Hello from the lab!!! Things in lab have recently taken off because we have acquired a second gel box and a second PCR machine, doubling the number of reactions we can run and process each day. These acquisitions have dramatically increased microbiology lab morale! We now hope to complete data collection on our set of samples within the next couple of weeks.
It is hard to believe that we have only two weeks remaining- time has gone by so quickly!
This upcoming weekend we have reservations at Hans Cottage Botel, a few kilometers from Kakum National Park. Kakum is known for its canopy walk (30m high) and its populations of birds, monkeys, and butterflies. We are excited to visit the rainforest and will post pictures upon our return.
Equally exciting is our lodging for the weekend: The Botel is located on a lagoon containing Nile crocodiles!
We will probably spend our last weekend in Ghana closer to Accra. We are looking into day trips, but there are plenty of places in Accra which we have not yet explored… so much to see!
There is one thing we have been exploring since arriving in Ghana, and that is the food. Fortunately, we all like groundnuts (peanuts) and have experienced many of the groundnut related delicacies available: groundnut soup, groundnut cakes, groundnut paste, etc. We have also tried many of the traditional dishes, including fufu (a ball of mashed cassava or plantain, roughly the texture of bread dough), banku (similar to fufu, but fermented), palava sauce (spicy, cooked spinach with variable other unidentified ingredients), yams (dense, white potato-like starch), and goat kebabs (self-explanatory).
We’ve also enjoyed trying all of the Ghanaian snack foods. Favorites include Choco FanIce, essentially frozen chocolate milk, and “rock pies”, which resemble muffins but taste more like a biscuit with a little nutmeg and pineapple juice.
In the beverage category, we’ve enjoyed Alvaro sodas—one is pineapple flavored and contains malt, as well as pineapple juice with “a hint of ginger”, as the bottle describes.
At our hostel, we typically cook dinner and one of our specialties we have called “orange-orange”, which we like to think is a close cousin of the Ghanaian bean and fried plantain dish with the name “red-red”. We’ll keep the recipe a secret, but will say that its distinct color derives from a can of tomato paste.
Thats all for now! Stay tuned for pictures from the rainforest!