Around 5:00 a.m., twelve brave and selfless individuals gathered in Hohoe, Volta Region, for what was a seemingly risky mission. These volunteers knew nothing of what was to come, how far they would travel, who they would meet, and why they were meeting before the sun kissed the sky.
These doctors, nurses, social workers, etc. all loaded up into a small van heading towards Jasikan, to eventually arrive at Abotoase. Potholes upon potholes made the 2.5 hour trip less than desirable. However, once arrived in Abotoase, you could feel the sense of excitement rise amongst the volunteers, paired with a little bit of nervousness. It was market day. You could hear the hawkers and buyers left and right as the volunteers made their way to the shores of Volta Lake. Everyone knew this was the final leg of their journey to the unknown.
One by one, each volunteer loaded into small, wooden canoes. They were given life jackets and the boat operators started leading the way to the final destination: Gallikope (Gari Village). Excited, nervous, and ready, our volunteers were on their way!
Everyone arrived about 1.5 hours later to the village and slowly peeled out of the canoes onto the shores of Gallikope. The group was then escorted by a woman to the chief’s palace, followed by greetings and pleasantries. The efforts made by the assembly man and town leaders were impressive. Shortly after, children started flocking and we made breakfast for them.
Medical examinations began after everyone ate. We screened 15 men, 68 women, and 53 children throughout the day – even though many of the adolescents were gone because it was market day. Throughout the examinations, mothers were multitasking with making sure their children were in line while they were making afternoon meals.
Our team was able to identify, diagnose, and treat multiple individuals with Bilharzia (part of our mission). Most of the children were malnourshished, anaemic, or had some form of fungal skin disease, and we were able to provide immunizations.
The community was immensely thankful and even went ahead to cook food for us (even though we already had food and water provided for our volunteers). Everyone headed back out on the canoes before it got too dark because some of our volunteers needed to get back to job obligations.
Our team consisted of 2 doctors, 1 physician assistant, 4 nurses, 1 community health nurse, 2 librarians, and 2 social workers. Some even traveled as far as from Accra before the mission even started, which was an additional 5 hours.
Our first medical mission was a blessing and only the beginning of what is to come. Mother’s Heritage International is immensely grateful for the time sacrificed and the expertise given by our volunteers. We are also very grateful for being so well accommodated by Gari Village, and huge thank you to Fafali Nukunu for so beautifully orchestrating everything! We cannot wait for what is next!