In September I began a series of posts that tell of my mother’s work in the Kumasi Health Clinic in Kumasi, Ghana. She made a scouting trip with some other people in June, 1989 to learn more about the living conditions and work situation. The story begins here A Journey Home: Introduction; you can also get the links to the next two posts.
You may be wondering about the language situation in Ghana in 1989. English is the official language for the country; government business is conducted in English. Children learn it in school, but many women were not proficient in English. Each tribe or section of the country has its own dialect, so you will hear dialect spoken often in the market and other places. The American and Canadian nurses needed interpreters to communicate with women who came with their sick babies. These women often walked many miles to receive health care. Children also learn to speak French because the countries that border Ghana on the east and west are French-speaking.
The English you hear has a very strong British accent. Ghana history included colonial rule by several European countries, but it was a British Colony for much of the 19th century. Ghana known as the Britain’s Gold Coast because of the gold found there but slave trading was highly profitable. Ghana became an independent country in 1956, but the British influence can still be seen as judges can be seen on city streets wearing the white wigs and long robes just as they do in England.
from her journal, June, 1989
An English Bible class taught by D. Kingsley, comptroller at the University. He was an excellent teacher. Some tough questions were asked, and he handled them like a seasoned Bible Scholar.
Class began at 9:00 A.M. with worship at 10:00. Attendance was about 400; the singing was beautiful, in the native dialect of Twi. The sermon, the solemn feast of the Lord’s Supper, guests were introduced, and then the “everlasting” announcements. We were dismissed at 12:30; I felt faint, much like Eutychus who fell out a window listening to Paul, the Apostle, preach.
After two weeks of travel, living in the compound where she and other nurses would live, worshiping with Christians, and meeting clinic staff and evangelists, Mama returned home excited about her adventures. The scope of her work at the Kumasi Clinic included treatinig patients in the clinic, taking mobile clinics to remote villages, and training primary health care workers. People were so grateful to receive medical care and medication at prices they could afford, and the need was great.
Once she was back in West Tennessee, Mama began the process of retirement from Public Health, deciding what furniture to store or spread out among the four families of her children, plus raising support for monthly living expenses. Next week I’ll share how she went about seeking the financial and spiritual support for her journey.
I continue to be amazed and thankful for her courage to travel so far and live in such a different culture.
I’m thankful for all the kind people she met along the way who taught her how manage travel arrangements, boxing medicine and supplies, guiding her through customs and airports, various transports, and several languages.