Adopting Ghana

Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Ghana: Day Eleven

In Journal Entries, Photography on October 28, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I waited for Kingsley to be available to take Enoch to the clinic for an appendicitis scan. Turns out that he also had plans for gastrointestinal panels and other checkup tests for Samwell, Eugenia, Seth, and Joy.

The road to Nsoubri

The road to Nsoubri

Before we could go, though, there was a call from an adoption volunteer in the States to go over some difficulties with an adoption and then Kingsley had to discipline some school kids that had stolen some money.

When we arrived at the clinic, we got the kids’ examinations underway and then Kingsley and I made a side trip to the village where Seth was born to meet his birth mother and family. The village is northwest of Accra starting in Kasoa and is named Nsoubri (en-SOO-bree). We drove up to one of the many adobe huts and asked for Seth’s mother. (Well, Kingsley did the asking in the Ga language and I stood there playing the role of the clueless Obruni). Read the rest of this entry »

Ghana: Day Ten

In Journal Entries, Photography on October 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I had a rough morning taking photos and video of scholarship kids. To say “the sun was hot” so close to the equator is to engage in spouting tautologies.  I was grumpy from the intensity of the heat and my inability to get the kids to stay lined up in one place. I was also beginning to realize there was still a lot left to be accomplished with this little photography/videography project.

We got halfway through the lower grades but by noon I began to suffer heat exhaustion despite all the water I was drinking.  A short break turned into my own private ER with a fan blowing cool air on me and me guzzling water with German Gatorade powder mixed in. I took a nap or two to get my strength back.

When I woke up and went outside, I was asked to come to Kingsley’s office. A boy named Samuel Ado was very sick with headache and fever. I took him to the infirmary and found he had a temperature of 105.3° F!  Enoch, for the second day, had a fever also.  For Samuel, I got Tylenol and water into him. Patience and I regularly doused him with water for a couple of hours.

For Enoch, earlier in the day I had texted and talked on the phone with Dr. Curzon, a Stateside parent of a child adopted from Luckyhill, and Becky, a nurse in the States who is in the process of adopting.  They gave me info on how to examine and diagnose Enoch.  After following their instructions, indications pointed to appendicitis, but a radiology scan would be necessary to fully determine this.  Ugh. We made plans to take him to the clinic tonight or tomorrow morning.  Probably tomorrow morning by the looks of Kingsley’s schedule.

We finally got Samuel’s temperature down below 100 around 6pm.  His father had arrived to bring him home even though I recommended he stay here with the boy so we could keep him under observation and intervene if his fever spiked again.  Because of his father’s insistence to the contrary, I gave him instructions on how to care for this kind of fever, including the convulsions that might occur if it stayed too high for too long, and sent them home with enough Tylenol to get them through the night.

Then, Esther, the caregiver whose baby had fever and cough a couple of nights before, presented with 102° F fever.  Patience soaked her down and we gave her Tylenol enough to get her temperature below 100°.  Then Patience stayed in her bed with her to take care of her the rest of the night.  I don’t know what I would have done without this aptly named young woman to help me today.

Seth had another crying jag tonight. But I’m onto him now.  He does it mostly when he wants something and I tell him “no” or “wait until later”. Tonight I just told him “no” and my reasons (he wanted the flashlight but it was late and time for sleep). He finally laid down and went to sleep. Hurt me more than it hurt him to have to tell him no.

I talked on Kingsley’s phone to one of our Luckyhill friends in the U.S.  She and Kingsley have taken to calling me “Dr. Watson” because of all the impromptu doctoring I’ve been doing.  We discovered how remarkable it was that whenever I haven’t had the benefit of asking a question of Dr. Curzon or Becky about what to do, so much of the knowledge I’ve needed has come to me as direct, personal revelation from Heaven.  Things I never knew and were right have come into my mind right when they were necessary.

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Ghana: Day Nine

In Journal Entries, Photography on October 26, 2009 at 2:14 am

I woke up around 6am to the sound of morning devotional outside. I think it’s great that Kingsley does this.

Brandt and Heather stayed until after morning exercises, then called a cab and set out plans with Kingsley.  I had morning “tea” of ovaltine and sweetbread with them and then loaded their bags into the taxi. Brandt will call me with info on which hotel he ends up in after tonight so I can make my reservation there on Friday.

I’m getting mixed feelings about leaving. I’m feeling much more integrated into life’s routines here in this “mini-mission”. It feels like the same range of feelings from my 2 years in Guatemala compressed into two weeks.

