Saturday morning the medical team arrived bright an early to a remote village called Baniantwe. It was so beautiful and overlooked a huge ravine. The man who had been coordinating the Ghanaian volunteers all week was sitting in the chief’s chair in his traditional crown, robe, and jewelry. We had no idea that Charles was a chief. What an example that this man, in this position of power, would choose to serve along side us all week.
After the speeches concluded, the village presented us with our largest gift ever. One by one the children brought huge tubers of yams until there was a mountain of yams before us. Then a perfect white ram was ushered in to the group. Dr. Mensah surprised Dr. Sarah by asking her to thank the village on our behalf. She did an eloquent job expressing a mountain of gratitude for this mountain of yams. One of the elders responded by saying that even the opportunity for their children to see us and meet us will impact their lives forever. How could we not give our best and do our all for this obscure, tucked-away village who saw fit to present us with these precious gifts?
Every station functioned so well and before we knew it, all 425 of the villagers who arrived for care had been seen. The same number of healthy people received deworming, tylenol and vitamins. While the team helped pharmacy clear out the last of the scripts, Dr. Joe gave the village kids a new soccer ball. Before we knew it most of the men on our team joined the youth of the village in a soccer match. We women would have joined in but we were too busy working! I’m just kidding….those boys will remember that soccer game long after they will remember the medical clinic!
My favorite moment of the day was when I looked out my classroom window to see how our dental station was doing only to see a herd of cattle grazing in and around Kyle, Amanda and the patients. Not even a herd of cattle can stop that dental team from getting the job done.
I came down with a serious case of the giggles mid-afternoon when, every time I tried to speak to my patient, a rooster sitting right outside my window, would cock-a-doodle-do. I think my translator thought the heat was getting to me but it was just so funny.
The most touching moment of my day was when I turned to see Dr. Rob carrying our exam bed out from behind the screen to the front of our classroom. I couldn’t figure out was he was doing only to realize that his patient was paralyzed from the waist down. Rather than the villagers struggling to carry her to the exam bed, he brought the exam bed to her. I’ll call that picture I took “Compassion”.
On the trip home the vehicles took an unexpected detour to the most beautiful waterfall I had ever seen. What a way to end what was most of the team’s favorite day so far. By the way, no one was home sick with DWD (down with diarrhea).
Back at the compound, Operation Hernia had a productive day despite the generator acting up and despite losing their leader, Dr. Magdi, who came with us to the village. The team is up to 180 procedures. If they keep going at this pace, we may need to call the hernia patients from our first village of Nyamboi to the OR.
We are ready for a rest. Sunday after church we leave for Mole Game Park. David warned us that these are not tame animals and that we need to listen to the man carrying the gun who accompanies us. After dinner I noticed the nurses adding some extra stock to our trauma bag and Dr. Carol gathering extra antibiotics while pondering which one would be best for a baboon bite. Don’t worry — we’ll be just fine. If not, there is no shortage of health care personnel to deal with just about anything!
We will try and get a blog to you from the game park if possible.
With love to all our friends and family back home on behalf of the entire Canadian and UK team!