Back Home from Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Renee Brown
Renee Brown Small.jpgWe arrived safely back in Nashville about 7:30 this morning after a long flight, a little tired and in need of a shower. Who would have thought that we would have needed to go to West Africa to get out of the Nashville heat! We are looking forward to Doritos, diet cokes, salad, bacon egg and cheese biscuits, bacon cheeseburgers and some sleep, as well as seeing our family and friends.
We want to thank everyone who supported us for this trip to Ghana through your thoughts, prayers, and financial gifts. It was a wonderful experience. We truly were humbled by the hospitality of the Ghanaian people and all they shared with us while we were there. We laid the ground work for continued collaborations in the future and came away with some new friends.

Saturday in Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Sarahann Callaway
Sarahann.jpgGhana21.jpgWhat an exciting day full of new experiences!! We woke up bright and early to take a Tro-Tro ride provided by Nana Yaw (our driver for the week) to Kakum National Forest. It took about 4 hours to get there because of traffic but we safely arrived shortly before lunch. We took a guided tour up to the top of the rainforest. Our guide told us that there are over 300 species of identified animals in Kakum including insect, birds, bongos, not the drums, and a small herd of elephants. Kakum is famous for their wildlife and their suspension bridge canopy walk over the top of the rainforest!
Ghana22.jpgThe suspension system consists of 7 bridges connected by platforms at the top of the rainforest. The tallest bridge was 130 ft above the floor of the forest!!! We all survived!
After leaving Kakum, we decided we needed a little more adventure in our day so headed to Hans Cottage Botel famous for their 40 crocodiles. For the small fee of about a buck fifty, we got to touch and stand over a crocodile. Don’t worry none of us became amputees although if we did we know how to make the prosthesis now!
Ghana23.jpgWe ate lunch there and then headed toward the coast. Because it was a little later in the afternoon, we opted to go to Elmina Slave Castle because it was closer than Cape Coast Slave Castle. Elmina Castle is the oldest European building in Sub-Saharan Africa. It was a Portuguese fort for about 150 years then it was taken over by the Dutch and then 100 years later the British had rule over it.
Ghana24.jpgWe toured the castle and listened to the horrific and humbling stories the tour guide had to tell. It started off as a place to ship goods to Europe and soon it became a place to ship Africans to Europe and the new world. The Africans would march for weeks from surrounding countries before they would get to Elmina or Cape Coast. Upon arrival to Elmina they would be kept for 1-2 months before they passed through the “door of no return.” Many would die before they left the castle and many more would die on the ships as they were transported to the various countries. It was an eye opening experience that words cannot describe.
We got back late from Elmina so we decided to sleep in on our last day in Ghana. We did a little bit of shopping in the morning and then met up with Anna (the PT from the university) in the afternoon to take a tour of the art gallery in Accra. Right now we are sitting in the Accra airport waiting about one more hour before we board our flight. We can’t wait to share with you the amazing trip we have had. Thank you so much for your love and support!

Friday in Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Mollie Carver
MollieCarver2.jpgGhana17.jpgToday was our second full work day with Standing With Hope. We were very busy today with different things. We worked with patients teaching them to have a better walk. We trained the guys in the shop on various exercises they can do with patients, and we drew out exercises to leave with the guys. The first patient we treated was an above knee amputation on one side and a below knee amputation on the other leg. We helped him learn how to shift his weight appropriately and taught him proper foot placement. Hannah became the resident prosthetist by helping Moses, Adofos, and Joseph (three guys who work in the shop) by sanding and sawing various sockets. All in all it was the busiest morning we have had while staying in Ghana.
Ghana18.jpgMaggie and Kathy also had a busy day while at Standing With Hope. Maggie was able to assist Kathy with drawing pictures of spinal braces for the orthotics department. Maggie also fixed a patient’s wheelchair lock when no one else was able to! Good thing we had an English professor to fix it for us!
Renee taught Esther, a child who is waiting to be adopted by an American prosthetist that works with Standing with Hope, multiplication tables. Likewise, Esther was able to teach us some of the local games.
Peter set up a meeting for us with two of the people who work under the General Contractor of Ghana Health Services (“the big wigs”). At the meeting we discussed possibilities of how members of Belmont’s College of Health Sciences could partner with Ghana Health Services and the University of Ghana in order to teach and work with local clinicians.
Ghana19.jpgTonight, we plan to meet Anna for supper at a local restaurant that is owned by former volunteers of Operations Crossroads Africa, the same organization that Sarahann worked with. Anna is the Physical Therapist that owns a clinic in Accra and is the Interim Coordinator of the Physiotherpaist program at the University of Ghana.
Tomorrow we have a fun filled day with a trip to Cape Coast to tour a wildlife reserve and two former slave castles.
It will be an early morning and a long day!

