The past two weeks with my mom and the medical team here in Ghana, it has been incredibly busy! And even after they left (which felt like it was just too short of a time), we have still been incredibly busy. I tried to get up the energy to clean my room and help the kids with homework yesterday, but I was so exhausted, very little got done!
But, when I think about what was actually accomplished during the past couple of weeks, I realize that it was more than a momentary offering of medical services to these people, it was setting up a foundation for the future.
It is our dream to open up a clinic here on our Children's Village property in the near future and these clinics were a valuable tool to really assess the needs that we would be able to assist with in the coming years.
Before we left to the Volta, we went to visit our friend Dr. Narh and her clinic in Accra, the West African AIDS Foundation. She is such a pleasure to partner with on various different outreaches and after seeing her work at her clinic, we are even more excited to figure out ways to continue to partner.
When we were at her clinic, she told us stories of the stigma that is present here in Ghana regarding those with AIDS and HIV. One story was especially heartbreaking. She told us of two pregnant ladies who went to the hospital during delivery. They were both HIV positive and when the nurses found out, they were refused treatment and instead were given a variety of insults about their character, their children, their lives. One woman, who was ready to give birth, after hearing enough from the nurses (who had started triple-gloving their hands to be ready for delivery), got up from the bed and the baby literally fell from her onto the floor. None of the nurses came to help. The other woman, who had watched the treatment this woman had recieved, decided to just keep quiet and delivered her baby on her own.
It was a horrible story of the stigma that is alive and well here in Ghana.
After hearing these stories, and then seeing the faces of the HIV positive in our school and in our community, we know that a clinic has to be in our near plans. We can be part of the answer to educating these families and removing stigma, to providing medication and counseling services to children and parents, and we can be a part of providing a safe, healthy, and encouraging birthing experience to mothers in our community. There are answers to this problem...there is hope.
Shortly after completing our clinic here in Doryumu, a friend of ours was "dreaming" with me about building our clinic with a birthing center. What an amazing answer to prayer that would be to the women of this community. What if giving birth here in Ghana was actually something worth looking forward to? What if it was celebrated instead of dreaded? What if it brought joy instead of despair?
We'll keep dreaming and we are so thankful that the foundation has begun for the future of our clinic here in Doryumu.