Crazy that I have finished the last core country. After over 6 weeks in Kontomire, Ghana, we are heading off to Morocco in the coming days and then back to DC!
Over the past 6 weeks I’ve learned a lot through my time here. I’ve learned the typical functions of a health care service, specifically in Ghana, and the benefits it brings to other aspects of a community. Health care has many obstacles it has to overcome in order to serve the people of it’s community. At times it has been heartbreaking to see all the resources it lacked when trying to provide medical care for a person but the health professionals dedication and commitment is truly inspiring. Since mental health isn’t covered by insurance and has a lot of taboos surrounding it, causing it to be difficult to seek care if one needs, nurses and doctors try to help out when they can by giving away part of their personal income to their patients to receive the care that they need. The community I have been living in, Kontomire, is also an inspiring story. Our country director, who has his own non-profit in Ghana, has paired with our town to start their own health clinic!! This is huge because the closest clinics are 40 minutes away, on very bad structured roads which makes it difficult to access in extreme emergencies. Especially since most people of the community don’t have cars, it makes it nearly impossible. Bringing a health clinic to town will help the community in countless ways.
While staying in Kontomire, I have also been studying the dynamics within families in Ghana and the culture surrounding it. In the clinics we saw the vast options for family planning offered, nearly all free with insurance. However, with religious barriers and stigmas around medical doctors, most people don’t use the resources available. This is one of the reasons why family size is so large in Ghana. The other reason is the cultural idea that the more kids one has, the more money the family has. I think it’s so interesting how the thoughts from other members in the community are so strong that it often dictates how many kids are in a family. I wonder what we do solely because that’s what society tells us and we don’t question.
While I did learn a lot, meet a lot of new people, and enjoyed my time, my experience was hard in a variety of ways. When thinking about traveling it’s often people forget the downsides. Not saying I haven’t loved my experience, because trust me I have, but there have been challenges that I often overlook when describing my experience. These challenges have 1) taught me to adapt to truly any situation and 2) made me so so grateful for all the small things I have back home. Every experience, good or bad, has forced me to grow in ways I’m still only barely seeing right now. I’m guessing I won’t be able to see it’s full effects until I’m back home in an environment I’ve been in before. But I guess that’s only days away now.
See you all so soon it’s crazy. Love always,