There are posters and billboards everywhere in Ghana. The medical warnings on Malaria, Buruli Ulcer, Cancer and Tuberculosis are graphic and shocking. But even so, if you cannot read, you may see the pictures but never know what to do when it happens to you.
Many people responded to Ian’s story yesterday about Moses, who may suffer from Buruli Ulcer. The good news is that Moses’ mom took him to the hospital today. We don’t know the result. They had not returned to the village when we left. The sad news is that I found yet another boy today who may suffer the same fate. I have spoken with the Director of Health Services for Ga West and they will treat both children immediately if they do have Buruli. The treatment of these two children could have been detected earlier if our Health Post had a nurse.
I was over joyed today when I actually got Victoria to smile. You can read about her in Monday’s post. She is rail thin and always hungry. She suffers from worms as well. We now realize that she eats a ton at lunch and is always happy after lunch.
It will cost us 125 Ghana Cedis (currency about $90 US) to provide dewormer for these 50 children. I could not stop crying when Zach text messaged me tonight that he and the teens have provided the money to buy the medication. It is not unusal here in Ghana to provide dewormer on a regular basis for a school. Last year we provided it for the whole village of Akramaman.
I asked Auntie Gail to provide you with some insight on her days here. Gail is a special education teacher in Virginia Beach.
“It is impossible not to fall in love with the children of Akramaman. They are bright, funny, sweet, and incredibly beautiful–and every day with them brings great joy and great sadness.
Today my heart filled with pride for Deborah. Three days ago she could not match any of the letters of the alphabet with their sounds, but this afternoon as we were leaving, she grabbed my hand, saying, “Madam, Madam!” and proceeded to tell me the seven letters and their sounds that we have studied.
I was so happy to hear the dreams of “my” children as they drew pictures of what they want to be when they grow up and to learn that Samuel wants to be a doctor, Anotey a soldier, Mabel a teacher, and Matilda a hairdresser. I loved watching Perpetual, Nicholas, Daniel, and Priscilla giggle as they viewed a DVD of The Jungle Book—the very first time for them to see a video.
But, also today I was sad as we walked down the dusty path from the school to the village (at least a half mile) with the children, knowing that these little ones trudge this path by themselves each school day in all kinds of weather. In the village itself my stomach knotted as I viewed up close the tiny clay thatch-roofed huts that Mansa, Ishmael, and all the other children call home. My heart sank as I watched one of the boys struggle to get water to flow from the one hand pump that supplies the entire village, and I heard Debi explain that when the pump doesn’t work, they must get their water from the pond down the road. The school has a well with an electric pump but it is a distance to walk.
I have only been in Akramaman for three days and there are only two more left, but this I know: When I leave on Friday, part of my heart will stay behind.” Gail Huber