What a day off!
Saturday morning Abraham allowed us to sleep in until 7:00 am. After a pancake breakfast, a delegation of twenty-five of us travelled two hours south to Techiman to visit a 333 bed hospital called the Holy Family Hospital. We were taken on a wonderful tour of every department including the ER, wards, OR, xray, lab, and maternity that delivers 5000 babies every year. Charge nurses from each department welcomed us and explained their departments. We were extremely impressed with the professionalism we witnessed and the care that was being provided despite significantly fewer resources than a hospital would have in our home countries. Those of us on the tour who are involved in the planning of the NEA hospital took notes and pictures and have already been discussing how we will apply what we learned today.
Imagining that kind of care being available to this region of Ghana has increased our motivation and determination to do all we can to help NEA get the doors of their hospital open. Based on what we saw this week, it could not be a more urgent need. (Please read about the NEA hospital and spread the word to all your friends about the big green DONATE on this website.)
Meanwhile, back at the compound, the rest of the team went on a walking tour of the Carpenter village, relaxed, napped, read books, and played cards. When the bus returned from Techiman, everyone departed to spend a couple of hours at the Bamboi market.
Saturday night was a night to remember as Social Convenor Sue transformed the Mensahs’ living room into a stage. Their dining room table became a feast of party snacks from Canada, UK and Ghana. The first annual Ghana Health Team Talent Show surpassed all expectations!
Our MC Bryan kicked the night off by asking Magdi, Tony, Ramona, Antje, Francois, Dave, Kat and Abraham to come to the front. On the count of 3 he asked them all to sing their national anthem. (It was really amazing to hear the national anthem from Egypt, Canada, Romania, Germany, France, England and Ghana all sung at the same time.) We laughed and laughed and laughed as we watched some very creative acts. We enjoyed skits, songs, parodies, knock knock jokes, odes, fashion shows, Ghanaian fables, Port Perry lip sync battles, monologues and pictionary competitions. Props included urinals, Immodium tablets, water bottles, head lamps, mosquito nets, IV tubing, skirt fringes made from empty boxes of deworming medicine, Scottish caps … and of course cardboard latrines.
There were some tender moments, too, as Martin read an Ode to Living Friends, Abraham sang “Make My Heart a Home for You” and Sue wrote a beautiful song for me called “Hey Jenn” to the tune of “Hey Jude.” The final act was a Ghana parody written by Carlye to the tune of “The Sound of Silence” which concluded with the line “For we have great love…. for Ghana”. It was a fitting end to a day that has left us rested and refreshed.
Laughter truly is great medicine and somehow I think the weight of the suffering we have witnessed this week feels a little lighter than it did yesterday.