Before we begin telling our story of this faithful day there are some things we would like to highlight. Even though Bolgatanga is only a three hour drive away from Tamale, it is surreal how vastly different these two regions are.
|Landscape of the Upper East - Sub-Saharan Africa|
First of all, the weather that welcomes you in the Upper East is a type of heat that you just cannot seem to escape. It somehow always manages to exceed 40°C with the only relief being the AC and/or the occasional dry breeze that you quickly learn to long for. However, the most notable difference that we have recognized is just how rural some of these communities really are.To put it in context, the closest city is an hour away by vehicle and that’s if you own one.
|Syd at her station|
During our stay in Bolga, we have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work alongside a team of wonderful health care providers at three rural clinics: Nangodi, Nyobok, and Sakote. As we began the week at our assigned clinic, it was brought to our attention that we (us students) would be performing a health screening at the local public elementary school just outside of the Nyobok clinic. As the days went by, the anticipation and excitement only grew as we slowly approached April 5th...health screening day!!!
To say that this day was a roller coaster of emotions would be an INCREDIBLE understatement. It began like any other clinical day...being greeted by pleasant Peter (our bus driver) waiting for us to board ‘Big Red’ for our lovely (and bumpy) commute. Once arriving to Nyobok clinic we immediately began assisting the nurses, Elijah and Vincent, with OPD (outpatient clients....kind of like a walk-in clinic); this consisted of taking vitals and consultations.
|Assessments by Jill & Soph|
When it was time, we began our walk to the school under the blistering sun marching in sync with Elijah. Who knew that we would find ourselves amidst absolute chaos? Comparable to how moths are attracted to light, children began darting towards us as soon as we were within sight. Not one of us were left without a child’s hand clasped around each one of our fingers with no intentions of releasing their grasp.
Moments pass before a crowd of curious children forms around us with smiles beaming from ear to ear. Being under a strict time crunch, we quickly began assembling stations as we needed to assess all 180 children and send those that needed further consultation back to the clinic. With the help of one another and the added assistance from teachers whom acted as translators, we successfully saw each and every student within three hours! It was a miracle!!!
|Waiting Patiently to be seen....|
As we began our dishevelled walk back to the clinic, our thoughts went out to Jeanette, Mara, and Vincent who simply tried to maintain crowd control but ultimately succumbed to the sea of children. The peaceful clinic of Nyobok was overrun by the highly energetic school children awaiting their consultation with anticipation.
Through trial and error we began separating the children into groups that had similar diagnoses but this came to no success; have you ever tried to tell a child to sit still? Yeah, it doesn’t work. With only a number of minor breakdowns here and there, as a unified team we seemed to defy all odds as we accomplished our goal.
Hot, tired and sweaty....we boarded Big Red for home. We did it!!!
Sydey Schindel, Jill Filsinger and Sophia Gray
4th year BSN Students