Yaara — Friday November 13
“Code Blue Nursing Station, Code Blue Nursing Station.”
Our clinic in Yaara had barely begun as these words rang out over the walkie-talkies. Something else out was ringing out too. It was wailing, the wailing of a mother who had lost a child. Iddrisu, a 5 year old child from the Fulani tribe, was our first patient in the nursing station. Somehow Leslie spotted her in a crowd of about 500 people (she saw her foot hanging at a funny angle from behind a tree) and carried her to the nursing station. Lynda’s bedside malaria test was positive, and Dr. Norman and our incredible nurses Joan, Inessa, Ang and Kim had had already started an IV, given Tylenol for a fever of 40.5 and injected her with antimalarials. Now this tiny child had become unresponsive and was having a grand mal seizure and we were running a code blue on her. One of the things the local nurses have taught us here is that a child’s glucose level will drop precipitously in severe malaria. Iddrisu’s sugar level was 0.8, which is incompatible with life. As concentrated sugar was pushed through the IV and Valium administered, the seizure stopped and so did the wailing. By the end of day, the child was eating rice, walking around and ready to go home to the bush where this child lives. Can you imagine? My translator told me that the mother was going around the village saying, “These people bring our children back from the dead.” We thank God that we were in that village on that moment of that day to save this little life.
I don’t tell this story to pat ourselves on the back. We just did what we would have done in any emergency room back home. I tell it to remind us and remind our supporters that this region needs a hospital. We must help them.
That was the beginning of the biggest day we had ever had with our mobile team. Twelve tribes gathered for this clinic travelling long distances to get to Yaara. Carol, who leads our logistics and operations, shared with the team that today’s clinic was like a symphony. Everyone did their part so well that a beautiful harmony was created. This symphony managed to see all of the twelve tribes that came, and our preliminary numbers indicate that this was 650 people. On top of that, hundreds and hundreds with minor complaints were treated and released by our triage nurses.
Martin and team had a very special case in the eye clinic today. David requested drops for a patient with recurrent eye ulcers. Martin said he had better see the patient. The patient came to the clinic but ran away in fear when he saw Martin. He was retrieved and he finally sat quietly on Moses’ lap while Martin examined him and provided the medicine he needed to heal this eye ulcer. David was so happy that his dog wouldn’t suffer any longer. Yup … even the dogs need us! Martin said the look on the face of the next patient waiting to be seen after the dog was just priceless.
Tony reported that the surgical team had the biggest day ever. Due to some accidental “double bookings,” the team didn’t even get to dinner until 9:00pm. The patients had come from so far that they just decided to keep operating. The were “knackered” and they were “gutted”. (These are two of my new favourite words I’ve learned from our British friends that reflect a very special level of exhaustion.) We are thankful that all the surgeries, including two children, went well with no complications. Tony is one star anaesthetist having to adjust and adapt for the many challenges that a Ghanaian OR presents.
We say goodbye to our photojournalist Erika today. She has taken 17,000 pictures of the incredible work being done in this place. We will miss her but know her work will be used to tell the story of NEA so that more and more people can get involved and so that our dream of a hospital will become a reality.
I was going to close with one of the inspirational quotes that are handed to every team member and volunteer at 3:00pm every day. However, Kyle and Carly in the dental station received their own inspiration message from a patient that trumps any quote from any famous person. A woman from one of the twelve tribes approached Kyle with these words:
I pray you will have a safe journey home and that God will protect your family. I thank God that he has given you a good life so that you can come to Ghana. And I hope you will come back.
Much love to our friends and families and colleagues back at home. Your comments continue to be texted to me so I can read them out at breakfast and dinner, and they make us all well up with emotion as we are missing all our friends and family very much.
See more of Erika Jensen’s photos of Iddrisu’s story.
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2015 Health Team Updates
Yaara, Nov 12
Asantekwaa, Nov 11
Nyamboi, Nov 10
Carpenter, Nov 9
Carpenter, Nov 8
Accra, Nov 7
Toronto, Nov 6
Mennas Jean Baptiste says
Hello team Ghana,
What amazing work every one is doing. Words cannot express how proud we all are of all what you are accomplishing.
It is truly overwhelming the love, compassion, strength & unity you all show as you coordinate the various tasks daily to make life a little bit easier for the Ghanaian people.
Eni, we so proud of you, keep up the great work.
Lots of love, Mennas, Bob, Kenny & Michael
“I’ve learned that people will forgot what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Colleen Landry says
Amazing, amazing, amazing!! Crying in my office, called my co-workers to, they cried and we are all talking about the wonderful work that you are ALL doing over there every day helping hundreds and hundred of people!!
