My mom, Aunt Peggy, brother Oscar, friend's mom Cheryl, and fellow nurse Linda, all arrived ONE WEEK AGO today. And we have been going, going, going since then!
The first day (Tuesday) that they were there, we were able to just rest and plan for the remaining time that they were there in country. It was a good time to just chat with my family and friends and get to enjoy time with them. You know me...I'm a quality time person, so it was just so nice to get TIME with my loved ones!
The next day (Wednesday), we had to race to the airport as the majority of their checked baggage (except for Cheryl who came in on a different flight), and pick up the luggage (which is always a process here in Ghana--especially to pick up TWELVE boxes of supplies!), then rush back to the house to eat, sort through the items, and load back up for the clinic in Tema New Town.
We made it to 7 Continents by 1:30 or so and held a clinic for the mothers and children in the community there. We saw over 60 people and it was very successful. There were a lot of skin rashes, but the people were so happy with the treatment they recieved.
|My mom, Cheryl, and a woman at the Tema New Town clinic|
The next day (Thursday), we had an easy going morning, prepping for the Volta trip. Then, we headed out to Dodowa for our tour of the West African Aids Foundation. Unfortunately, the clinic was MUCH farther away than expected and we spent several hours in the car before finally making it there. But everyone was glad to have seen the place and we were so happy that we got to see where our friend, Dr. Narh, works. It is a great facility!
That night, the FTO group made it out to CORM and we ate dinner, debriefed about the upcoming trip to the Chimaroo land in the upper Volta Region, and went to bed early to sleep and prepare ourselves for the long trek ahead.
I was woken by Johnbull and loaded up on the bus. I slept alright, except for the fact that my knees didn't have much room and got a little cramped along the ride. Those ten hours are never easy!
When we arrived at the house in Benjamase (on Friday morning), we all rested a bit and then we got ready to head out on the lake to work on some child rescues.
Last time that John and Stacy passed through, they had done some negotiations with a couple different families to get their kids released to us, so this was the time when we have them sign over guardianship and release the children into their care.
When we got down to the lakeside, the fisherman who agreed to take us had gone away since it looked like a storm was brewing. So, we all hung out with the kids for awhile, played, took pictures, and had fun waiting for the boat.
|Oscar with the kids at Benjamase|
Finally, a boat came and we crossed over the lake to Ada Kope which is where we previously rescued Abigail and DK in 2010 and have been working to see the rescue of several other children for the 2 years since that time.
|Stacy and I outside of AdaKope|
Our goal was to rescue Samuel and his brother Kwesi. Their father died many years ago and the mother remarried to a man who lived in AdaKope. Frequently, when a mother remarries, the children from the previous marraige are used to help provide for the family while the new children from the new marraige are given opportunities for an education. So, Stacy and John had negotiated for Samuel and Kwesi's release last month, and it was just a matter of signing paperwork. When we arrived, Samuel was found playing football, but Kwesi was no where to be found. They had hid him away from us. So, we began paperwork for Samuel's release and then we got out our pillowcase dresses that we had brought for the little girls in the village.
We started putting the dresses on and then starting asking questions about two very frightened little girls that were sisters. When we finally got to the bottom of the issue, they had been brought by the chief's wife just the week before along with a few other children and when we began negotiating release of those little girls, things started to get heated. The wife got angry and an old man came forward telling us exactly what what was going on in the village--the children arriving, the people bringing them in, etc. During the confusion, they took one of the scared little girls and hid her away. So, when we bgan looking for her, they just laughed and wouldn't tell us where they put her. In the end, we were able to bring Samuel with us (who we lovingly call Sammy), but we didn't get to bring anyone else home this time. We are praying for FREEDOM over the lives of these girls and for Kwesi, that the next time we go up there, we can negotiate for release and we will see a better result.
After we left AdaKope, it had gotten dark, and then we headed to another village where they had negotiated release of one little boy named Edem Yow and when they entered the village, it was pitch black. They went to the first lady they saw and asked where Edem was and before they knew it, she took off running and told the whole village that John and Stacy were coming and they hid all the children. Even from the boat, where I was staying with the volunteers, we heard drums begin beating and I knew that they were experiencing some crazy-darkness (not only night, but DARKNESS).
A man came out and told John and Stacy that there were 15 children hidden away in the houses, but everybody refused to release the children, especially Edem. It was so frustrating.
When John and Stacy got back to the boat, John was so mad. He told us the story and said that they were worshipping idols as they hid the children away. Oh, there is SO MUCH to be done!
We returned home, ate, and talked, and then prepared for the next day medical clinic at the school.
The next day went so well. My mom, Cheryl, Linda, and Aunt Peggy all did workshops for the people there about wound care, choking, burns, and Aunt Peggy did one on iodine. She had done research about iodine in the Volta region and found out that 1 out of 3 people don't have iodine in their diet which causes birth defects, dwarfism, and goiters. She was able to provide iodine for 100 people for ONE YEAR. Amazing!
The clinic was amazingly successful! We all worked so well together--overseeing the children, assessing medical needs, providing treatment, praying over each person, testing for HIV and HEP B. In the end, we saw over 250 people!
The trip home was a welcome relief for most as they were tired and worn out from all that we did in the Volta. Today, everyone helped out at the school, the nurses completing workshops for all the classrooms on hygiene and nutrition.
I'm so happy that everyone is here. It has been such a great experience for CORM!
Tomorrow is our school clinic. Looking forward to it!