Shortly after arriving in Ghana, I learned about a group in my neighborhood that exercises together every weekend. The descriptions of a fellow missionary made it sound interesting, and I knew it wouldn’t hurt for me to get some exercise while here. I decided to tag along and thoroughly enjoyed the easy-going, teasing nature of the crowd. I’ve been attending regularly ever since, even though the missionary went home a month after I arrived, leaving me as the only obruni in the group. A few months ago, they announced that they were interested in learning more about diseases and health issues typically found here in Ghana. It wasn’t common knowledge that I’m a nurse, and so I waited a week to think and pray and give someone else the opportunity to step forward before volunteering for the job.
I studied and researched and prepared to speak on malaria. I asked around to find out what people already knew and what they wanted to learn. I visited some pharmacies to discover what products are available here and how much they cost. I prepared my notes and tried to suppress my anxiety. After exercising, everyone gathered together in a group to listen. I felt like I needed to stand (you know, those flashbacks of giving speeches in class) even though everyone else was seated on the ground. I was so thankful when someone suggested I also sit. A little less nervous, I was able to proceed—to share important information on how you get malaria and what can be done to prevent it as well as treat it. I was thankful when several people showed their interest by asking questions at the end. They’ve already asked me to speak on another health issue in the next month!