Happy 3rd Birthday, KJ!

This weekend we celebrated KJ’s birthday at our home in Nalerigu. KJ’s grandparents had come to visit and Granny Sarah’s birthday is the day before KJ’s so it was a dual-birthday party!

Lots of KJ & Trey’s friends came as well as some of our colleagues and visiting volunteers from the hospital.

Syndactyly Repair with Dr. Taylor

When plastic surgeon Dr. Taylor comes to BMC as a Samaritan’s Purse medical volunteer, he is always met with interesting cases and puzzles to solve. This young girl was born with syndactyly of both hands. Sometimes, syndactyly only affects two fingers or toes that are fused together. This little one, however, had fusion of all the fingers. Dr. Taylor was able to separate the thumb from the rest of the fingers on both hands.

The wounds were healed nicely and the patient was finally able to grasp things in a claw like fashion with an opposable thumb. That simple ability will make a huge difference in this young girl’s life. She can now pick things up with each hand and will even be able to learn to write.

Ghana’s Historic Mosques: Wuriyanga

This is one of a series of posts about Ghana’s only six remaining historic mud mosques built in the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style.

All of but one of Ghana’s mud mosques lie along the upper western side of the country. On the complete other side of the country, just a couple miles from the Ghana-Togo border, stands the most unique of Ghana’s Sudano-Sahelian buildings. Just east of the town of Garu, in the small village of Wuriyanga (pronounced and spelled “Woriyanga” by locals), stands a historic mosque in the “Djenne style.”

Features of Wuriyanga’s Djenne Style Mosque

Three things immediately stand out when you see the Wuriyanga mud mosque: it isn’t whitewashed, it only has one tower, and it has no exterior buttresses. Read More

Ramadan Readings

It’s now Ramadan, a month considered holy to all muslims around the world. The month is full of special rituals and observances and many muslims of Nalerigu are observing them.

One of the more public occurrences in Ramadan is a daily reading of the Qu’ran at the central mosque after which an imam gives a sermon. This practice is normally observed at Jumu’ah (Fridays’ midday congregational prayers) but during Ramadan it is done daily.

Fasciotomy to Save a Limb with Compartment Syndrome

In December, I operated on a little girl’s forearm. She had developed compartment syndrome after falling and injuring her arm. The child’s family assumed she had broken her arm and brought her to the bonesetter who wrapped the arm tightly.  After 2 days, it became apparent that the child’s arm was severely injured and she was brought to the hospital. The arm was swollen and tense, discolored and numb with no pulses.

The muscles in the arms and legs are encased in thick connective tissue compartments (called fascia).  When the muscles become swollen within this compartment, the pressure can compress the nerves, blood vessels and even the muscle itself to the point that the tissue begins to die.


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Ghana’s Historic Mosques: Maluwe

This is one of a series of posts about Ghana’s only six remaining historic mud mosques built in the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style.

Maluwe is a small village just east of Bui National Park by which the Wa-Techiman highway passes. Its mud mosque sits right on that heavily trafficked road. Unlike most of the other mud mosques in Ghana, it has not had a larger, more modern mosque built to replace it. Instead some modern building techniques have been used to expand it to accommodate more people. Read More