Even women in the remote villages know there is breast cancer. Where does it come from? Can you get it if your sister-in-law see your naked breast? Can someone put a curse on you? These are just a sample of questions that women want answered. What a blessing on Monday to travel to the village of Trewebo and begin answering these and many more questions. The women in Trewebo have little access to the outside world. Cell phones are common everywhere in Ghana these days but you only call your auntie.
Women were even ashamed to admit that they had a family member with breast cancer, as if it were a curse to even have it in your family. Thanks to St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, in Annapolis, Maryland, Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope was able to work with the Ga West Health district and begin teaching women how to do breast self exams. Beth Hester, Nicole Schmidt and Lisa Bornt put together an amazing program. Carroll Hospital provided teaching aids like mini breast with lumps so women could feel a lump. St. Margaret’s provided partial funding for the programs.
Our program included five hours of teaching on breast cancer, cervical cancer, hypertension, puberty, menopause and discussion on how raising animals affects your environment and your health. We planned to have 70 women and some men but had over 100 in attendance, not including children.
Day two, Wednesday, brought us the village of Mayera. This is an old Ga village. I am told you will find many references to this village in Ga history. (Ga is a tribe in the Accra region of Ghana).
Our Ghana Public Health Nurse is the one running the clinic at this village. When we arrived she was furious that so few had come. Charity went and got a megaphone and began walking through the village announcing the program. Inviting everyone, men too. She told them “you cannot buy the information that you will received today. It will save your life.” Within the hour we had 115 or more people. More than the room could hold. More than our 70 t shirts. But they stayed and they listened and they asked questions. More than that–they learned with willing hearts.
Tomorrow is another day, and another village. We will be in Akramaman. Keep watching for more posts from other team members.