2011 Mission Trip to Ghana
from Sarahann Callaway
Akwaaba is the phrase we will be greeted with as we step off of a plane into the muggy sweet air that is Accra, Ghana. For most of the people on this journey, this will be a new and exciting moment.
For me, it will be a comfort and joy because I will finally be returning to Ghana. Two years ago before the stress of PT school I lived in Kpando Ghana (the K is silent) for seven weeks doing non-profit global health initiatives. We held community talks on malaria, typhoid, and malnutrition. I also worked in the pharmacy in my town where I met many friends in the health field. This trip changed my life and I came home with a new love (Paulo! He’s 5 now!) and so many new friends.
Even with the stress of PT school, and trust me there is plenty of stress, copious amounts you might say, the memories of Ghana still dance across my mind. Yes I must admit sometimes during a lecture or two I have been known to daydream about my return. Once I got back to the states I wasn’t sure what my next step would be to get back to Ghana but I knew that I needed to go back to continue building relationships and continuing to help in any way that I could. At first, I thought about joining the Peace Corps after PT school. I soon realized the Peace Corps salary, even though it is a worthy cause, wouldn’t be able to cover the debt I have accrued while attending graduate school.
First semester of PT school every student takes the dreaded Histology class by the lovely Dr. Brown. I’m allowed to say dreaded because if anyone knows me they know that Histology was one of my favorite courses. Yes, I am probably the only student to step through the halls of the McWhorter building to believe this. During Histology, Dr. Brown made many announcements about various mission trips that the College of Health Sciences would be participating in. This intrigued me to approach Dr. Brown with the idea of an inter-professional trip of PT/OT/Pharmacy/Nursing to Ghana. I had made many connections because of my work at the hospital. Dr. Brown took the bait!
To make a long story short over the past year and half Dr. Brown and many other people have been working very hard to make this trip possible. In four short months, the College of Health Science will be taking a trip to Ghana. We will be working with Standing With Hope (standingwithhope.com) an organization that fits amputees with their custom made prostheses. We will also be meeting with the various universities in Accra to try and establish a relationship to exchange ideas about various health professions. We will be going to Kpando to set up meetings with the “physiotherapy department” at the hospital I worked at. This trip is “fact-finding” mission.
It is our hope that we can build enough relationships to make this a tradition here at Belmont. Right now we are busy winding down to the end of the semester. We will be doing various fundraisers through out the next few months to try and raise a little money for the trip. . We are all very excited to taking this journey and look forward to sharing our stories with you through this blog. There is an old African proverb that says “you can never wipe the dirt of Africa off of your feet once you have stepped on her soil.” We hope that we can share a little dirt with you along the way!