One week from today, our group of eight (seven nurses and nurse practitioners and one carpenter) arrive in Accra for ten days in Ghana. It's been an exciting couple of months organizing the mission. While I've been communicating with the volunteers, Godfried has been back and forth to our home base, Dogbekope (a small village in Ghana's Volta Region), to firm up our itinerary and prepare the lodging for our group.
We'll be working in the lower Volta region for six days - five days of outreach in different poor villages, and one day working alongside clinicians in local health clinics. Meanwhile, our carpentry volunteer will be helping with building projects in Dogbekope, and learning how to construct compost toilets. We hope to be able to provide an educational session with local traditional healers and herbalists, so our American healthcare workers can learn how traditional practices and "Western" medicine interact in Ghana. It's going to be an exciting time!
Our nurses have been busy preparing for their journey, too. We're learning together how many resources are available to assist humanitarian groups. One organization donated a huge box of medical supplies and over the counter medications, which the nurses are dividing up into big duffle bags to bring with them!
Delta Airlines is our friend too - providing a humanitarian baggage waiver so that the nurses can check a third bag for free. Thank you Delta!
Individuals have also come forward to make donations toward the group mission - everything from used-but-cleaned medicine bottles to OTC meds to children's clothing to bedsheets to money! This has really been a group effort, and it's reinforced for me that there are lots of wonderful people in this world who are there to give of themselves to help others in need.
I'm actually on my way to Ghana, writing this in the Amsterdam airport, waiting for the plane to Accra. Godfried and I will be reunited after three months apart, while I've been in the US starting Healthy Villages, Inc. and making lots of connections with amazing people. One day of rest, and then we're off to Dogbekope one more time make the final preparations, then back to Accra to buy medications for the mission - antibiotics, antimalarials, malaria test kits and more - that we will take with us to the villages.
Stay tuned for updates on the nursing mission!