I was extra busy this morning with treating 9 year old student Isabella for a 102.4° fever.  I almost had to take her to the hospital were it not for Patience, 13 (who desires to become a nurse), who attended to her while I did other work.  By 1pm, Isabella went back to school with a much-reduced fever. Also soaking wet because we had to douse her dress in water to get her core temperature down in the heat of the day.

And it was hot today. I was out in the 10am-1pm time slot taking pictures and video of needy school kids and orphans for scholarship sponsorships we hope to promote.  Kingsley and I had each child write their name, age, year in school, and what they wanted to be in the future on 3×5 cards. Then, we called them out class by class, lined them up, gave them a whiteboard with their name on it, and took pictures and videos. There are lots of fun ways to make this happen for them and I can’t wait to get home and do it!

I was about to enter into heat exhaustion so I asked Kingsley to take me to the restaurant so I could get some cooler air, some big bottles of water, and a couple of Cokes to drink. (I know, Coke is a diuretic, but it’s the kind with real cane sugar…comfort beverage). While there, I sent text messages to Shannon, whom I miss dearly, and emailed updates to the Luckyhill group back home.  This has been a very productive trip because of the iPhone access, though I do not enjoy thinking of the voice roaming charges I’ve incurred thus far calling about medical issues and such. The ones for Seth to talk to his new family we had somewhat already budgeted for, though. Didn’t count on him wanting to talk to everyone every night. Lil’ stinker.

I bought some bread to eat and to give some to Gloria. She cheers up when Obrunis give her gifts.

Not much happened the remainder of the afternoon. After 7pm, all orphans and Kingsley’s family gathered in the living room for Family Home Evening. It was amazing the amount of respect and reverence even the little kids had. Games, scriptures, songs, and no arguing! (But, no treat at the end either…oh, well.) 🙂

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Ghana: Day Eight

In Journal Entries, Photography on October 25, 2009 at 2:43 am

I got up and out early this morning to go to the airport to pick up Heather and Brandt (each parents from separate adoptive families), who are coming from the states to bring their respective kids home. On arrival and after waiting for a bit, I realized their plane schedule was different than expected. I looked it up on my iPhone and found it had landed 2 hours earlier.

I returned to the chapel to find church was 1/2 over and that Brandt and Heather had already made it there and gone off to the orphanage. Ah well.

After church, we went home and met them both. Brandt will be taking his daughter, Vida, home and Heather hopes that the embassy will grant the visa for Patience to finally come home as well.  We may or may not be on the same flight home depending on how everything goes for each of them.

Seth with a fistful of "Memory" game cardsI spent the afternoon visiting with them and playing with the kids. We all took naps, ate dinner and played and read more with the kids. I put Seth to bed around 9pm. It was a bit late, by standards at home at least, but it was fun watching him playing with the other kids.

It was also fun seeing how excited Patience and Vida were about their parents being there to finally take them home. I got a bit wistful for that time to come for Seth, though someone else will likely escort him.

Other good news: Ebenezer now has adoptive parents beginning the process to adopt him and another child named Joshua.  Ebenezer is a delightful young man, filled with the Spirit and lots of potential to be a great man.

I’ve been quite dehydrated. I found packets of German “Gatorade” electrolyte powder in the closet and in the infirmary to help replace what I’ve lost. Already starting to feel better.

Seth loves the “Memory” game I brought to the orphanage.  He and Kingsley’s children play it over and over again. Seth’s quite bright.

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Ghana: Day Seven

In Journal Entries on October 24, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Today is Saturday, so no school.  It’s a different atmosphere because of that. A lot more laid back. I got up too late to eat breakfast with the kids. It doesn’t seem to be as big of a meal for people here anyways, at least not at the orphanage. Orphans eat mush in the morning and adults eat a bit of bread here and there.

I finished inventory of the infirmary. There is a lot more there than I had expected.  There are also more of some things than are needed. Many meds are about to expire as well. We need to try to better coordinate the “surplus” meds that people bring over as part of donation drives for the orphanage so that we can exchange the extra stuff we have with other orphanages, Heifer International, and other aid groups.  We need to work out a system of checkups or we’ll never know people are sick.  We also need a system of giving out supplements that are currently just sitting around.

