My last 2 days in Ghana turned out to be very busy. I took a little girl with severe malnutrition and anemia to the hospital to be admitted. The first day, I spent 7 hours at the hospital getting her settled in (much like going to the hospital here in the US). However, the first 2 hours were spent waiting to be seen by a doctor, who was in a meeting. Then we spent at least an hour discussing her history of which very little is known since she is an orphan. A mini physical was performed, and then we were sent off to the lab for blood work and down the street to another hospital for an x-ray. Back we came with the x-ray film, just in time to pick up her results from the lab and return to the hospital ward. The girl needed a blood transfusion to treat her severe anemia. Unfortunately, it was identified that she has a rare blood type that is even rarer in Ghana than the general population. However, that wasn’t dealt with until the next day.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was sent to the lab requesting 1 unit of whole blood. Not surprisingly, they didn’t have that blood type (which I was already told the night before). After some frustration on my side due to our different definitions of certain words and the fact that they didn’t do anything in the past 12+ hours to try to get the blood, I was given a slip of paper and a sample of the girl’s blood and sent to another hospital to see if they had the right blood. The blood bank said they wouldn’t call ahead, because they wouldn’t get a straight answer anyway. Thankfully, the first hospital I went to had 1 unit of blood that matched the little girl. After only a 30-45 minute wait, it was ready for me to take with me. They asked if I had a cold box to put it in which I didn’t since no one mentioned it before. I explained that I would take the blood directly to the hospital and it would be given right away. Thankfully, they didn’t make me go out and buy a cooler before giving me the blood. When I returned with the blood to the hospital, it wouldn’t run because the child’s IV had clotted off. After starting a new IV, the little girl was finally on the road to recovery.
Tywonn posts another story about her time in Ghana. Just to let you know that I think the most impressive thing about this post is that she wrote it entirely on her ipod touch. Steve Jobs ought to give her a job!
These kids amaze me! For the most part I’m referring to the 9 or so that live in the baby house. Most of them are 3 and under. When they sit at the table in their highchairs, they cannot start eating until they are given permission. Although the food is set in front of them, a few preparations have to be made first. The bibs have to be put on, the food stirred, and sometimes some extra protein added before the child can eat. The children sit quietly and patiently, not grabbing the bowl or digging in as I’d expect. Likewise, the children over 1 year old are in the process of being potty trained. When it is their turn to go to the bathroom, they are set on the portable kiddie toilet. Sometimes they have to sit there for 30 minutes before they go, and quite impressively, they actually stay sitting most of the time.
They’ve also displayed their awareness of others. There were multiple children in the babyhouse at the time. The housemother was busy with one of the children when I suddenly heard one of the toddlers screaming “mama, mama” quite frantically. I looked up to see this child simultaneously pointing at another kid trying to escape out the door. Today, I gave the babies pieces of a street food that I bought. It resembled a doughnut, but without the glaze. Breaking off pieces Of the bread, I gave each child some, with the exception of the 2 youngest. I made a move away from the children and then saw them all point to the 2 babies who had not recieved a snack. They were reminding me not to forget anyone. I typically think of children this small as only being self-aware. Quite impressive.
The gentleman I sat next to on the flight from Atlanta to Accra, Ghana turned out to be a very interesting gentleman. He, like half of the passengers was continuing on to Abuja, Nigeria. I struck up a conversation with him while still parked at the gate since he was going to be my neighbor for the next 13 hours. He’s an older Muslim man maybe in his sixties. He was returning from Costa Rica on business. It seems he piloted international flights for some 17 years back in the 80’s and 90’s. Now he is charged with ensuring that his boss purchases quality planes. Back in Nigeria he has 3 wives, 14 children ranging in age from 14 to 34, and about 4 grandchildren under the age of 5. I was a little startled when he started praying to Allah in the seat next to me during the wee hours of the morning, but other than that he was a good neighbor.
Do you like to watch The Amazing Race on TV? Well, if you were watching it last night, then you got to see a little bit of Accra, Ghana—the city where Alan and I lived last year. It was very neat to see some old sights, although a little frustrating to hear the announcer and some contestants mispronounce nearly everything from the names of the markets to the pronunciation of the currency. Oh well. The contestants sold sunglasses at Makola Market and transported the fancy coffins made to represent the life of its inhabitant. They also showed glimpses of well-known places like Independence Square, the Presidential Palace, and Kaneshie Market. I look forward to seeing a few of these old sights myself in a little over a week.
Ok, so the cat’s out of the bag. I’m going back to Ghana!!
I am so looking forward to my trip back to Ghana in October. Although all of the details are not yet worked out, I have made some preliminary plans. Unfortunately, I will be traveling alone because of Alan’s responsibilities at work. My travels start on October 12th, and I’ll return home on the 22nd. I’ll spend nearly all of my time helping at Beacon House orphanage. This is the same orphanage where I helped while living in Accra. It is run by an Italian American woman who is also a missionary. There are 30+ children living there at any given time ranging in age from a few months old to about 14 years old. I’ll be staying in a room in the baby house, where it’ll probably be a little noisy. I’ve also been informed that I’ll have to take bucket baths (a very common thing for the average Ghanaian). Friday night I’ve booked a room at the SIM Guesthouse (the same guesthouse that I managed while living in Accra) so I can go to the Dzorwulu Keep Fit Club at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning to visit with many of my Ghanaian friends.
When talking with a friend recently about this trip, she thought I would be scared. I’m not afraid to make this trip alone because Accra is the place I lived in and loved for 8 months. It would probably be a different story if I was going to a new country, but I already know the culture and how to get around. In addition, I spent 6 weeks of those 8 months alone (well, without Alan in the same country) when I lived there. I know what’s expected of me within the culture. Things can’t have changed that much in the 10 months I was away. 😉
I’ll be posting every few weeks as the time gets closer to depart. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
This past weekend Tywonn and I celebrated eight years of marriage. Its not all been fun and games, but through the hard times we have grown closer than I ever thought we would. And now, eight years in, I wouldn’t exchange her for anything.
We gave some thought to how we would commemorate this anniversary a few months ago. Although we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do, we started to save all of our spare change in order to pay for the extravaganza. In just a few months, we ended up with $88.
A few months ago, one of our larger supporting churches decided to change directions in its missions’ program. We lost $500 per month because of this decision.
So, like us saving change in order to remember our anniversary, we need you to save some of your change for us. We’re fully aware of the financial climate of the U.S., and realize that many of you only have change to give.
Follow this link to give through Wycliffe (Acct #200572). Or you can give directly through Paypal (missionalan at yahoo dot com).
Change can make a difference!
Our July newsletter is up on our website. Be sure to check it out as it has some important information about our future plans!