Tag Archives: missionary nurse

Western Region Mobile Clinic

A Journey HomeA Journey Home is the story of my mother’s experiences working as a nurse in a health clinic for the under-served in Ghana, West Africa. Click here to begin with the first entry of “The Journey Home”  My comments are in red.

CHAPTER 6B

April, 1990

Greetings from Ghana, West Africa

Our second trip in April was to the Western Region with the evangelistic team from Bomso congregation where the team worships. Eleven of us again packed provisions for three nights and four days. We drove five hours over rough, dusty roads through dense jungle, passing through an occasional village. The rest house this time was a beautiful villa on a mountain top, spacious rooms and beds, so cool fans were not needed but the running water was again poured from buckets! Oh yes, a horde of BIG roaches this time. a noise in the kitchen was explained as the roaches carrying our food box out the door!

Typical brush arbor used for classes and worship

Typical brush arbor used for classes and worship

Our clinic next day was for Christians who had gathered for a three day seminar. When we arrived I counted seven different Bible classes in progress, under the brush arbor, the mango and papaya trees. Two nurses saw 65 patients in the morning and then to another small village in the afternoon to see 40 more.

Francis, clinic evangelist and teacher

Francis, clinic evangelist and teacher

The next day 100 patients were seen while our evangelist, Francis, used the mobile P.A. system to teach primary health lessons and the gospel. He talked three and a half to four hours. He is an excellent teacher. Two of our staff workers accompanied us, Georgina and Agnes, who interpreted for us. They also cooked us a tasty supper of fish stew and rice. We arrived home at 3 P.M. Saturday to greet a young couple visiting and considering coming to Ghana. On Tuesday we took them on an all day mobile clinic.

 

I know the mobile clinics were hard work, just the logistics of packing all the equipment and supplies needed, along with their own food and water. Each new clinic had its own challenges, and they were never sure what type of accommodations they would have. Proper food, water, and rest were needed to withstand the long hours of work in the outdoor heat.

I continue to be amazed and thankful for God blessing Mama with the energy and health this work required.

JoyMartell  

Advertisements

Mobile Clinic to the North

A Journey HomeA Journey Home is the story of my mother’s experiences working as a nurse in a health clinic for the under-served in Ghana, West Africa. Click here to begin with the first entry of “The Journey Home”  My comments are in red.

CHAPTER 6

April, 1990

Greetings from Ghana, West Africa

God blessed our plans for the trip to the remote Northern Region in Ghana. Nine of us left Kumasi with enough food, water, and bedding for us all. We drove 8 hours on good roads and found a rest house with 2 beds, electricity, and fans but no running water. We ate sandwiches, then set up our cots after spraying for hordes of ants.

Mobile clinic accommodations. Notice bucket for water

The  Mobile clinic accommodations. Notice the blue bucket for water

The first requirement for ventures like this is a sense of adventure and good humor. Thinking of the comforts of home is out of the question because we are busy with logistics of enough water and privacy for a brief bucket bath.

By the second night, exhausted from 4 hours travelling rough, dusty roads, seeing 200 patients (with 3 nurses) the good humor and sense of adventure is wearing thin, especially with the power off, meaning no fans, eating and bathing by flashlight. So it is then God’s grace takes over.

A mother and child receive medical care under a tree.

A mother and child receive medical care beneath a shady tree.

The village was so poor our charge of 20¢ to be seen could not be paid by some, especially a family with three or four children. All medicines were free. Preaching was done by the evangelists while the patients waited. A small congregation was started last October as a result of a water well project. We hope they were encouraged and edified by our efforts.

The health of a village depends on clean water. This source of water contains hidden organisms harmful to humans.

The health of a village depends on clean water. This source of water contains hidden organisms harmful to humans.

The clinic in Kumasi is unable to support this kind of mobile work. My sponsoring congregation (Liberty Church of Christ) in Dresden, TN has donated $500 for a later trip to this area.

 

 

Water drilling provides a source of clean water for a whole village, thus, everyone comes out to watch.

Water drilling provides a source of clean water for a whole village, thus, everyone comes out to watch.

We take clean water for granted most of the time until a drought or disaster. Clean water is still not available in many parts of the world. I can’t help but think of Mama’s perspective on water. She grew up on a farm in Kentucky where water came from a well and the toilet was “out back”. Is it God’s irony that in her retirement years she found herself in similar circumstances?

I am thankful Mama relied on God’s grace when living conditions became uncomfortable.

JoyMartell  

Snapshots from Ghana

A Journey HomeA Journey Home is the story of my mother’s experiences working as a nurse in a health clinic for the under-served in Ghana, West Africa. Click here to begin with the first entry of “The Journey Home”  My comments are in red.

CHAPTER 5D

From the fourth section of her March, 1990, newsletter to supporters. See the first installment of the newsletter here.

