR CHPS facilities, so we may be able to gain a better understanding of our data collection options from them. And then I’m also sending out homemade 🙂 weekly Excel basics lessons for any interested office staff… so sometimes it does feel like there are a lot of different things going on at once… but we’re all working towards the same goal, and that’s a good feeling!

Aaand this past Thursday was my birthday 🙂 It was a great day… started off with an early jog and then fresh-from-the -oven scones for breakfast (thanks, Binita!) and then I was serenaded (happy birthday to you/how old are you now/may God bless you now) by two of the guys at the office and the whole office staff signed a birthday card for me.  I also spoke with my parents and had a few cards from friends here and at home and a bunch of facebook messages, so that was really nice 🙂 And then that night, Binita and I had a nice dinner out… so it was just a really nice day.  

And then the whole weekend was really nice, too, so I’m just going to claim it all as my birthday weekend!  Binita made a birthday cake on Friday afternoon (our little toaster oven is doing a great job baking), and then we met up with some of the friends that we’ve been so lucky to meet here, and had a nice evening (in the middle of the biggest rain storm that we’ve seen since we’ve been here!).  Saturday we got up early and went to the fish market in the town next to us…. It was our first time going… and there are so many different kinds of fish – and squid and snails and octopus and prawns and sharks! (Watch Binita’s blog for some great pictures)  We weren’t too brave, though and just bought some red snapper and cooked it for dinner that night… it was so nice to have fresh fish… I just need to learn how to fillet them and get all the little bones out!  We also bought some shrimp, which I was able to de-head and de-vein, so that promises to make a few nice meals as well (I really do like living at the coast).  We made our weekly trip to market circle and to the supermarket… and I made some hummus and banana bread for the week… and we even had time to go for a quick swim on Sunday afternoon, and the power cuts held off until Monday morning!  So all in all, it was a great birthday weekend in Ghana 🙂

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