Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Keep on moving forward...

Things have been crazy here in Ghana. It has been way too long since I have posted. If I could, I would post every day because there is always so much to talk about, but I am not able to get to the internet very often.

This last week or so has been difficult, but humbling. I have been exposed to so many people that say one thing and do something else. I would like to say that I don’t have a negative view of Ghanaians, but for what I have experienced, I can only express a negative opinion. Now I cannot generalize and say that all Ghanaians rub you the wrong way, but the adults that I have come into contact with here in my placement have thoroughly disappointed me. They have done nothing but disrespect us as volunteers and foreigners. I could honestly say that we have done nothing but turn the other cheek and ignore them even though we are here to help them. According to a higher authority, we are no good unless we come with thousands of dollars to give to the orphanage for things they need. Even though we spend over 8 hours a day at the orphanage, wake up at five every morning to help, patch wounds, help with homework, clean up pee and throw up, play with dirty children who stick their fingers and hands in our eyes and mouth, deal with rotten teenagers, take the children to the hospital and pay for all their fees, medical supplies, pads, diapers, etc., we are still accused of being lazy, being disrespectful, a bad influence, and inconsiderate. They expect us to understand their culture and follow their guidelines but won’t listen to our ideas or compromise with the things of our culture. You thought my dad and I were stubborn? Just wait ‘til you meet someone here in Ghana! Everything is so black and white here. We are expected to give so much respect to others but get none in return. The dynamic is completely different than what I expected. We have not even been thanked or appreciated for what we do day in and day out. For the first time yesterday, a Ghanaian said “God bless you for being here at this orphanage. You are doing great things. You are a blessing to these children, and it makes me so happy.” This certain individual’s name is Rebecca. She was visiting the orphanage with her church and that was our first conversation and probably our last, but the words that came out of here mouth meant more than I can express. It actually made me cry. When you know you are doing good, and someone tells you, you know that it is worth it. You are appreciated. I don’t mean to complain and rant about my little hardships. I am having an amazing experience here. Sometimes you just need to explain and let others know how your situation really is. This past weekend I have been overwhelmed with emotions. There is good in this world and there is also bad wherever you go. It has taken me a long time to be able to be happy with where I am, to be happy in the moment. I can say that being here has taught me to do that. Life is beautiful and there will always be bad. BUT there will always be good, always. The children are my heart. They give me strength every day. So even though I may be frustrated with the politics of the orphanage, I am blessed because these children teach me every day.

This is Baby Benedict. He is so cute and precious! 
These are some of the kids that go to Word of Faith school. They are fortunate enough to have sponsors from past volunteers. Word of Faith is a private school run by Americans. These kids are so smart and so good. From right to left: Celestine, Rosemary, Famous (on top), Courage (on bottom), Peace.

A certain experience I had this last Friday night was interesting. I have become the head person to take the children to the hospital when they are sick, and another girl had become seriously ill. Her name is Rosemary and she is 14 years old. We weren’t aware, but she had been sick for a week. She had a fever of 103.5 degrees and hadn’t eaten. She was miserable. I took her to the hospital and waited in the lines and talked to the lab techs and doctors. It was determined that she had severe malaria and would have to stay overnight. We went to the building next door to get her a bed in the Women’s Ward. The room was lined with four beds on each side.  She had to get an IV and take lots of medicine. The nurse could not get the IV into her arm and poked her about five times. I went and collected her dinner so she could eat and take the medicine. I was with two other boys from the orphanage and they decided to go back to get one of the house mothers to stay overnight with Rosemary. They left at around 8:30 pm. I waited and waited and waited… but they never came back. So it was up to me to take care of Rosemary overnight. There was nothing else I could do, because I certainly couldn’t walk home by myself in the dark, and Rosemary was very scared. I would be too in a ghetto, cement building with old ladies laying everywhere. They said that there were no more chairs, so I would have to sit on her bed when I was with her. Our communication is pretty divided because she doesn’t speak English very well.  So we could really just make gestures to each other. We played around making fun of the other women who were lying on the other beds. They laid on the beds naked and snoring or yelling things in their sleep. It was wonderful to see Rosemary giggling and smiling. She is very quiet and gets made fun of in the home. She has also been through a lot of trials. She has been raped multiple times at her school and doesn’t have many friends. I am so proud of her for everything she does. She is in 2nd grade. She is so sweet and loves others. We finally started to get sleepy so I layed beside her on the little bed we had. She had one sheet to sleep with and covered herself to be protected from bugs and mosquitos. I however was left with only the clothes on my back, legs and arms pretty bare. The mosquitos had a feast that night and bit me all over. I layed there on the bed and thought about how lucky I am to have family to sit with me in the hospital, how lucky I am to not have malaria, and how lucky I am to have a bed to sleep on that night. It was a little scary being there by myself, but I knew it was what had to be done so my determination overcame my fears. I didn’t sleep much that night, but Rosemary was fine. We were rudely awakened by the nurse the next morning and I was scolded at for sleeping on the bed with Rosemary. I was also scolded for making a mess. I cleaned up and asked a little girl to help me find bread and porridge to give to Rosemary so she could take her medicine. What an experience! Rosemary is ok now and back at the home. She ended up staying another night and was accompanied by a house mother.

 This is Rosemary. She was in the hospital. Love her!!

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