Snapshots of my life in Ghana:

  • Saturday night and the power is on! We are thankful. We had a thunderstorm Wednesday night and it must have done extensive damage to power lines.
  • Clinic stories: One of our patients, Ben, has been treated for osteomyelitis (an inflammation of the bones) for two years. This developed after getting a gross staph infection at the hospital. Surgery with bone grafting has been scheduled for weeks; everyday when Ben came to us for dressing his sores, he would give a new date for surgery. Finally, a doctor sent us a note, with the surgery date, the amount of money needed, and a list of medicines Ben would need. This included pre-op medications, antibiotics, IV fluids. Yes, the patients must acquire their own supplies!We dispatched one of our workers to gather the needed items. The day we thought Ben would be admitted he showed up at our door. He had to supply his own bed (a foam mat), sheets, towels, and dressings for post-op! And this is a teaching hospital. We pray Ben’s surgery will be successful.
  • Bomso church meets in a large open-air building next to the clinic and housing compound — a strong and evangelistic body.
    Bomso building in the forefront of this picture

    Bomso building in the forefront of this picture

    They conduct several campaigns a year in far-reaching rural areas. Last week was their 3rd Annual Youth Week with speakers each night on the theme of “Putting on the Whole Armor of Christ”. There were large crowds (200-300) and great singing. At the Sunday night service the young people presented a play portraying the theme. These young people have no inhibitions when performing and truly throw themselves into their role. Each player presented a piece of armor with appropriate scriptural remarks and examples. But the helmet of salvation was the prize! This young guy swaggered out with a motorcycle helmet on! Everyone loved it!

How I wish each of you could spend just one week here! You never be the same!

  • My health has been good except for a bout with malaria; I was on the bed three days and then a week of recovery. Although I had no chills or fever, I felt terrible, so weak. I felt like there was lead in my bones. The weekly dose of medication for malaria only makes it a lighter case; it does not prevent it. Hopefully, I’ll build some immunity.
  • With your generous support I have found opportunities to

assist a widow lady to buy rice to resell

pay funds for young people to go to Bible Camp

$500 to the clinic to buy medicines.

Requests for individual help is either referred to the church Benevolent Committee, or we seek the advice from the two ministers, Gabriel Opong and Samuel Obeng. Samuel is on our medical team and is invaluable as a cultural advisor and language teacher. The team is blessed with a staff of workers who are Christians and have the same goals and attitude as the team: to glorify God and spread the Gospel as we help the sick.

Samuel, his wife Comfort, and Gabriel

Samuel, his wife Comfort, and Gabriel

Continue to pray for me and this work. Letters are very much welcomed! My love and prayers to you all.

Serving in Ghana,

Martin Johnson

I am thankful for those who provided financial support for Mama’s service in Ghana. I know God was glorified.

JoyMartell  

Mobile Clinics

A Journey HomeA Journey Home is the story of my mother’s experiences working as a nurse in a health clinic for the under-served in Ghana, West Africa. Click here to begin with the first entry of “The Journey Home”  My comments are in red.

CHAPTER 5C

From the third section of her March, 1990, newsletter to supporters. See the first installment of the newsletter here.

Greetings from Ghana,

This week we returned to Mile 14 Post,  the same village I visited on my first visit to Ghana last June (1989). In June three nurses saw 240 patients. This time three nurses saw 180 patients.

19.Truck.2We left home at 7 A.M. (twelve of us) with the big van and pick-up truck packed with medicines, dressings, lunches, and water. Two and half hours later we arrived to find a crowd of villagers to greet us.  Since healthcare is so limited in most villages, news of a clinic spreads to surrounding villages.  We worked almost seven hours with a brief lunch break; after a long hot day we were home by 6:30 P.M. The power was still off but at least we had water for a cold shower and a hot meal waiting for us.

Notice the van for travel, their nursing stations (under a tree). Mama is in the back, wearing a blue hat.

Notice the van for travel, their nursing stations (under a tree). Mama is in the back, wearing a blue hat.

Another view of this mobile clinic. Besides the nurses you can see Gabriel to the right, one of the evangelists.

Another view of this mobile clinic. Besides the nurses you can see Gabriel to the right, one of the evangelists.

The people seem so appreciative of our efforts. They brought plantains and cassava as gifts; so many willing hands were there to help us pack up to leave. Our plans are to make this a regular clinic, once or twice monthly, reaching out to surrounding small villages with an immunization program.

Next week we plan to make an overnight visit to Tamale, a village midway to the Northern region. A Christian brother reports that funds have been raised from the villagers for a clinic; Ghanaian nurses and facilities are available for a clinic. We have been invited to assist in establishing a clinic. Our visit will be to evaluate, consult with the chief (the leader of the village) as well as church leaders and then decide how we are able to assist. Our concern is to always be sure our work is done in the name and for the cause of Christ.

In April we have two mobile clinic scheduled. One will be in the Northern Region in Garinkuka, a dreadfully poor area. I have seen a video of a clinic held there in January by the Reynolds during their six weeks visit. It looked liked the scenes we see on TV (“Save the Children”). We will spend the night at a rest house, drive three hours, hold a clinic, drive back to the rest house for the night and home the next day. Remember us in special prayers, plsease, it will be an arduous trip.

This Scripture seems to be the foundation of their work:

Matthew 25: 35, 36     ‘I was hungry. And you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. And you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger. And you invited me in. I needed clothes. And you gave them to me. I was sick. And you took care of me. I was in prison. And you came to visit me.’

