Adopting Ghana

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.

After that died down, I cataloged the medical supplies, starting with a drawer marked “Infections”.  I found the notes of an adoptive parent, Dr. Curzon (who visited in July or August) about which medication is for which ailment and re-wrote them to clarify and simplify for Kingsley and Patience. Patience, who is 14, was left in charge of the infirmary when the last Obruni was here.

Gloria invited me to “take tea”, which in the case of this Mormon household was Nestlé Milo with powdered milk and sugar and some bread to dunk into it.  Gloria seems less abrupt toward me than at first. I think it’s just a language and culture barrier I’m not grasping yet.

I gave Kingsley six “D” batteries for a new megaphone he bought the other day.  That should make opening and closing assembly exercises each day easier on his and his teachers.

Then, it was back to the internet café to recharge my phone’s battery (and my own) and to send and receive messages. I miss home, but I know this experience will be over too soon, so I’m ignoring homesickness for now.

Afterwards, I came back to Luckyhill and worked on the second drawer of medicines marked “Pain”.  Ben Markham from Empower Playgrounds, Incorporated showed up to do an assessment of this location as a candidate to install a

An example of Empower Playgrounds' merry-go-rounds

An example of Empower Playgrounds' merry-go-rounds

power generating merry-go-round. As the kids play on it, they are charging the batteries in lanterns they can use for doing homework after dark.  Because EPI typically only serves remote areas without any real hope of getting grid electricity, they are not yet sure whether they will install the merry-go-round.  Luckyhill has recently been surrounded by new power lines that are yet to be activated.  Getting a power drop to the school will cost about the same as putting in a merry-go-round would, which is about US$5,000.  Since the grid naturally produces more power than the merry-go-round, the cost/benefit is in question.  Ben advised Kingsley to consider the grid through donations we can get in the U.S. rather than the merry-go-round. I agree. We’ll see though. Luckyhill has so many more basic needs, including sanitation, nutrition, and basic health care.

While they were here, Empower upgraded the house’s solar panel setup with a better storage battery and will bring six LED light bulbs that shine brigheter and use less wattage than those power-hungry, supposedly “green” CFL bulbs. Also, there won’t be such a hazardous materials situation to clean up with LEDs vs. CFLs.

Tonight we ate yams with spicy rice. It was pretty good, but yams here are not like they are in the States. They are quite a bit bigger and are woody in texture. Not sweet at all.  Kingsley got a bootleg DVD copy of “District 6”, a sci-fi movie he wanted to watch because he heard so much about it on the news. Apparently the president of Nigeria took umbrage with the way his country was portrayed in the film.  The subtitles were in Russian and the audio was very poor, so I only caught bits and pieces of the dialogue. I don’t think Kingsley knew that the movie contained so many instances of the f-bomb. Then again, that word, and other swear words in English, don’t seem to be as big of a deal here as they would be to native English speakers.  Kind of like the Spanish word for “poop” doesn’t sound so bad to English speakers. Matter of perspective, I guess.

Seth asked to go to bed around 8:00. Good boy. 🙂  I caught up on emails and went to bed, exhausted, around 10:30.

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  1. This is a wonderful true story. I hope you keep it going even after Seth joins your family here in the US.

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