“If you were to cut our hearts open, then you would see how much we love you,” David said as we gathered for our final devotions under the hospital gazebo. The entire NEA staff bussed over so we could all be together one last time. During the devotional, five new nurses and laboratory technicians were welcomed to Leyaata as their staff is growing by the day. “You are going to learn how good partnerships can make humanity better,” David told them before heading off for our final work day. (He also reminded the new staff not to wear their earbuds when walking around the hospital — some things are universal!)
It was a special day as final projects were completed, gifts given, dances danced, and future plans mapped out. Linda arranged a zoom teaching session with a pharmacist from the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Ben and I worked on a proposal for the Leyaata Cancer Prevention Centre.
The last dance.
By day’s end, the blood bank was full thanks to NEA, Leyaata, and Ghana Health Partners (GHP). Lab Director Moses presented Tracey, Erin, and Ozy each with a citation that read:
“In recognition of your dedication, teamwork, and support,
Leyaata Hospital Laboratory awards you today this citation
for your commitment to quality, mentorship,
and aiding the validation of chemistry reference ranges.”
I’m so happy to report that our premature babies are doing very well. Thecla, the midwife who courageously resuscitated the baby girl, rarely left her side for the first few days, and I would often find her draped over the incubator praying for them. As she went about their care, I would hear her ushering, “Hello my darling!” or “I love you, my precious babies,” or “Sorry, my baby!” when she had to adjust their tubes and lines.
I was not sure that these babies would survive, but by God’s grace and the skill of the entire midwifery and medical team, I am delighted to share this report that the twin baby boy is now out of the NICU, and his little sister is improving day by day. In fact, she spent most of the day gazing around her incubator with her big beautiful dark eyes while using her tiny, almost translucent fingers to try to remove her tubes. She is feisty, and Mom’s big smile was a sight to behold when she was finally able to hold her for a short while. With mom’s permission, we are sharing a picture of her with the twins and the team that cared for them.
Thecla shared with me the joy she is feeling — knowing that she has skills and resources to help these small babies. Thecla and Doris are going to be instructors for all of these courses so that they can scale up the “Helping Babies Survive” program to the surrounding region.
This mission was successful on so many levels and has provided clarity for our Leyaata and GHP leaders as to the path forward. It is such a healthy global health partnership based on common values, mutual respect, and deep love. Today, when Dr. Mensah said, “You bring us so much colour. We are really going to miss your colour!” I realized once again how unique this Global North-South partnership really is.
I want to thank NEA, the Leyaata Senior Management Team, and all my Ghana Health Partners for choosing to love, serve, and make humanity better. I also wish to thank the families and friends who continue to make it possible for us to zip off to Ghana on a regular basis! As they say in Ghana, may God replenish your efforts many times over.
I’ll conclude with a quotation from Lilla Watson that resonates with me deeply as we conclude this 2023 GHP mission and depart from Leyaata:
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.
But if you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine,
then let us work together.”