Seth’s sand fly bite wound is progressing nicely.  Samwell’s puncture wound is doing fine as well. I went to Samwell’s house to treat him today because I also wanted to see the family’s situation and assess their needs for an adoptive parent in the States.  His mother was not at home, but I spoke with Ruth, one of the orphanage care givers, mistaking her for Dorothy until I was corrected later int he day, and did the assessment. Seth was with me for that.

I took Seth to the nearby restaurant to eat a big meal. He’s a very hungry boy!  He ate a huge plate of rice, fried chicken, and coleslaw. It was hard to get him to enter the restaurant at first. I could tell he felt as if he didn’t belong. But after a bit, he went in with me. He had a good time eventually. Read the rest of this entry »

Ghana: Day Six

In Journal Entries, Photography on October 23, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I awoke early to go with Kingsley and Vida, one of the newly adopted orphans who was to be going home next week, to an immigration appointment downtown at the Embassy, but traffic was really bad so we left later than planned. We drove all around, avoiding main streets and traffic. On the way by the coast, we passed by some type of lagoon/outlet into the ocean that had simply the worst open latrine smell I had ever smelled in my entire life of going to Boy Scout encampments.  Even plugging my nose and trying to filter the smell out through my hand and t-shirt, I could still “feel” it on my skin.

Traffic in Accra

Traffic in Accra

Fishing boats along the Gold Coast, Accra, Ghana

Fishing boats along the Gold Coast, Accra, Ghana

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Ghana: Day Five

In Journal Entries on October 22, 2009 at 6:11 pm

I bought Seth a toothbrush yesterday only to find a big box full of toothbrushes in the infirmary. Oh well. At least his has a plastic box to keep it in (as long as that lasts).  I wonder if some sturdy, storable hygiene kits would help the kids have a place to keep it all together and more sanitary.  Backpacks with LOTS of pencils and notebooks would be great for the school to distribute as loaners to kids who lack them.

I got Seth ready for school and checked and rebandaged his foot. I had to take a bucket shower this morning because the water company shut off the main supply to the whole area because enough people haven’t paid their water bill. From what I understand, the whole community pools their money and pays and when they don’t it gets shut off. When that happens, it could be weeks before they turn it on again.  Bummer, but it sure brings back memories of being a missionary.

This morning, I spent time in the infirmary re-bandaging the leg of a student named Samwell who is being adopted, along with his sister.  Another student had pushed him down after school yesterday and he happened to fall directly on a piece of broken glass sticking up out of the dirt which went clean through into the bone. The wound is small, but there is a risk of tetanus if we don’t get him a shot soon. I cleaned it out the best I could and we’ll just hope it will begin to heal without complications.  It’s a challenge to get people to leave wound dressings on until a doctor (me, in this case) is present to remove it. Read the rest of this entry »

Ghana: Day Four

In Journal Entries, Photography on October 21, 2009 at 3:27 am

This morning, I awoke to Seth tapping me on the forehead. He didn’t want to go to school again today, but I eventually persuaded him.  His foot wound does seem a little better. His shoes should help a bit…if he actually wears them.  I also got the keys to the infirmary from Kingsley today so I should be able to work on it in a more sterile environment with more and better gauze and tape.

I took some pictures and video of the kids in their classrooms again. Then I went on top of the office to devise a layout for the library Kingsley wants to build there. I figured God didn’t make me the son of a library director for nothing and put the good memories I had of growing up in a library to use. Read the rest of this entry »

Seth

In Essays, Photography on October 20, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Seth is beautifully and wonderfully made. He has bright, shy eyes and an amused expression most of the time. When he is not happy, he scowls. Some of his expressions and a lot of his laugh are just like his “twin” brother at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Ghana: Day Three

In Journal Entries, Photography on October 20, 2009 at 2:06 am

This morning, Seth awoke first and started to sneak out of the room. When I said “good morning” to him he seemed afraid I might yell at him for something he might have done. Strange.  Later today I heard something about “beatings” for certain behaviors, like writing with a pen rather than pencil in your homework, but I cannot imagine Seth getting a beating for staying as a guest in my room.

My iPhone is out of battery and no easy way to charge it except to head over to a local café that happens to have WiFi connections and wall outlets to grid power.  Oh, and the café is called “XXX”.  It is not what it sounds like by the name.  Many businesses here have names that, in America, would be considered nonsensical, silly, or just plain obscure.  They almost all inexplicably have “International” appended to the business name as if they’re major exporters or franchisers when they are, in most cases, tiny little kiosks.  Can’t blame people for aiming high, I suppose. Read the rest of this entry »