Hello from Nyitawuta Village in rural Ghana! - Day 2 - January 4, 2020
Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Our SHGO team had an incredible day today returning to a village we have been to several times over the years. Nyitawuta is located three hours outside of the Tema/Accra area in rural Ghana. It’s made up of 400 men, women and children who live as subsistence farmers.
Three years ago while visiting there, two young people - a young girl and her brother - stood up in front of their entire village and our SHGO team and asked us to help them with the expenses associated with drilling a village well. The need she expressed was heartfelt, as she had to walk two hours every morning to fetch water in the nearest stream for her family. This meant she missed much of her morning of school. We responded, a new village well was installed so now all the women and children have a safe local source of clean water. Today, I was reintroduced to those two young siblings, Andrew and Ernestina. They now attend a local high school through a scholarship sponsorship from SHGO and our partner in Ghana, Home of Care and Protection (HOCAP).
Today we began our day at 5:30 am by traveling to Nyitawuta with a medical team coordinated by HOCAP, and worked to screen, treat, and prescribe medication to nearly every villager presenting with diabetes, high blood pressure, vision and cataracts issues, as well as malaria. It was a full day for our SHGO team working with the HOCAP doctors and nurses (the photos accompanying today’s blog offer a visual story on this important work). In response to the needs of the village, SHGO committed to assisting to pay for the building materials needed to construct a new health clinic for the village. This was met with joy among the hundreds from the village greeting us. This will be the first health clinic for Nyitawuta and its surrounding villages in its 150 year history. SHGO will also be establishing an emergency medical fund for the village, administered for us by HOCAP. The fund will be used to pay for the fees associated for emergency medical treatment of the villagers in the regional government hospital. The first 3 beneficiaries were diagnosed during today’s screening - two older men with cataracts who need immediate surgery and an elderly woman who fell three weeks prior and dislocated her shoulder and broke her ankle. She has been suffering in pain for these past weeks because she did not have the $7 USD required of the government hospital for an X-ray and treatment. Through SHGO and our local in country partners like Barbara Asempa and her HOCAP NGO, we have the ability to do much with little funding for so many very poor people.
Today was long, hot, and as I write this on our three hour can trip back to Tema - exhausting. Everyone worked so hard; Francis, Tracy, and Ali spent the day distributing medications to hundreds of women and children. Peter documented our work and enthralled the village children with our new SHGO drone, and Andy (Tracy’s dad) was a consummate diplomat, making everyone he met feel like a close friend. I could not have been prouder of them all and their “Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work helping” attitude. I leave Nyitawuta today with such gratitude for once more witnessing the good in people in this often time’s cynical world. Today was a day when Africans and Americans embraced each other as equal members of our shared humanity - regardless of race, language, wealth differences, or where we call home. What mattered today was that, once again, our Seven Hills team gave everything of themselves and in return received the loving embrace of the people of Nyitawuta, rural Ghana. We will all sleep well tonight. More tomorrow on our stay in Ghana.
- Dr. J