Carpenter – Thursday, November 20
Our work is finished. We can hardly believe it.
The team kicked into “full throttle” for these last two days in Carpenter. There was a massive coordinated effort to serve as many patients as possible. It was a sight to see. Over the past two days, 1700 patients were provided care by our medical, dental, eye and laser teams. Our surgeons have successfully completed 247 hernia repairs.
Patients came from all over Northern Region. There are fewer than twelve doctors to serve three million people in Northern Ghana; we have seventeen doctors on this team. One elderly patient who had his hernia repaired remarked to David that he had never, not once, had a doctor lay a hand on him until today.
There are so many patient stories I could speak of from these last few days. Stories of babies with severe malaria, a child with severe croup we nursed through the night, emergency surgeries being performed, vision being saved, and the list goes on and on.
But there is one young woman whose face I will never forget. This twenty-year-old woman presented to our clinic in Banda with a cloth over her face. She has been suffering with pain and bleeding from here nose for two years. When I looked in her nose there was something in there. It was a mass or a growth of some kind. I tried to remove it but it was fixed down. We brought her to Carpenter where, despite a full roster, our surgeons fit her in and removed the growth. It turned out to be a stone or a piece of metal that had been there for years. At dinner last night David explained to us that the family of this woman were destitute because they had spent all of their money travelling around Ghana for someone to help her. Her siblings had to stop going to school in order for the family to afford these hospital visits. The life of this woman and this family is now changed forever as a result of the most basic procedure.
David summed up this mission by telling us that, in the past, his people would say that they have been forgotten by God and by the rest of the world. Through the work of NEA and the work of the health team (David calls us the “icing on the cake” of their development work) he no longer hears his people say this anymore. They are no longer forgotten.
As we were returning to our rooms exhausted last night, some of us enjoyed a “classic Ghana” moment. An ostrich had escaped and was standing on the driveway refusing to let us pass. Only in Ghana!
This morning we rose early for a devotional service under the gazebo with all the NEA staff. It was a moving time to hear testimony from Ghanaians and from our team about how thankful we are to God and to one another for making this mission possible. This partnership is becoming more and more special to more and more people and we will be sad to say goodbye again.
Right now we are heavy into inventory and cleaning and packing. Tonight there will be a big party with our team, all our Ghanaian volunteers and their families. David says it will be a great party. I asked him what makes a party “great” in Ghana. He responded very quickly, “Lots of meat!”
We will begin our journey home very early tomorrow morning. Now that our work is done, we all wish we could beam ourselves home to our loved ones who we miss very much.
I’d better get back to packing!!