No one can ever predict how life goes. Just when you think everything was strategically and methodically thought out, or even well predicted, Murphy’s Law runs right through the wall you build up around your precious plans and sweeps the rug right from right under your feet. As we embarked on Medical Mission 2, Murphy certainly crept in!
Everything was perfectly aligned. We had more volunteers coming to help on this trip, we became a little wiser and planned on staying the night, all food and water was planned in advance, and it was time to rock’n’roll. With only a few days to go, the headman of Gari Village called Fafa with unexpected news. There was a funeral occurring over the weekend (which, in Ghana, is quite an event) and wanted to cancel the mission because the whole village is required to attend and it’s an event that lasts for a long time. We also had 6 volunteers drop, 2 more people in the village pass away the day before the mission, and the boat guys increased our boat fair without warning.
However, there is no one better than Fafali Nukunu for the job. In a funeral, all of the adults are required to attend. So instead, this time our mission was entirely child focused and Fafa wonderfully made things happen even short-handed. We brought them reading materials, coloring books, pencils, candies, clothing, mosquito nets, vitamin A, iron supplements, lunch (pasta and sausages), and snacks (boiled eggs), in addition to the medical attention. Unlike other areas in Ghana where most children have enough to eat, most of these children have never had pasta or sausage so it was a treat we were excited to share!
We split the 80+ children into two groups. One group for screening and one group for teaching. Volunteers read to the older kids, taught them to read, and gave to kids in younger classes activity books to solve basic math problems and color. Our volunteers also brought out bubbles and stickers for the kids and they were so excited. The children were so happy in the midst of a hard time in the village.
Our volunteers consisted of 2 doctors, 1 physician assistant, 1 ENT specialist, 1 midwife, 2 librarians, 5 nurses, and 1 photographer. Everyone was provided with a room to stay overnight, but some volunteers decided to sleep outside in the open, so everyone followed suit.
The next morning, the adults started to come in to be screened because they knew we were present during the funeral, and we screened as many as we could before everyone headed out to be back in Hohoe by 10am.
To our understanding, one of the women that died the day before was our previous client. She was buried the day of the screenings with the original funeral. We had referred and encouraged her to go to the hospital because she was severely anaemic and needed a hemotransfusion. According to others in the village, she didn’t go due to lack of funds. The nearest hospital where she could have received this service was 2.5 hours away.
The entire trip was fulfilling and turned out beautifully, despite hardship starting out. The children were happy, taken care of, learned new things, and we were able to still help some of the adults. Please consider supporting us to help us prevent more villagers from passing away due to lack of health care! None of this is possible without you.