Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Chief's Palace's a horse!
During our time in Tamale, Kassim our Tamale Connection, facilitated a visit to Chanshegu, the village where he was born. UBCO has ties to the village through Muriel Kranabetter, an Associate Professor at UBCO, who is undertaking research to understand the community's infant and child mortality rates. Because of her work, she has been named King of the village! We are supporting the development of a health clinic within the village, and this year, we are using a portion of the funds we raised from the Global Gala to bring running water to the facility.  KalTire also graciously donated funds for this project.

Beautiful Faces
The Watering Hole
As soon as we pulled into the village we were swarmed with excited children. They clung onto us tightly for a majority of the time we were there. We walked to their water source, a man-made reservoir that gets filled during the rainy season and is used throughout the year. This muddy, dirty stagnant water is their main source of potable water. Various organizations have attempted to provide clean water; however, none have been effective or sustainable.  In nursing, we learn about community development, and the first step is always to ask the community,"'what do you need?"  We wonder if this simple question was asked before the various water projects began.
Interior of the Clinic

Many Hands
After the watering hole, we walked out to the clinic and back. Realistically, it probably was not far but having one child attached to each of your fingers in the hot sun makes for a long walk! We were impressed with the clinic as it is close to being finished. The community members, including Kassim, have put in hard work to get the clinic to its immaculate shape. The next big step is turning the facility over to Ghana Health Services who will assume responsibility for its operations.

Outside the Clinic

As nurses, we must assure that we practice in a culturally safe manner; therefore, it was essential that we received the Chief's blessing upon our arrival. This meeting occurred in the Chief's Palace (yes, it's actually called a palace), and it was unlike anything that we expected. Inside the mud hut, we found ourselves looking up at the Chief in his lazy boy chair throne from the cow skinned mats we sat upon. To the left of him was the his horse. Yes, a real horse. Kassim translated the words spoken from the chief as he warmly welcomed us into the community. 

The Chief's Palace
After formalities were settled, we distributed donation items to the orphaned children, who are raised by the community. They each received two items of their choosing from art supplies, stickers, and Canadian paraphernalia. We also gave each of them a hygiene kit and dental kit and that were put together by a Boy Scout troop (thanks Norma Hillsman and boys!) 
Canadian Swag and Dental Kits
The distribution went smoothly; however Dawn accidentally created a mosh pit as over a hundred children battled for three balloons that she tossed in the air. Not her greatest moment when she had to pop the balloons in front of them because of the chaos she created. She is not sure if that moment was more traumatizing for her or them. She is also unsure if they understood her lesson about caring for one another and being kind after the battle royale; however, throughout the day we saw many demonstrations of them caring for each other. Young girls not much older than 4, would have their younger siblings tied onto their backs, carrying them in the hot sun during our long treks through the village. When one child strayed behind our large pack, another child would bring them back to us so that they could hold our hand. Our favorite observation was when a young boy was given a little bottle of bubbles and was soon found teaching another child how to use them.

It's days like this when our hearts are filled with gratitude for what we have at home and overflowing with joy from the kindness that exists here at Chanshegu.

~ Dawn Hillman

1 comment:

  1. Oh Dawn! I love this! Enjoy hearing how you guys are doing! LINDA Drew