Thursday in Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Sarahann Callaway
Sarahann.jpgGhana13.jpgWe spent the day working at Ghana Health Services helping Standing With Hope. There were six patients that came in and out throughout the day.
Standing With Hope’s goal is for the men that work in the shop to make 75 new artificial limbs a year and maintain their current patient load. After helping with the first two patients’ prosthetics we decided to create a short exercise program (see picture at right) because there is no physical therapist that helps train these patients how to walk with their new limbs.
After lunch, there was a bit of a stand still because there is a box of supplies in a nearby town that will arrive “tomorrow” (aka not today). It’s been tomorrow the past three days.
Ghana14.jpgWe decided to teach two of the patients waiting for their new legs how to play Uno. They caught on quickly and beat us the second game.
Later on in the afternoon, Hannah helped one the Ghanian prothetists with making a new leg and Mollie and I helped another patient improve his walking. (see the pictures below)
Overall it was a very good day at Standing With Hope and we are looking forward to another day of work tomorrow!
Ghana16.jpg Ghana15.jpg

Tuesday & Wednesday in Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Hannah Peck
HannahPeck.jpgGhana10.jpgIt’s been two days sense we’ve blogged because we have been traveling half way across the country to Kpando. We woke up early Tuesday morning for the exciting Tro-tro ride. We arrived in Kpando in the early afternoon to an extremely welcoming, Emmanuel, who gave us a tour and introduced us to all the departments of Margaret Marquart Catholic Hospital. He introduced us to a few of his patients and sat in on Emmanuel’s treatment session of a stroke patient. After the session, Emmanuel discussed with us the increase in stroke prevalence in Ghana, due to high blood pressure and poor diet. After the day at the hospital, Sarahann introduced us to some of her friends she met on her last visit to Ghana, who invited us over for dinner. We enjoyed a relaxing evening outside in the “cool” Ghana air, with 30 neighborhood children who were very excited to see some “yevos” (white people). We just happened to meet a fellow Tennessean who will also be joining us on our flight home on Sunday. What a small world!
Ghana11.jpgThe next morning we awoke early because it was market day in Kpando. After telling all of our new and old friends goodbye, we got back onto the Tro-tro for the long, fast, bumpy drive back to Accra. Upon arrival in Accra, we met up with Peter, the co-founder of Standing with Hope, at Ghana Health Services for a tour of the prosthetics and orthotics clinic (picture below). We met a patient that was extremely excited to see 5 young ladies who will be working with him tomorrow. On the walk home from Ghana Health services, we passed through the “bus stop”/market to find some delectable “Obama” (and family) cookies. After a long day of traveling, we had dinner at the hotel and decided to practice taping ankles for our upcoming 1st Responder course. As you can tell we are having a super exciting evening.

Monday in Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Sarahann Callaway
Sarahann.jpgGhana8.jpgToday was a great day for building relationships here in Ghana. We spent the day with Anna Hughton (pictured here with professors Brown and Gallaway). Anna is a Ghanian physiotherapist. She owns her own private practice and is the coordinator for the physiotherapy school in Ghana. In the morning we met with her at her private clinic had a tour and discussed physiotherapy in Ghana and the potential for collaboration with Belmont. We learned that Ghana has had a physiotherapy program for 10 years. It is a five year program (four years of university and one year of internship). The program consists of all lecture with few labs. After our morning discussion we went to tour the teaching hospital, Kor-le-bu. We met the other physio teachers and toured the physiotherapy building. We had the opportunity to see the pediatrics clinic as well (see picture below). Anna asked us to dinner, which I was very excited about because we went to a restaurant/ bakery that I had visited on my last visit to Ghana. After dinner, we had to stop in the bakery to pick up a pastry for breakfast in the morning. We leave bright and early for Kpando!!!

