My name is Brenda L Connell. I am a practicing RN at MMC in Portland and alumni of UNE (ADN 2008, BSN 2010). I grew up in a small rural town in NH in a hardworking lower-middle class family. My father was a laborer for 45 years in a brass foundry. My mother was a homemaker. I have 3 older sisters.
I worked very hard to become a nurse. It is a job I take very seriously and with great pride I carry out my role in caring for ill patients and their families. I came to Ghana with the impression that I was to be humbled in the presence of such a kind and gracious community. Let me tell you a little about day one in Sekondi, Ghana and you may begin to agree with the impression I had.
The travel part of the trip was a bit beastly as far as the length of sitting time. For a fidgety person like myself it was a challenge. Some minor hold ups at the airport led to quite long delays and of course, more sitting.
Once we arrived in Sekondi (following a terrific bus adventure of about 5 hours) it was dark, so difficult to soak in the change of scenery. Today though was already incredible. We have such amazing hosts here at the mission. Augustina, the Reverend Andoh’s wife is reserved, regal, and she is the most heavenly cook. I haven’t eaten this well in I don’t know how long. One of my travel companions, Stephen (also known as Gus, Carl or Joe) is betting that I will always have more than one serving and will be the only one to gain weight on this trip. I agree!
Some of us had a chance to walk around Sekondi’s market which is an intricate maze of wooden structures with little chickens, goats, snails, herbs, fish, plantains, crafts and other food items in every corner. Everywhere I looked there was someone smiling at me. Many people, both men and women asked to be my friend, asked my name, told me they love America and welcomed (Akwaaba) me to Ghana.
There is music everywhere. It pulses on the streets, outside the mission and in the market. Time is slow here. People smile a lot. It is about 90 degrees. Shade is scarce. I love it.
For me, the most important and best part so far has been the mere half-clinic we were able to carry out today. Approximately 30 people were seen in the health clinic today, men, women and children. Our clinic site is the church, which is a large open space. Casey (med bio student) and I tended to the rapid malaria testing while Dr.Morton, Dr.Andrew and PA Jessica completed assessment, diagnosis and treatment plans with the patients. Jen S (Nsg), Deanne (SW) and Shelley (SW-Faculty) triaged patients on arrival and completed intake evaluation forms and vital signs. Dr.Emily and Trisha dispensed medications at the pharmacy area. This was most meaningful to me because I work in a major hospital with all of the technology and supplies at my fingertips and a patient population so completely different from the one I am used to. It was a huge change to my perspective as a health care provider.
Remember folks, this was only day one and only a half day of clinic. I am looking forward to the rest of my time here and the opportunity to help in any way I can.
Signing off for now… Medasi