Week 5

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Our week in Accra was filled with touristy attractions. We headed to Cape Coast to visit a slave castle and canopy walk. The slave castle was a very humbling experience and so beautiful.  Another day we visited a botanical garden getting to see a wide variety of plants and trees. We rested a few days, caught up with lots of friends and family and did some shopping. We ate at Burger King twice and even saw Incredibles 2 in theaters! Rachel and Maddie were stoked to see the movie and I was pretty excited for some popcorn. 🙂 One day we ventured to the museum for Ghana’s first president, Kwame, and had a very educational tour. Next, we headed to the craft market- a market place eager to have us. We were a hot commodity to say the least, constantly being offered goods and asked to simply look at their shop. We were careful not to even point at things because that sent the sales people into a frenzy trying to get our business. With the lovely Beatrice there to help shepherd us, we slowly made our way through the market. We each successfully bartered for something and were very proud of ourselves- it was quite the rush for some reason. On Saturday we went to Akos’s sister’s engagement ceremony. There, the groom and his family presented gifts to the bride’s family. The bride’s family had to accept for the engagement to be official.

Monday we trekked back to Kasei, eager to return. I felt feelings of coming home as we drove though Ejura-Nkwanta (the neighboring village) excited to get back into a routine and work at the clinic. The last week at the clinic has been good. We have learned a lot and had some very exciting moments. Tuesday we waited for a few hours and ended up getting to see a delivery!! Ahh so exciting. It was very quick and a little hard to see since there was a handful of people helping deliver. It was a very different environment in the labor ward. Women laid completely nude, with no pain meds, waiting to give birth on a plastic sheet laid over an exam table. Maddie and I spent the week in Pediatrics. We spoke with the nurses asking questions about diagnoses, what medications were being administered, symptoms, etc. and watching IVs be placed. We each got to administer IV meds and held/entertained a little girl there with malaria. Rachel spent the week in the lab and they love her there. She looked at sickle cell disease and malaria parasites under microscopes. She drew blood samples and tested blood types. The blood grouping test was her favorite procedure in the lab! She also tested blood samples for Hep B and C and pregnancy. She often went back in the afternoon while Maddie and I would rest or read. Friday morning we checked in with the labor ward to find out a woman was in labor! A midwife came and grabbed us when it was time for her to deliver.

“Who wants to catch the baby?” they asked.

“I will!” volunteered Maddie. We spent some time waiting and periodically checking the mother’s dilation, gloved up and ready to go, Maddie was set to catch the baby (with midwives supervising and offering guidance when needed), Rachel was positioned to take the baby, and I was the camera man. 🙂 It was quite perfect. Also very different from home…the mother was never even asked if she would mind us watching, let alone delivering her child. We also were strongly encouraged to take pictures and videos all throughout which felt very odd. The mother was so so sweet! The Ghanaian word “kyem” pronounced “chim” means “push.” As the time neared, we shouted and encouraged the mom with all that she could understand being “push!”. She laughed the first time as three obronis were delivering her baby- we are certain she will one day tell her child about who birthed him. The delivery went smoothly and Maddie cut the cord and delivered the placenta while Rachel tended to the baby, checking his vitals and such. I was switching back and forth snapping pictures and trying to take in both processes. Sarah (one of the midwives) was so helpful and educational explaining why we did certain steps and answering any questions. After everything was finished, we drifted back to our wards on cloud 9. When we left the clinic for the day we swung by to see mom telling her “your baby is beautiful,” “good job,” and “thank you so much” with the short twi phrases that we know. She smiled and thanked us. What a wonderful lady. 🙂 Also she crushed that delivery.

We rested a little Friday afternoon then ventured to the soccer field near the school to play soccer. We were quickly greeted by a slew of children eager to play with us. I ran back to grab some frisbees and beach balls which we ran around the field with for about 45 minutes before heading to dinner. What a great day. We recently started sharing thankful each night before bed and Friday was chalk full. 🙂

Saturday was the wedding! It was supposed to start at 10:30, but we left at 10:45 to arrive around 11:30. A bit late, we walked in and sat down. We honestly wouldn’t have stood out much -besides the whole skin color thing- because people were up walking around throughout the ceremony. The ceremony went until about 1:30 and we then traveled to a home for lunch. The wedding was similar in some ways to an American wedding, but for the most part very different. We have noticed an immense focus on family at both the engagement and the wedding as the bride and groom actually sit off to the side. The entire extended family took the stage at one moment to (we assume) thank everyone for coming. We were even introduced and asked to stand during the ceremony.

An adorable and sassy little girl would come and sit with us and then wander back to her parents. We even ate some fruits snacks during the ceremony.

Our weekend has been pretty low key since. We were very tired after the wedding and each took a long nap this afternoon after lunch.

We have three weeks left in the clinic (which is crazy?!) and are hopeful/optimistic to catch a few more births so we can each take a turn and deliver. 😀 This week Rachel is heading to Pharmacy, Maddie will likely head back to Peds, and I might try out the lab for a few days.

God is good all the time, all the time God is good. We have reflected multiple times together what a blessing it has been to serve together. Maddie stated that we have practically spent every waking and sleeping moment together(with the exception of showering and some time at the clinic) for the past 36 days, wowza. Yet, through that time we have worked on learning about each other, discussed theological differences, vented, been silent, and laughed. We respect that we operate differently and are finding time and space for those differences. What an immense blessing these two have been.

God has demonstrated himself in great and small ways. Watching and helping with a delivery was a big one. Yet, through the laughs of the nurses in Peds, being greeted after a run by the women sweeping outside, holding children of the midwives that live next door, and hugs from our host family (Dr. John, Momma Akos, Dinah and Pamela). Our time left is beginning to feel so very short as Thursday will be less than 20 days remaining. Prayers for patience, persistence, and maximization of our time remaining rather than counting down would be oh so appreciated. Thank you for the support we have received whether it be prayers, texts, or reading our blog.

Until next time!

-Kate

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