Ghana 2013 - the final two days
In these last two blogs, volunteer Phil talks about the highs and lows of the trip...
We started the day praying for God’s support as we knew we only had a few chairs and mobility aids left and we weren't sure how many would turn up today.
As we arrived we prioritised those that had come from Kpassa. They had set off over a day ago and so the therapists saw them first to see what chairs we could give them. More and more people were arriving and for me I already knew some people would go away with out a chair or mobility aid.
We had again quite a few children which in a way was great since we had a selection of children's wheelchairs… again some may say a coincidence but more God-incidences. Jill mentioned that even though we had a few chairs left each person she saw she managed to get a chair to fit.
Things got a little bit more chaotic when a bus appeared with more people looking for wheelchairs. By this point we just didn’t have any left but despite telling them several times they just didn’t believe us it seemed. I was doing some ‘crowd control’ at points to try and keep the area for the therapists clear of people. As mentioned the other day I can understand the desperation of the people wanting wheelchairs and it’s a shame that it ends up in frustration. They were upset but I wish they could understand that we are equally upset as we would love to be able to give chairs to everyone that needs them.
We also had a situation where one man had hidden his current wheelchair across the road and had come asking for another. We realised this (with Ellen’s help) as we were fitting him in a chair and found his old chair. We did offer to fix up his old chair - even though it wasn’t in too bad a state, it was still useable. He just decided to ride off instead though. So this was an upsetting moment for me, with so many people in need, that someone would do that.
I was praying that things would calm down a little and later on in the early afternoon the people who had come later realised that we simply didn’t have enough chairs or walking aids, plus there were still quite a few people left before them anyway and as such they left. So on one hand it was a relief but on another it was horrible since as mentioned we’d have love to help them. We did manage to give out some bibles to some of them though, and also some blankets.
Things did calm down further and we did what we could with the walking aids we had left. Some people still ended up without anything but we had nothing left to give - no chairs, walking aids, blankets or Bibles.
So for me a lot of low points today. The children were both high and low points though. Many had such energy, although one little boy Reninca and Jill were working with was not happy at all that he was being given a wheelchair! I got a few photos of him and he looked really grumpy - I just wish he could realise how it will hopefully help him.
There was a little girl Helen was working with and she was trying her out with some children's crutches. It turned out that she had a really sore leg, which seemed to be infected. In the end she went into a buggy and had fallen asleep as I took photos of her. It’s quite possible at some point she may have to have her leg amputated. That again nearly finished me off.
In the week we have been here we have given out over 150 chairs and lots of crutches and seen over 300 people. Sure we’d love to do more but it’s of course an achievement that the team should be proud of.
Will’s wife is flying out today as they are heading off after the trip to Shekinah (which is a children's home, most of which are street children). Now I was a little worried since Will and I are sharing a room and I wondered where she would be sleeping. There is a little gap between the beds in the room and Will had suggested that would be a good spot! However, it turns out they have another room booked so I’ll have the room to myself so I’ll miss Will’s snoring… or should I say he will miss mine, although of course I still can’t believe it’s true.
Tomorrow we have a day off and I believe we are off for a little sight-seeing to see some waterfalls, followed by a visit back to the village that I can’t pronounce in the evening for dinner and some local dancing. Yes dancing! The suggestion is we will have to take part, but of course being a photographer I’ll use the excuse that I need to be behind the camera!
The team had a bit of downtime when we got home and either soaked up some Wifi/Internet access or a dip in the pool. We then had our team time and a debrief on the days activities. Again the team did a fantastic job if I do say so myself... but seeing the amount of people we did today took some doing.
We therefore had our last evening meal at the hotel as on Saturday we will be heading back down to Accra and then off to the airport for a late evening flight.
So I find myself again reflecting sat outside in the moon and starlight. We have so much to be thankful for and I am just thanking God for those I can remember and those I can’t. Again today was a real blur and trying to remember everything that happened will take some processing time.
I was looking at some of my photos and video and I really hope you get some idea of what goes on here based on them. I know I have got lots of video to look through when I get home but I am sure you will see some of the pictures in the next week or so if you're interested.
Please pray for those that we have been able to help that their chairs etc will be a blessing to them. Please of course don’t forget those we haven’t been able to help and pray for them too.
I am thanking God for the tea. It’s funny how within a week we know so much about each other and have just gelled so well. Now of course as I prepare to head to bed I’ll again let you know that your loved ones are tucked in and will have a little bit of a lie in tomorrow morning.
I’ll hopefully do a quick blog tomorrow and Saturday but we have completed the distribution and although I’d still ask for your prayers for the next few days till we get back home safe and sound I do want to thank you for you're prayers throughout the trip. I’d also ask that you share the news about what Wheels for the World does so that they can continue helping disabled people in Ghana and the other places they go. So at the end of day 9, I’ll in my now customary fashion say night night.
It’s of course no surprise to you by now, that breakfast was eggs and beans.
Also since Will had moved out of the room then there was no sign of anyone snoring… so all the talk of me snoring… well it can’t be true since no-one complained last night!
Not all the team were with us unfortunately today as some were still feeling a little rough and decided to stay at the hotel and rest but the rest of the team were heading off to a large waterfall via a little diversion organised by the regional director of the Ho region we met the other week in Dzolokpuita. We went to the top of a local mountain, (we were in the air conditioned transport of course, not walking, before you started to get impressed) but we were met with some great views of the surrounding area.
From there we headed off to a waterfall which apparently is the highest in Ghana. After a fairly long drive it then took a little trek to actually get there, basically walking through tropical forest before opening up at the last minute to a stunning waterfall and hundreds of rather large bats which would periodically fly around before landing on the cliff faces.
When we arrived there were hundreds of local students around and we had to wait for a little while before they left to be able to experience the real beauty of it all. It’s really hard to describe it unless you’re actually there but I did get a few photos to show the rest of the team.
We then headed back to the coach before heading off to the Regional director’s village where we would be entertained by some local dancing and some food. The selection of food included rice, chicken and goat as well as some other sauces that would probably blow my head off! I stuck with some rice to be on the safe side although some of the team were more adventurous trying out the goat.
The event started out with customary greetings before the dancing commenced. Then the team were invited to dance with the local dancing troop..! Now, I had a camera of course so I couldn’t obviously take part but the rest of the team were obliged to dance. Saying that, I did join the rest of the team for a little while so I didn’t completely chicken out. Will looked like he could have danced all night.
I was actually feeling a little exhausted as I hadn’t really eaten much and taking malerone (anti malaria drug) for me at least can have a few strange side effects and I think this was one of them.
Once the dancing was over the team headed back for the rather bumpy ride home as we were taking the back roads back to the hotel. Back at the hotel a quick catch up with the rest of the team although some had already headed to bed as we need to pack and be ready to leave the hotel at about 9am. Reninca had managed to get hold of some money to be able to pay the hotel bill so it looks like I may actually be freed to come home... I didn’t really fancy cleaning up dishes for the next 20 years!
I did have some time at the end of the day to contemplate what we had achieved here. Safe to say God’s of course been in it all and it’s going to take me a while to process some stuff. I think when I look through the photos and video it’s also going to flood back and realising we have actually seen more than 300 people in 6 days of distributions is quite some going.
So thanks to God !
Now at the end of day 10, rather exhausted but feeling good, I’ll of course say night night.