It has been a while since our last post so we wanted to update everyone on our activities in Ghana- both in and out of lab. The past week brought some good news and some bad news regarding our two projects in lab. As for the bad news- sadly, the A6 cell line was not able to survive and it will be another couple weeks before we can get the next shipment of cells. However, the good news is that, so far, we have made great progress with the PCR aspect of our research. We have approximately 260 DNA samples and for each we must run a total of about 6 PCR reactions. Initially, we had a few problems with some of the reactions but, now that most of our troubleshooting is done we are moving right along. The department of Microbiology at the University of Ghana Medical School has been doing an incredible job of making sure we are as comfortable and productive as possible in lab and for this we are very appreciative.
As for life outside of lab we have been busy exploring the capital city of Accra and surrounding areas. Last week we went to an outdoor sports bar to watch Ghana and Uruguay face off in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Unfortunately, Ghana lost to Uruguay in a penalty shoot out but, the match was a great one to watch especially when surrounded by hundreds of die-hard football fans covered from head to toe in Ghana’s red, green, and gold. This past weekend the four of us traveled to Cape Coast which is about 2 hours west of Accra by bus. There, we toured Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle both of which were built by Europeans and used for slave trade during the 18th century.
During the past week we have also visited some notable sites right in Accra. We visited the National Museum and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, a park and museum dedicated to the 1st President of Ghana. We have also visited the Arts and Cultural center of Accra, an outdoor market where you can buy all traditional African crafts including masks, drums, cloth, carvings, beads and much more.
The end of this week will mark the halfway point of our 6 week stay in Ghana. Laura, who only joined us for 3 weeks, is already back in the US. As for this weekend Nora, Catherine, and I plan to continue exploring Accra and hopefully relax at the beach so we can rest up for yet another productive week in lab beginning on Monday.