Leave it to my Mom (Leslie) to spot the one child with something “just not quite right” out of a crowd of 500! So inspired and proud of all of you…especially my Mom! She’s my hero!
Karen Hainaut says
So precious to hear of your team’s part in this beautiful GOD story. Changed lives. Changed hearts. To God be the Glory Thanks for sharing….
Your recounts give a small glimpse of your days, and bring tears to those who read them. What you are accomplishing is inspiring. It truly takes a special group of people to be so strong while up against such difficult situations.
Here strong winds are blowing and single digits are upon us. The early morning brings a blanket of white on our once green grass. Thankfully it doesn’t last.
Counting the days until you return home Nicole. Safe travels to all.
helen narancsik says
helen narancsik says
Every time I read the news a little of my eyeshadow disappears. It is a fantastic task that is being done even to the dog. Im sure there is tears in your eyes everyday. Keep up the good work and Nana
That is a brillant story, I am very proud of all your work.
It’s incredible how you all can really make a difference only in two weeks.
Looking forward to receiving the next update!
Hi Team Ghana,
It sounds like you all are making a tremendous impact on the lives of the people of Ghana. It is the such an incredible and altruistic journey you have all embarked on. As a future physician myself I hope I can make such a substantial difference in lives of others as you have. I am exceptionally proud of my father Bill Newton for being a part of all this and I hope to one day to follow in his footsteps. Keep up the great work dad! And to the rest of the team, keep doing what you are doing! Despite being difficult at times know that your work is inspirational to us back home and life saving to your patients.
Elena (Inessa's aunt) says
Every day our family is waiting for news from Ghana . There are no words to express our feelings. We are very proud of you. Your hard work is making a big difference to those who are not as fortunate as us back here. Keep up the great work and we can’t wait to hear from you.
Hugs and kisses to my niece,
Irena RAMBI says
Bonjour à tous
Plus que tous les jours j’ai attendu votre mail quotidien avec impatience.
Il me donne de la joie. Il m’apporte du réconfort. Je suis très touchée par le fait que vous sauvez des vies et aidez tellement de personnes alors que notre cher Paris est meurtri par des actes terroristes horribles où la vie a été ôtée à de nombreux innocents…
Keep going and giving hope to people, all of you!
This message is also to tell to Eni : all the family is safe here even if we are in chock…
Thank you for sharing your experience with us Dr Jennifer.
Irena, Goni, Neta, David and Emma
Caro - Claire Wiles says
I have been sending the daily updates to my friend in Stouffville.
She sent me the following response yesterday to share with you.
” Continuing to pray for this team as they minister, not only physically, but spiritually as well. Praying now for a much needed hospital to minister to these people. God bless you all for your faithfulness to His calling.”
Gord / Dad says
Amazing to hear how everyone there is giving 150% effort to make a difference in so many peoples lives. God bless you all. Gord
Eric Mitchell says
Following these posts closely from school and I am so inspired by the stories and the dedication everyone shows. I am incredibly proud of my mother who fearlessly took upon this challenge and who I know is making a huge difference in the communities you have been visiting.
Everything is good here, got back from Kingston yesterday, everyone is wondering how you’re doing. Keep it up, and I can’t wait to see all the pictures you have taken with my camera!
Love you lots,
Ed and Laurette says
Leslie, you are doing what God intended for you. We are very blessed to know you. We will have a special treat for you when you come home to GC.
Vasil Rambi says
Every “well done job” or “accomplishment” these days pales in comparison to what this amazing Ghana Health Team is doing to help so many good people in need of services we take for granted here in Canada.
Eni, I am passing you and all your colleagues best wishes & greetings from many family members and friends from Canada, Scotland, Albania, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Sweden, China, USA etc. You inspire us all! Your companion of 26 years has never been prouder!
And yes, I am walking Gigi, twice a day … almost every day 🙂
Barb & Bruno says
It is truly wonderful to read about the highlights of this journey that Jennifer is sending to us. I know that it is only the tip of the iceberg (sounds like you might like an iceberg there now) of the great work you all are doing!
Again to my sister Valerie, I am so proud of you and I know Mom is too. Dad doesn’t say much but he is proud of you too.
Love you Sis, keep up the wonderful work!
Eunice Stocks says
It is so incredible each day to be able to read of the amazing work that you are doing in Ghana. I am a very proud Mom to know that my daughter Lois is part of your team.
As you reach the half way point of your mission, I send best wishes to all of you for a safe journey home.
It was exciting to receive the first email from your team letting us know right from the gathering at the airport to the festive arrival you received
I couldn’t wait to receive the next email and the next and the next.
I have been sharing your stories with my team at work, bringing tears of joy and sadness. As I read on.
