Student’s input as reflected by Jen Lockman, MSW (UNE ’08):
In Takoradi, as the political rally (New Democratic Party led by Nana and Papa) continues, people were dancing and singing to the music. Others from the market looked on, but vendors were still eager for us to visit their shops.
Emily, an HSM student, was impacted by the need for health care in Ghana. Although this saddens her, she is amazed by the happiness and sense of community. Emily had the opportunity to participate at the kids table, the triage stations, and the pharmacy. “People are so happy to get help and talk to you about their health problems; each person makes you feel like you have saved them.” Chelsea Paterson’s experience has been similar in that she is amazed at how humble and joyful the people of Sekondi are. Her favorite sound is children’s laughter and she had been able to surround herself with it several times. The locals “are so thankful for what we can do. We give them the bare minimum, yet they bless us as if we made them rich and completely healthy.”
Nancy Thach, R.N., encountered a diabetic patient who has leg sores “tunneling the length of the cotton tipped swab.” Typically, diabetic teaching is a lengthy process. Nancy worked diligently to convey the necessary aspects of diabetes education as well as take into consideration the diet and availability of food that are relative to Ghanaian culture.
The OT students were able to gain educational experience at the local hospital in the PT sector. Amanda Rhan worked with a patient who has been living with sciatica. Because of this, he has pains in his back and legs and she was able to teach him some valuable exercises and techniques to decrease his pain and increase his mobility.
Jamie North and Vanessa Sherman were particularly moved by one young gentleman. He is a 22 year old who has suffered a spinal cord injury. He set a record today for standing without feeling dizzy in a tilt table position. This patient expressed interest in learning to feed himself independently and they will share a home made universal cuff with him tomorrow when they see him. This should help him with feeding and writing.
Other students were impacted by the community itself. Carly Xiaz (Utah student) spoke some about the fishing village and the extent of poverty that exists all around. She commented that the “horrible conditions made us realize how lucky we are to live where we do and have the possessions we have.”