Ghana Health Team 2017 Update - The Emu Who Took One for the Team

by Dr. Jennifer Wilson

Today, all 66 of us ran our clinic right on the NEA compound for the many, many, many villages that surround the Carpenter area. We were shocked by the crowd already gathered outside the gate as we walked to breakfast at 0615 today.

 Today's crowds

Today's crowds

It was so lovely for all of us to be working so closely together on the compound with the luxuries of bathrooms, hand washing sinks and improved crowd control due to the fence around the NEA compound. 

Preliminary numbers from yesterday indicated that today was the largest clinic ever run in the history of our Ghana Health Team with approximately 750 patients being cared for by our medical, surgical, dental, eye and laser team. At 3:30 pm I snuck away from my workstation to pay a little visit to tall our teams. I’m hoping I can take you all on a little tour ...

.... Despite all that happened today, we were so happy to join one other for dinner by 7:00 pm, and I’m sure you have realized by the title of this blog what was on the menu. That’s right. One of the emus who many of us love to visit regularly “took one for the team”. 

 Abraham carving the emu

Abraham carving the emu

We felt bad for the poor guy until we tasted how delicious he was -- as was the carrot and ginger soup, whole wheat rolls, chicken stir fry with rice, salad garnished with beets, beans and carrots, french fries, roast potatoes and fresh watermelon. Teams of NEA kitchen staff are essentially working around the clock to prepare our food every day. 

Although today was an amazing day for me, it was also very difficult. Some of the cases I saw involved so much suffering. After consulting on a group of women who had very serious but easily treatable conditions that they had been suffering with for years, I needed to take a minute to compose myself. Even my translator was rocked. “The women really suffer in this place,” he said to me. He is right. I’m beginning to understand why so many of NEA’s programs focus on the women, as the suffering they endure is beyond my comprehension at times. 

As we walked out of the main gates to our residence tonight, many men and women and children were already sleeping on mats by the front gate, trying to secure a place in our last clinic tomorrow. It seems a good part of the country knows tomorrow is our last day and my prayer, as this day ends, is that tomorrow we will finish well and our hands will get to those who really need our care.