Photo of the Day

I have taken a lot of very sad photos – especially of children – while following the doctors on rounds. However, I don’t post many of them because I don’t want this blog to be depressing – we want to focus on the hope that is being given here. Hope given by the dedicated hospital staff, the generous volunteers, and most of all Jesus Christ.

As sad as this photo looks, it is actually an ironically hopeful image. This boy had been in the hospital for several days. The morning I took this photo Heidi was discharging him as he was doing much better. However, he kept pouting, weeping, and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. Heidi had the translator ask him over and over if he still had pain and if so, where? Finally, his father asked him and through a series of sobs he said in Mampruli “I just want to go home.”

Diagnosis: Severe case of home sickness
Prescription: Go home

Meet Kathy (audio interview & pictures)

Not all volunteers that come to the medical center in Nalerigu are doctors or medical staff. Kathy is a music teacher who came to Ghana for one month with her daughter (who was doing medical work). So what did Kathy do for one month while her daughter worked long hours at the hospital? Sit around getting a tan?

Not even close! Actually, I think she did get a good bit of sun but it sure wasn’t from sitting around. Kathy worked with two local schools teaching music classes. I went with her a couple times and saw her bravely survive a mob of over 100 brightly uniformed school kids.

Kathy Van Bibber at Nalerigu, Ghana’s Happy Child Learning Center

I interviewed Kathy so that she could share her wonderful experiences here with our blog readers. I also hope that it reminds you that you don’t have to be a doctor, nurse, or medical technician to serve out here. Even elementary music teachers can make a tremendous impact on lives in West Africa.

You can listen to the 5-minute audio interview below:

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Trey’s White Water Rapids Adventure

I confess, my title has been sensationalized a bit. The water at the river does run rapidly over rocks, but it is only white because of the soap used by the women washing their clothes in it.

Trey’s visit to the river was still exciting though. Probably more for the women and children there than for Trey. He attracted quite a crowd as he splashed in the water and slid on the rocks.

We’ve put together a little slideshow of his adventure.

Trey’s White Water Rapids Adventure

Photo of the Day

I went to a local elementary school and was taking photos of the artwork in their courtyard. One of the teachers yelled at all the kids to leave so that I could take my pictures. I was snapping shots and then spotted this curious boy peeking around the corner.

Pray for Trey, William

Trey plays with Na, his new girlfriendTrey has had a fever for two days now as well as a bad cold (congestion, coughing). At first we were worried it might be malaria but then realized that one of the little girls he has been playing with has had the same cough for a few days as well. We suspect he caught it from her. Please pray for him to get better quickly – especially since he hasn’t been sleeping too well and I am leaving town for a two weeks.

Please pray for me as I head back south to Accra on Monday and then on to Abidjan, Ivory Coast. I will be spending a week in Abidjan (the city I used to live in) working with the West Africa regional media team. Upon my return to Accra I’ll be working with the Ghanaian Baptist Convention documenting some of their work with photography and video.

Baby will be taking care of Trey for longer hours in my absence so lift both her and Heidi up in prayer.

Umbilical Hernias

In Africa, many of the young children are running around with umbilical hernias (small defects in the abdominal wall at the belly button – AKA a big “outie”). Some protrude only a centimeter while others are considerably larger.

A pregnant woman’s umbillical hernia into which her uterus has slippedLast week in clinic, Dr. Fort called Jessica and me into his examination room to examine an umbilical hernia on a young woman. I had never seen a hernia so large. It appeared as though the patient had a small watermelon covered in skin attached to the abdomen at the umbilicus. I examined the abdomen. At the top, I felt the bowels moving (peristalsis), but towards the bottom, there was a hard mass. It was not one distinct mass…and it moved. But the movements were not peristalsis…they were fetal movements. She was pregnant and likely 20 weeks along.

The question now is this: how is that umbilical hernia sac going to support a full term pregnancy? Fortunately, this lady lives in town and we can keep a close watch on her pregnancy.

**UPDATE** October 20, 2007 – The woman came back to clinic this week for a check-up and an ultrasound revealed that she is actually 32 weeks pregnant. She has been admitted and will most likely undergo a caesarean section at the hospital.