Sunday in Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Sarahann Callaway, Mollie Carver and Hannah Peck, 3rd year PT students
Ghana6.jpgToday was a very educational day in Ghana. We began with cultural training with Albie and Rose discussing the economy of Ghana, its history, the health care system, neo-colonialism, education, and current problems that the Ghanians are facing. Next we are able to visit the tomb of the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, where we toured the museum and its grounds and learned about Ghana’s efforts to unite all African nations and met the possible next president “Yo.” Nkrumah’s tomb is a popular destination for weddings and wedding photography sessions. We were even asked to take pictures with one of the brides getting married today.


Ghana5.jpgWe then proceeded to have a bus tour of Accra and then ate at the Country Kitchen for lunch/dinner. Don’t be fooled by the name; we had authentic Ghanian food. Next we drove to the University of Ghana and were able to stop at the highest point of Accra where we could overlook the city. Rose and Albie then took us to a dance class with a group of students from Cal State University where we learned to dance, sing, and play the flute. And lastly, we took our first taxi ride from the University back to the hotel.

Arrived in Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
From Renee Brown & Kathy Galloway, Faculty Sponsors


Our team of 6 departed Nashville on Friday July 23 for an African adventure (above)! Kathy Galloway (PT, DSc, ECS), Renee Brown ( PT , PhD), Sarahann Callaway, Hannah Peck, Mollie Carver (all 3rd year PT students) and Maggie Monteverde, Director of Study Abroad arrived in Accra, Ghana after a long crowded and delayed flight. We were met by our in-country guide, Albie, and checked into our hotel. We had a walking tour of part of the city, including an arts bazaar where drums were being made. We walked through the market streets (watch out for the gutters! Your car exhaust checks are worth the $10!) and enjoyed a cold refreshing one at a café (below). We returned to the hotel and had a quick walk on the beach before dinner. We enjoyed our first Ghanaian meal of Red Red, Tribal rice, tilapia, ground nut soup, and okra stew. We turned in as it had been a long 2 days!

PT faculty and students take mission to Ghana

2011 Mission to Ghana
from Belmont News
A group of Belmont faculty, students and alumni from the College of Health Sciences & Nursing are in Ghana this summer for a pilot medical service trip they hope will blossom into an annual mission for the University.
“This is really more of a relationship-building and fact-finding trip,” said Physical Therapy Professor Renee Brown. “Our goal is for it to become an interdisciplinary and an annual trip.”
Physical Therapy Associate Professor Kathy Galloway, Assistant Provost for International Education and Study Away Maggie Monteverde and third-year physical therapy students Sarahann Callaway, Mollie Carver and Hannah Peck also are on the 10-day trip.
Callaway visited Kpando, Ghana two years ago to carry out health initiatives, host community talks on malnutrition and diseases and work in a pharmacy.
“Even with the stress of PT school… the memories of Ghana still dance across my mind. I must admit sometimes during a lecture or two I have been known to daydream about my return,” Callaway said. She approached Brown about creating a Belmont University mission trip to the developing country, and she immediately approved. “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.”
The group plans to visit the country’s capital Accra, Kpando and Cape Coast. There they will work with the physiotherapy department in a Kpando hospital as well as tour clinics and physical therapy academic programs at local universities. They also will work with Standing with Hope (, a nonprofit organization founded by Belmont University alumni Gracie and Peter Rosenberger that provides custom-made prostheses to amputees and teaches them how to use their new limbs.


2011 Mission Trip to Ghana
from Sarahann Callaway
Sarahann.jpgAkwaaba 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!

Continue reading