Since daily, or even weekly, trash pickup is basically non-existant in Abidjan, every few months the city sends in bulldozers and diggers to clean up massive mounds of trash. Trash that was meant to fit in a single container but has over flowed into a massive temporary landfill. That’s what happens in a city of 6-8 million people – trash everywhere.
On the hospital compound the grass is cut using human lawn mowers! The hospital maintenance department has a staff of men who cut the grass with cutlasses (machetes) and they are pretty impressive to watch. Often they cut together in unison, creating a steady whish/whack/whish/whack rhythm.
Sometimes a patient of the hospital can’t afford to pay their bill and the hospital allows members of their family to pay off their debt by working on the campus doing tasks like cutting the grass.
I’m convinced that the Baptist Medical Centre‘s 55 years of success is due in part to the fact that they don’t give away medical care for free. The services and medicine don’t cost the nationals much, but placing a monetary (or grass cutting) value on it means they aren’t taken for granted or abused.
The service yesterday was particularly exciting because they were welcoming a group from a Baptist church in Arkansas that will be partnering with them in church planting.
The video below of an “Akwaba (Welcome)” song the young adults in the church performed for the newly arrived Americans.
In some places (like Accra, Ghana), I’ve heard the men are independent salesmen. They hit up a warehouse in the early morning and buy a bunch of whatever they think they can sell in the road. In other cities (like Abidjan) they are often employees of a wholesaler. They are given goods to sell from an employer who pays them a small amount.
Watch the video and you’ll get an idea of how dangerous the work is. It is pretty terrifying with cars and trucks zipping by while the men try to hawk their goods to those stopped at the red lights.
Here’s a glimpse into the crowded chaos of clinic day at BMC in Nalerigu, Ghana.
On the day I shot this, it was already almost 6pm and these were all the patients yet to be seen by three doctors and three medical assistants. They ended up having to turn away over 100 people because of the late hour. They were able to return the following day to be seen.
Here’s a brief clip shot from the back of the moto I rode for 6 hours (!) to the Togo border. It was totally worth the discomfort to see new church plants, hear inspiring testimonies from church leaders, and be an encouragement to new believers.