Stephanie Oddi volunteered in various village eye care outreaches in Ghana for 4 weeks through the non-profit Unite for Sight. She performed visual acuity exams, dispensed medication, and worked with local volunteers to interview patients about their symptoms. She was exposed to bucket bathes, malaria, Ebola, cholera, and tro-tros, all of which are rarely seen in the United States. In only one month, Stephanie learned basic Twi (the language of many villages in Ghana), observed cataract, pterygium, and glaucoma surgeries, and became close to the local doctors, nurses, and volunteers. Though she lived in hotels for majority of her stay in Ghana, Stephanie still immersed herself in the Ghanaian culture by visiting local markets, talking to patients and shop owners, and frequenting local authentic eateries. During her free-time at outreaches, she spoke to the local volunteers about the differences in culture. These conversations focused mostly on religion, marriage, dancing, government, and money. Stephanie was fortunate enough to be in Ghana for the Ghana v. USA World Cup match and be a part of the celebrations that took place in the streets of Kumasi during those matches. Stephanie worked with three different clinics during her stay and travelled to the Volta Region, Kumasi, and Accra for outreaches, and on weekends, travelled to the Ashanti Palace, an alligator sanctuary, and spent hours wandering around the historic Cape Coast Castle, a castle used in the transportation of slaves on the Gold Coast of West Africa.
Our CEE’s purpose was to raise awareness about sex trafficking abroad and in our very own neighborhoods. To do this, my CEE team and I organized a presentation, interactive simulations, and roundtable discussions about this topic. We presented statistics about the countries we studied abroad in (France, Mexico, and Ghana) and Philadelphia. Not only did an Arcadia University professor, Dr. Jeanne Buckley, speak about sex trafficking, but we also had the president of Dawn’s Place, a shelter for sexually exploited women, speak about her experience working with trafficking victims in Philadelphia. To make our list of guest speakers even better, a graduate of Dawn’s Place spoke about her own trafficking experience in Philadelphia. After our speakers, student volunteers assisted us with 3 interactive sex trafficking simulations that were based on each of our countries. During the simulations, select people were given colored stickers and were “trafficked.” The “trafficked” then became “traffickers” and had to give stickers to others to “traffic” them. At the end of the simulations, most of the attendees had stickers and were therefore “trafficked.” The attendees were then split into groups based on the color of their stickers for our roundtable discussions. The roundtable discussions were facilitated by us VIH awardees and conversation was prompted by 5 questions that we had previously designed. Attendees left with more information about sex trafficking in the world, the Philadelphia area, and the ways they can help organizations in the area raise awareness and fight local sex trafficking.