I awoke this morning to an email from Rob, our surgical team leader in the UK, with the subject line “Changing Lives.”
These two simple words have been rolling around in my head all day. They are perfect words for today. They are a perfect rallying call as our ninth Ghana Health Team mission begins and as team members from around the world journey towards Carpenter.
The lives of patients will be changed. As individuals are healed in the context of sustainable development, communities will be strengthened and another “dent” will be made in the battle against poverty and hopelessness.
The lives of our Ghanaian health care colleagues will be changed. These heroes of our professions, so often alone and ill-equipped, will be surrounded by some of the best teachers that medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, surgery, anaesthesia and optometry have to offer.
The lives of our NEA colleagues will be changed. Can you imagine doing the difficult, patient work of development day in and day out and then having a team of 66 professionals show up to encourage you, to assist you, to equip your clinics and to bolster your efforts?
And our lives will be changed too. How they will change remains to be seen and remains up to us. It will depend on how we choose to embrace each day, face each challenge and engage with each patient. It will depend how open our eyes, ears and hearts are to what we shall witness there. One thing our veterans know for sure — we will not leave Ghana unchanged.
History is full of examples of men and women whose acts of service change lives and change history. Our poppies remind us of this even today. Ten years ago, none of us had any idea how many lives would change by this special partnership between NEA, GRID and the international health care community.
And so we set out for Carpenter with God’s help, and we could not be more ready.