Monday, January 16, 2012

Akwaba! We are all feeling a little more Ghanaian every day thanks to the continued guidance from our guide George Odoi. He continues to share the traditions of Ghana with us every opportunity he gets. As each day passes the impact of the work going on in Ghana becomes more and more apparent to all of us who are here participating in the clinic and school. I came here to gain clinical experience and to help educate the parents, children and adults who come to see us in the clinic. I now realize that the Ghanaians I have seen in the clinic and schools have taught me more in two weeks than I could ever teach them in a lifetime.  After speaking to a number of my colleagues in the group, it is clear that so many of us share this perspective.
The group split up today and one group went to Komfo Anokye Hospital  in Kumasi  to support the speech therapy clinic and the other traveled to the Unit School at Effiduasi Methodist School ( established by Belinda Burkari).
 The professionals working in the Unit School at Effiduasi Methodist School continue to inspire just as the doctors in Korle Bu. They have such an amazing ability to do so much valuable work with so little funding. We arrived in the sweltering heat and were greeted by the beautiful, enthusiastic smiles of the students we have traveled so far to meet. The children started school a day early because they knew we were coming. We were all so impressed by the continued progress that the teachers and assistant teachers are making with the students. It was clear that the students have continued to build on the lessons taught and the materials left by last year’s team. We were all thrilled to see the giant books were worn from being read every day, and that the students have come to know and love the stories.

We made name tags on the spot for the students that did not have them and then sang the name song and all the students clapped and sang along. We also had the students participate in a role play activity with the AAC cards to prepare them for our field trip to the market. It was clear that the students have practiced with the cards and were excited for the field trip to the market. The group continued to be amazed by how much the teachers are able to accomplish with so little funds for materials and supplies.
The highlight of the day was taking the students to the market. Each group member took two students and assisted them as they produced their picture card for the item they chose to purchase (okra, onions, tomato, red pepper and fish).  To see the sense of accomplishment on each student’s face was priceless. Effiduasi’s students are breaking the stigma of having a disability in Ghana. A mother of the students was working at the market and was so proud of her child when she saw us there shopping.Trips to the market allow then to demonstrate their skills and allow them to make a valuable contribution to their families and community. One market transaction at a time, the students are demonstrating that they are not cursed and that their condition is not contagious.

We traveled to the Cultural Center in Kumasi for lunch and to share and reflect our experiences. George showed us how a real Ghanaian eats fu-fu. A couple people in the group were courageous enough to try fu-fu.  The day ended after a little more shopping with a spectacular view of another African sunset

~Amy Erickson

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