Last summer, I had the incredible honour to travel to Ghana with my company for an 8 day clinic. We saw a total of 9051 people! It goes without saying that this was an AMAZING experience! I spent several months prior to my trip, picking out little toys, treats and gifts for the young children we would treat as well as relevant gifts for the young adults who would be our translators. I also attempted to learn a few words and study a bit of the culture. As I emptied my suitcase of all it’s treasures, I filled my heart with so many more. There is no question in my mind that I gained an abundance of wealth in my very short 2 week stay. My gains: Having the privilege of getting to know the beautiful and generous people of Ghana and learning about their customs and ways. Noting both the differences as well as the similarities of our people.The camaraderie of arriving and working with 44 dedicated and passionate individuals. The sheer wonder of being a part of something that is BIGGER than we are!
It was explained to us that we would each have a translator. Whew! Turns out, most of the people spoke English (including the very young children) The only people who didn’t speak English were either very old or from one of the tribes.
Our translators, young Ghanaian high school or college students didn’t speak just 2 languages. Most of them spoke multiple languages including several of the tribal languages. Their help proved invaluable, not only in their language skills but mainly in knowing the people and helping them to understand what we were doing and why. And by giving us the insight to better care for their people.
I found these people to be very intelligent and quite clever. Having raised 2 bi-lingual children, it has always been my contention that children who know at least 2 languages from birth tend to learn and catch on much quicker. Imagine these children who know 5 or 6 different languages? Another remarkable thing I noted was their love and care for each other. Ghana may be small compared to the US but at almost 25million people, you wouldn’t expect the familiarity with each other that we witnessed. There is a beautiful article about Africa and Bishop Desmond Tutu. He talks about the African word, Ubuntu-the essence of being human. “We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”
Where is our connectedness? When was the last time you helped the person in front of you in line as they struggled with keys, a baby, their cart, whatever? When was the last time you stepped up to the plate to give a hand to your brotha or sistah?
If you would like to read my blog about the trip, Click Here: