Ghana blog - day 4

Ghana blog - day 4

Phil Green is on the ground in Ghana for the Wheels for the World distribution - he's bringing us a daily blog from the trip. Catch up on all the entries by following this link to our Wheels blog page.

After the customary breakfast of eggs, beans etc we headed off again to Kpando. Now this is the correct spelling - I thought it was spelt Kandu previously.  It’s almost a silent k when pronounced.  For those who look on Google maps its north west of Ho near Lake Volta.

We had less people today but quite a few children.  At the same time there was a wedding going on in the background, which resulted in an energetic and fun atmosphere.  Some of the team suggested I should offer my services as a wedding photographer and make some money for Wheels whilst I was there!  However, I didn’t really want to step on the toes of the photographer they had.   (Katherine and I did get to peak inside the church as the service was going on -  It wasn’t like any wedding I had seen before and it went on for hours!)

However, back to the task at hand i.e. distributing wheelchairs...

We had quite a few memorable moments today.  One young man called Ben came in, using custom made blocks of wood.  We found out that he was actually a shoe maker with a wife and a young son, so hopefully the chair will really help him - it’s great seeing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ and how much a difference a wheelchair can make.  Will and Katherine were working on another chair for another child and did a great job modifying the chair to fit.

Now, I have to make an apology to Katherine at this point...  I gave here the worst insult anyone could, by calling her a physio  when she’s really an Occupational Therapist.  As it turns out Kathy is our only physio and Katherine, Jill, Helen and Will (when he’s not in techie mode) are all OT’s.  Thankfully the team don’t hold this against Kathy!  I am told there is apparently a friendly rivalry between OT’s and Physio’s so it’s not just my teasing, well hopefully not.

I think our “observer” Reninca realised she’d have to up the ante today and so she became a techie for the day.  For those who haven’t realised, I am only joking and the team know I am just teasing.  Reninca is doing a great job and she’s absorbing lots of information and I am sure she will be a great asset to the international work of Through the Roof charity.

Anyway, later in the day Helen was helping a little boy called “Blessed” who had spina bifida.  It’s hard to describe how I felt since I had a tear in my eye but as he was such a gorgeous little boy he brought a smile to everyone’s face.  Helen was looking to put him in to a buggy but with a whole team effort we ended up creating some customised posture aids for him out of foam and wait for it… a cardboard box!  Yes, we ended up putting a 14 month old in a cardboard box, but it was the best solution for him as a buggy wouldn’t have helped him.

We of course put a Wheels for the World sticker on the box and considered putting some wheels on the bottom but Blessed’s mother looked really happy with all the various aids we created for him.  It was really a good ending to the day’s distribution since he was a really special little boy and all the team got involved.  I am of course not advocating the next trip consists of a container full of cardboard boxes!

It’s something to remember that it’s not always possible or practical/beneficial to put everyone in a wheelchair.  If they can walk in some fashion then it’s often better to give them crutches to help them keep their mobility.

Once we had packed up we had a little time watching the wedding that was still going on in the background before a quick visit to see the massive, man-made Lake Volta.

Later, in our team time we discussed plans for Church in the morning.  Some of the team are going to the leper colony, and the rest are splitting up between churches.  Will was going through the selection of services which was summarised by duration.  He seemed to mention some of the services were from 8 till 12pm but I was holding out to see if he mentioned an 11 till 12 service so I could have a lie in!  Seriously though I think we are all looking forward to the experience even though we are not sure if the services will be in English and if we may have to stand up and say a few words.

So as the day ends I am again reflecting on the day and thanking God again for those we saw - for Ben and Blessed as well as all the others, that God would bless them.  Again I am praying that we have made a little difference in their lives.

I had been saying to Reninca that you get desensitised to things and on my 4th Wheels trip it’s no different… that is until I really sit there and think about it.  In the Western world we are so fortunate to have great health care.  Sure, some moan about the NHS etc but if you come out here your perceptions may well change.  Again for me it’s the children that really have an impact.  Seeing little Blessed in his box brought a tear to my eye.  I have no idea what will happen to him or what sort of life he will live but I don’t think I’ll forget him and I’ll do my best to pray for him when I do think about him.  Please pray for him too.

With that… at the end of day 4 I’ll say goodnight.