Kan Kum and the Hanging Bridges with Some New Friends
Written Tuesday May 20, 2014
So far my stay in Jukwa is quite relaxing. My work schedule is about 25 hours a week which leaves a lot of spare time to play soccer with the kids that go to school next to where I live. The school is called Divine Kids Academy. There are some really cool kids here; they are very young, ranging from ages 1 to 6. I was able to help dig an area in preparation of a foundation that will hold another schoolroom. There are currently three. I have been told that the fourth will be named after me, which is an incredible honor. I am very surprised at how quickly they give such a gift.
At the clinic, I’ve been able to fit more comfortably into the environment. The nurses are all very nice and quite funny when they get together when the clinic is slow. I have currently been helping with admissions of patients into the clinic; doing simple tasks like taking blood pressure, temperature and weight. There have been a few interesting situations at the clinic, that are more exciting than the hundredth case of a fever due to malaria, which, sadly, is that common. One patient, a little boy who is about 5 years old came in with a laceration on his head. it was about four centimeters long and two wide, just above his left ear. It seemed to me that he got it while playing soccer because he wore cleats. What amazed me about the little boy was that he was stitched up with about three, large-knotted stiches all without any local anesthetic. Every time the nurse stuck his head with the pointed curve of the suture, he would not make any noise just tighten up all the muscles in his abdomen and hold his face with his two small hands. I faint heard a sniffle of him crying.
Another interesting case came in the day afterwards. A young girl about 3 years old came in just after having an epileptic seizure. It seems to me that it was just after by the way the father brought her into the clinic. He was carrying her with each of his hands under her armpits and her legs were wrapped around his waist, but her abdomen was angled away from his and her head was thrown back. He walked quickly straight to the small emergency room that we have which is just big enough for a stretcher type bed and a chair. When she was lying down she did not move. The nurses then proceeded to give her medicine, both were administered to the colon, one was a shot.
I am going to move around the different departments of the clinic each week. I believe that I am to work in the emergency department, the records department and in maternity, which seems to be the busiest.
I am able to get involved in the community which is nice. I have been able to play volleyball with some of the staff of the clinic and other village folk. Also, I am able to go to church here and the priest plays volleyball too. Everyone is very nice and since I am the only white person (bruni as they call me) in the town they all want to speak to me, it has allowed me to meet many interesting people.
I took a trip to a National Forest, Kan Kum, it is a rainforest. There is a hanging bridge path that juts off the side of a large hill and goes over the canopy of some of the smaller trees (but since it is hanging, is held up by very tall trees). At one point in the path, the furthest most point from the hillside, it turns abruptly back. At this spot, there is a view that I could have looked at for hours. It opens up and looks back south, on a sea of green, to the left, I could see the tail of a patch of hills fall to the plain towards my right. It was amazing to say the least. It was a very pretty view. I was also able to go on the nature walk that they have, through the path. On the walk they showed many trees that are native to Ghana and how they are used in society and medicine. One tree in particular (the same type of tree that happened to hold up the hanging bridge) was incredibly large. I haven’t seen Redwood trees before but I would liken them to Redwoods due to the immense size. The guide said that the ancestors of most Ghanians would carve out living spaces in the trees. The were incredibly gigantic. At the base of the trees the body had three projections outward in a triangular shape so as to steady it. It seems nature knows the best shapes for building enormous trees.
While I was at the forest I met a group of grad students from Michigan State University, they were a great group of people and I ended up going through the whole walk with them. They were in Ghana doing research, some on malaria, some on mental health, some on water sanitation. They were so kind and inviting me into their group that it was sad to say goodbye to some new friends, even after such a short sojourn in the forest.