Hello from Nalerigu, Ghana!

It seems like forever ago that I was in the United States, though I don’t have any exciting travelling stories to speak of. Everything went about as smoothly as it could have, and I arrived in Accra, Ghana last night. I was told that I would be picked up by someone with my name on a sign, and though he was a little bit late, I wasn’t mobbed by airport crowds or anything of the sort. After being picked up by a guy named Solomon, I was driven to Accra to stay the night before my 6 a.m. in country flight this morning. Yesterday was a holiday in Ghana – African Union Day – and the guesthouse wasn’t serving meals as usual. I was just about to settle down to a hearty meal of beef jerky and jolly ranchers when I made friends with some other missionaries there. They took me out to a Westernish restaraunt, where I had a chicken sandwich and fries. Great first night!

I had a 6 a.m. flight from Accra to Tamale today, a flight that I boarded without any form of identification. So, I guess my mom will be relieved to find out that she must have named me well; I most certainly look like an Amanda and carrying identification around is probably just redundant. As for a comment on efficiency, I felt like the Accra airport is a notch above the rest. They only have one flight leaving at a time, so the efforts of the entire airport were focused on getting the twenty of us onto the plane. Not bad. I felt like a VIP. 

Following a several hour drive to Nalerigu, I finally arrived at the Baptist Medical Center. It’s crazy to think how long I have anticipated being here, and how often I watched their promotional video instead of studying for my exams. Greg Nyhus, the volunteer coordinator, gave me a tour of the hospital before lunch. Both the hospital and the compound are a lot bigger than I was expecting. The compound is complete with the hospital, a nutritional center, administration buildings, a TB treatment village, and over ten guest houses. The hospital has pediatric, women’s, men’s, and maternity wards, outpatient examination rooms, and two surgical theaters. Since ya’ll know how good I am with directions, you’ll be happy to know that I have already mastered the floor plan of the hospital and have directed several lost doctors and nurses :).

I spent the afternoon with Dr. Joanna, a pediatric physician from Dallas who is in her final month of residency. We rounded in the pediatric ward, and discharged several patients. I was confused to see that many mothers are eager to be discharged and impatient with their hospital stay. I learned that this is because they have many duties at their home that they need to get back to. Pray for these patients that their health continues to improve, even when they return home.

As for the first day impression, I felt like I was a little more removed from the people than I would like to be. Although I was among the Mampruli people all day, everything at the hospital is done with the help of translators and Ghanian nurses. I am going to be a concerted effort to begin tackling the language here so I can sit with the patients. Like many cultures, greetings are huge here. When you first approach people, they are scowling so pronounced that I often wondered what I could have possibly done. However, when you greet them (a long series of questions including asking about their work, their children, their spouse, their day, and their health,) they break out into a huge smile. All the more reason to learn the language.

Well, I hope no one is expecting this blog to be the least bit entertaining. I plan to wear you out with my streams of consciousness and lack of proof reading. I feel like I’m racing the battery power on my computer, so I’m basically typing the first thing that comes to mind. This will be the time that everyone finds out that any wit and cunning they previously ascribed to me was actually carefully thought out and can’t be reproduced in a time crunch. 🙂

I’ll write more when I am more coherent. Thank you for your prayers and friendship. As always, in this too, I am anticipating His glory.