Sunday, July 25, 2010
This last week went by incredibly fast...and I CANNOT believe I leave in three short days already! In the beginning of this week, I was pretty down because the plans of working at the medical hospital in Winneba had fallen through...But, literally the same day that the hospital work was cancelled a completely unexpected opportunity arose. After working at the school that morning, I ran into a couple of other Americans walking through town (and to even meet another American is super bizarre here). They told me about the mission trip that they were in Ghana for. Every day, they traveled to a different village and would evangelize to the people there. (They have been building churches throughout this region for the last 10 years.) They added that they were working alongside a medical group from the U.S. as well. The medical team would travel with them to these smaller villages and set up a full medical clinic where people were treated for various diseases. Before long, I found myself with a phone number to these kind people and had made arrangements to join their team later in the week. The opportunity seemed like an answer to my prayers. So the next few days I found myself shadowing the people from the medical team. For some of the time, I sat behind the translator and nurse where they diagnosed different diseases. When we arrived there the first day, there was already about 50 people lined up to get medical treatment before we had even set up. We had over 100 people treated that day; nearly half of them were diagnosed with some form of treatable virus, that they couldn't afford to treat with medication. Their symptoms had gotten out of control and they suffered from sickness that could be treated instantly back home (or that we had already been vaccinated for) in the U.S. like malaria, typhoid fever, and hepatitis B. It was so interesting to observe how a medical mission team worked. I also followed around the evangelizing group who I had met on the street one day. We simply went to different huts and spoke with the people about God (with the help of a Ghanain translator). We asked them about their faith and they asked us about ours. We shared different scriptures with one another and prayed with them afterward. I loved to really talk with the people there, and not at them...for once, I wasn't talking as a white tourist, but just as another person. It was amazing to see some people come to grips with their faith and to outwardly admit their flaws and ask for our help. It was even more amazing and humbling when the Ghanains taught me something about their faith and culture. I think I actually may have learned more from them than I gave back. It was just incredible to see people with almost no physical possessions (in American standards) to be so happy with their lives and on fire for God. One of the days, I was with the evangelizing group and our Ghanain translator left early, so we decided to go on a little adventure. There was these random women appearing on the side of the road with HUGE baskets of pineapple on their head. We wanted to see where these ladies were coming from, so we followed them on a tiny path that seemed to get tighter and tighter with trees so close that you could not even see the sky. It wound around for atleast a mile back into the middle of the bush...literally the bush. After 20 minutes or so of hiking uphill, the forest broke into a large field that overlooked absolutely everything. You could see the entire town and rolling hills of rainforest and various crop fields for miles around. But, the women didn't stop there. I continued to follow them up to the top of the hill while my group disappeared behind me. I wanted to find out where all of these pineapples were coming from! Shortly, we reached the pineapple field where pineapples grew in the middle of these short bushes for as far as the eye could see. (I was honestly expecting some sort of tree the entire way.. never did a think they grew out of a bush haha...) When I got to the top, I wanted to help the women somehow. I didn't come all that way for nothing. So, I offered to carry some of the pineapples back down the path on my head, secretly thinking that they wouldn't weigh that much. After some rough hand motioning, trying to understand one another, I had the bowl on my head full of pineapples. I just about collapsed! That thing was SO heavy...I can't even imagine how they carried those things!! I told the women to take half of the pineapple away so I could actually lift it; they all started laughing at me...They said I would never make it. I pretty much forced the bowl back on my head, determined to prove them wrong. Stubbornly, I marched down the hill, following the other ladies back into the bush. I don't think I have ever carried something so heavy in my life. I made it...but just barely. My neck felt like it was going to burst the entire way down and the women were chatting happily the whole way, while I couldn't even utter a word. At the bottom of the hill, the women applauded me and gave me one of the biggest pineapples I have ever seen in my life! Fresh out of the field too:) My neck and back were sore for days afterward...but I got a pineapple, right? Friday we headed West to Cape Coast, our begin our weekend of touristy attractions. We visited the slave trade castle and went on a canopy walk about 40 km above the ground. There is way to much to explain...but I'll fill everyone in more when I get home THURSDAY! AHH!