We would all like to say Thank you to all of you for all you have done in Ghanna you are truly a special group of people
Mim we love you
Rob Hicks says
My very best wishes to Brenda and David
The inspirational work of the NEA has progressed so much in the short time since I was in carpenter
To all the leaders, Magdi and Jennifer, to the team in the background that rarely get a mention but are crucial to the success of the trip, to the grafters who quietly get on with the job in hand –
Make the most of your day of rest and church under the shade of the beautiful tree
Sing your hearts out
And get ready for next week
Massive cheers to the team of 2015 from all of us left behind
Who knows what you can achieve in 7 days
Take care of dr Jo
Love rob Ted Charlie and Elsax
It’s been a week now that I have been abondoned by my lovely wife as she left for this exotic vacation – left on my own to wake two children each day for school, make lunches and dinners, do laundry, clean the house, walk HER dog, etc – sheeesh. Just so she could travel with a group of people that want to help save lives in an area where people desperately need medical assistance. And I can bet I get no sympathy from all the team over in Ghana! 🙂
As I share your exploits with friends and co-workers I get the same response every time – “God Bless them for doing this work – it takes a very special type of person – I myself could never do what they do”. I know you hear that over and over – but there s a reason for that – it is because it is true! You are a special breed ! We are proud to say you are part of our lives.
Floyd Fockler says
Just a quick mention to the gals in pharmacy. Most of your efforts are very much behind the scenes but I am sure invaluable and appreciated by all. Keep up the hard work ladies. I confess I am somewhat bias.
Great work again. We are so proud of our kimmy & all the other wonderful people working in Ghana. It must be so very exciting to be able to do all this great work & pack it all into 1 day. Wow !! Love ya & rest well
Gare & Jude
Anne O'Shea says
Dear Kathryn so very proud of you. Reading the blog I am in awe of Team Ghana and the amazing work you are all doing. Can’t wait to see you Kathryn on 26th and looking forward to giving you a great big hug. Lots of love Mum xxx
Our blogs bring joyful tears as you bring so much help to these people. God bless and keep up your tremendous work.
Brian Feddery says
My wife will tell you that I am a fairly emotionless person. That being said, I am having severe difficulty in reading your missives each day, due to the tears streaming down my face. It’s impossible to imagine the conditions you all are working under, yet the obvious pleasure of what you are all doing comes through so clearly in your “letters home”. Thank you for humbling me. I’m sure everyone who knows someone there must be incredibly proud of that person, and the work they are doing. I can’t find the words to say how proud I am of my incredible wife. Brian
The Lavatory Man and Barb says
I agree with the first statement………these updates affect all of us and truly feel like we are there with you. What incredible stories and accomplishments and giving back of life. Thank you for taking the time to write them when you must just want to sleep at the end of the day.
Incredible story Leslie /Tookie (sorry) of you spotting that beautiful child Addrisu and the story that unfolded. What an incredibly wonderful and unimaginable outcome………..so positive. That is what this is all about.
Loved to hear about the dog that was helped……..not yelped ! So incredible as well.
We have travelled to Africa ( Ghana included) many times and as you all know it becomes a part of your soul.
It makes me so happy that all of you are there doing such incredible work.
You should all be so proud of the impact you are having both medically and culturally.
Thank you from all of us !!!!!!!!!
Barb and Dan ( the Lavatory Man….sing it) in Muskoka (slight snow on the ground today)
Steve lawton says
What inspiring news you are sharing, making a difference the so many lives. Lynda You’re the best Mum. You are doing such fantastic work. We’re so proud of you.
All our love as always. XXX
Betty & Bill says
We are following with great interest the work that the team is performing in Ghana. It truly must be a rewarding experience to be able to help so many in such a short time. Glad to hear Elena is getting involved in some meaningful activity. Did the tooth fairy come to the patient? May you all continue to enjoy good health to continue the good work.
Being a very proud mother is beyond words
Carly from the day you were born I knew you were special. You have proven it over and over again
I am so happy that Dr Chin asked you to go and proud you made the decision to follow your heart
Keep up the good work
Caro - Claire Wiles says
Hello team Ghana
My goodness, if our comments back to these daily reports make you well up with emotion,
I just want you to know what it means to us, to be able to follow each day as you care for the patients who have come , many such a long way, to be cared for.
In fact, I couldn’t even get through the first paragraph today without the tears flowing and they continued to do so through the whole message and even as I write now!
It is overwhelming to hear about the love and compassion that you all show as you do your individual jobs and as you coordinate the various tasks just to make life a little easier for these dear souls and to even save lives.
May God continue to give you the His strength each day.
With much love from the Wiles in Orillia