Weiner Schnitzel vom Schwein with the Germans

Recently our friend Nils told us that his favorite European food was weiner schnitzel (Germans eat it with pork instead of the traditional Austrian type with veal). So we got some pork from a local butcher, made cutlets, flattened them out and had them ready for Sunday night.

When he came over we worked together to fry up the meat and prepared a very German meal of weiner schnitzel, potatoes, and cabbage.

Marlen, who had been ill the week before mustered up quite an appetite and surprised us by eating a whole schnitzel herself! Perhaps her illness had some symptoms of homesickness that we helped to cure.

Gbinnya'ari = "Butt Roots" = Laziness

Sometimes other languages say it best. The word for laziness in Mampruli is gbinnya’ari which is transliterated as “butt roots.” So a lazy person is a gbinnya’adaana or “one with butt roots.” They’ve been sitting on their butts doing nothing for so long that they’ve grown roots!

PJS (and not that’s not pajamas)

A 13 year old boy, who years before had a bowel resection for an intestinal obstruction, was admitted to our hospital several times with abdominal pain. The pain was intermittent but severe.  After conservative treatment, he got better, but only for about a week. He then returned with pain, vomiting and inability to pass stool or gas. I decided to operate.

I found an intussusception causing a bowel obstruction. A tumor attached to the inside wall of the small intestines caused the bowel to fold and twist upon itself. I was able to reduce the intussusception and remove the tumor. As I examined the remaining bowel, I realized that he had multiple other small tumors throughout the small intestines. I removed several of the larger tumors, but could not remove all of them.

As I examined the bowel and resected the tumors, I remembered something peculiar that I had noticed on the patient even as he was lying on the operating table waiting for surgery. I had not yet made the connection. He has black spots on his lips, palms and soles of his feet. Together, these findings constitute a syndrome, Peutz Jehger Syndrome.

The good news is that this means the tumors are benign, but have potential to become cancer. I explained to the family that he would have to be examined on a regular basis, including colonoscopy to rule out the presence of any cancers.

He is a sweet kid who lives close by, and always has a smile for me whenever we meet.

** WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES **
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Gambaga’s Bird (Muscicapa Gambagae)

My recent research into Dr. Rudolf Fisch’s 1910 trek through Mamprugu led me to another European visitor’s journals about a visit to Gambaga, Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1901. Lieutenant Boyd Alexander was a British Army Officer who was famous for his expeditions from West to East Africa in the early 1900s. He was a passionate ornithologist and through his travels he amassed a collection of African bird specimens that he later gifted to the British Museum – many of them from Ghana.

Lt. Alexander was lucky enough to discover some new species in Ghana* and he named one after Gambaga since he first spotted it there. This bird is Muscicapa Gambagae or the Gambaga Flycatcher.

In 1902, Boyd published a report in Ibis, a renowned ornithology journal, about his travels in Ghana and the birds he collected. That report first mentions this bird.**

I found his report of the journey from Kumasi to Gambaga to be quite interesting. Here are some excerpts from On the Birds of the Gold Coast Colony and its Hinterland. Read More

Heidi’s Video for Keswick Christian School

Heidi’s old high school Keswick Christian School had a banquet with the theme “I Am Second” and asked her to contribute a video for the program.

Zenabu’s Baby Naming Ceremony

My good friend Kolbugri‘s second wife Fozeaa just had another baby girl and they invited us to the suna (baby naming ceremony). I was honored to be invited to the observe the ceremony where the Muslim elders come and bless the child. This is a private ritual that I had not yet seen in my three years here.

Here’s how it went down. An Islamic name was chosen by the lumaam (maalam) based on the child’s gender and birth day of the week. One of the men brought the name over on a piece of paper and presented it to the father and who passed it around to those attending the ceremony.

ZENABU was the name to be given. It is a transliteration of the Arabic name  زينب‎‎, or “Zaynab” which was Mohammed’s daughter’s name. It is also connected to the Hebrew name ‘Zenyeb’ which means ‘pride of her father’. Read More