By Dr. Jennifer Wilson
After just a few short hours of sleep we boarded the coach buses and enjoyed a smooth and beautiful journey to the North. Just after 11:00am local time we paused together under a mango tree for a Remembrance Day reading by Dr. Josh and a moment of silence.
Our journey lasted nine hours. As we pulled into the gates of the NEA compound, the driver laid on his horn for a solid three minutes to announce our arrival. We think this is how we might begin to announce our arrival home in the future! All of the NEA staff and their families greeted us in a receiving line that seems to get longer and longer every year. It was a sweet reunion. After a song and prayer of thanksgiving to God for our safe arrival, Abraham thanked us for our commitment to this program. He believes the motivation for people who take risks and make sacrifices of this magnitude is simply because of love.
Over the next two hours I witnessed the epitome of teamwork and cooperation as a medical clinic, nursing station, fully stocked pharmacy, eye clinic, dental clinic as well a surgical theatres and a recovery room popped out of nowhere. Everyone pitched in, even the children.
Our traditional spaghetti dinner, enjoyed by all in the dining hall, was prepared by Patience, who looked stunning in her white uniform and cap. It is also a tradition during our first dinner together that Dr. Carlye, who is our team doctor, gives us strict instructions regarding the two most common team health issues in Ghana: diarrhea or constipation. Funny how none of us mind this type of conversation over supper.
The work continued throughout the evening until eyelids literally started to drop. A well deserved night’s sleep awaits us all under our mosquito nets. As I drift off to sleep I’m thinking of so many special moments that I noticed today. I’ll leave you with a few….
I noticed Val caring for a little boy with a cut on his leg who somehow found his way in to the unpacking area.
In the midst of setting up the surgical theatres, I noticed Dr. Dan and Dr. Simon tucked away in a consulting room already examining tomorrow’s surgical patients.
I noticed Ashley and Emilia skipping across the field late at night to the theatre making sure the sterilizer wasn’t blowing the place up.
I noticed team members sitting in a large circle helping pharmacy prepare 5000 doses of deworming medication.
I noticed the massive task that our pharmacists Linda, Sherry, Martha, Alexa, Lisa and Kirlis have to set up an entire pharmacy in a few short hours. They would have pulled an all-nighter if we had let them.
I noticed Sandra coaching our first time nurse Toni-Ann on our triage system while Joan was coaching Alisha Anna and Anne on how to use the rapid HIV and malaria tests.
I noticed Greg, our paramedic, sitting on the floor with our trauma bag contents sprawled out just to be sure he was prepared for any emergency.
And finally, just as the sun was setting, I noticed our eye team had recruited a long line of children who were, with such pride and such ease, transporting all the boxes of eyeglasses to the clinic on their little heads.
It is time for our work to begin. Tomorrow as we have the honour of providing care to all the NEA development staff and their extended families, while operations will begin in the surgical theatres.
All because of love, indeed.