She learned that each mobile clinic had it’s own challenges and rewards. But it was always clear — they were needed and appreciated. 

I am thankful Mama had the stamina and physical health to do this work.

JoyMartell  

I was in prison and you came . . .

A Journey HomeA Journey Home is the story of my mother’s experiences working as a nurse in a health clinic for the under-served in Ghana, West Africa. The work of the clinic was supported by ICHF African Christian Hospitals in Searcy, Arkansas. Click here to begin with the first entry of “The Journey Home”  My comments are in red.

CHAPTER 5B

From her newsletter to her supporters dated March 24, 1990, second installment. See the first installment here.

Greetings from Ghana,

Our medical work at the clinic is picking up satisfactorily. after a drop in the number of patients when no American nurses were here.  We also changed the days we are open from Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday to Monday/Wednesday/Friday. It always takes awhile for people to get used to a change. We will continue to leave Tuesday and Thursday free to devote to mobile clinic work. We recently visited one of the local prisons. All of the medicines for the prisoners are free, supplied from a fund raised by Royce and Cindy Reynolds in Alabama.

In our December visit to the prison we saw many who were sick with clothes so ragged they were hardly decent. Avril and I gave some money to two of our staff to go buy shorts for the most needy. Their shopping was successful, purchasing 34 pairs of shorts for about $40. In our recent visit the prisoners were not as sick. We saw almost 100, including many of the guards.

As the prisoners waited to be seen by the nurses, Francis, one of out clinic evangelists, preached to them for over an hour. They were quiet and attentive, asking questions at the end. Our plans are to return once a quarter with a clinic. Since one of the guards is a Christian, his support has been very helpful in getting us in.

Francis, a dedicated servant of the Lord

Francis, a dedicated servant of the Lord

A Ghanaian preacher is in charge of this ministry, conducting individual Bible studies, as well as Sunday and Wednesday services. Many have been baptized, and few have returned to their villages and established congregations.

Reading this account again of the nurses’ physical and spiritual assistance to prisoners, a verse kept echoing in my head. 

Matthew 25: 35, 36     ‘I was hungry. And you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. And you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger. And you invited me in. I needed clothes. And you gave them to me. I was sick. And you took care of me. I was in prison. And you came to visit me.’

But the people asked the King, “When did we see you as a stranger or sick or in prison?” (My paraphrase of verses 37-39)

40 “The King will reply, ‘What I’m about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Opportunities to provide medical care never seemed to end for the clinic staff in the city of Kumasi.

I am thankful for opportunities and support that enabled Mama to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

JoyMartell

 

Personnel Changes at the Clinic, 5A

A Journey HomeA Journey Home is the story of my mother’s experiences working as a nurse in a health clinic for the under-served in Ghana, West Africa. Click here to begin with the first entry of “The Journey Home”  My comments are in red.

CHAPTER 5

Mother returned to the States just before Christmas, 1989, and stayed until February, 1990. Her flights on the Dutch airlines, KLM, always began in Atlanta with a long layover in Amsterdam. Sometimes it was even an overnight layover before the six hour flight south to Africa, flying over the Sahara Desert, making a quick stop in Nigeria, and then on to Accra, Ghana.

Our first news from Mom was on March 24 when she sent her newsletter to all her supporters. Here is the first installment.

Greetings from Ghana,

We joke among ourselves at times about suffering missionaries, especialy when we sit down to a meal of fried chicken. But, at the present moment, it is no joke. The electricity has been off almost 36 hours. Last night it was on long enough to freeze ice in our refrigerators, then off again all day. We had to cook our month’s supply of meat; unless it comes on tonight we will give it away tomorrow. This is one of hottest times in Ghana. Those who have been here 2 years or more are saying it is hotter than they have ever experienced. When someone on the team complains, the rest of us remind them of how God dealt with the Israelites when they murmured! I’m sure God considers us as spoiled children.

The work here has resumed at a good pace. Three more team members are on the scene. Avril Keoughan, a nurse from Canada, accompanied me on my return trip from Amsterdam in February. She and I are sharing an apartment on the compound. I couldn’t ask for a more companionable housemate. She says she didn’t know the Lord was sending her to the mission field to look after an old lady. On the days when I misplace my cup of coffee, she threatens me with the nursing home, if there be such in Ghana! All of this to say, we rarely get on each other’s nerves.

Avril, Norma, Curtis Edwards, Mama

Avril, Norma, Curtis Edwards, Mama

Norma and Curtis Edwards arrived  from Tucson, Arizona early in March. Norma is a Family Nurse practitioner and will give added strength to our nursing team. Curtis is energetic and has quickly applied himself to all kinds of maintenance work. They both feel they will love it here in Ghana. They are living in the adjoining apartment but will move into the house next door when Bob and Beth Williams return to the States in May.

We will miss Beth and Bob so much. They initially came for 18 months and have been here two and a half years. Beth needs cataract surgery badly, so after a stay in the States we are hoping they will long for Ghana and return. They have so many friends who will mourn their leaving.

 I am thankful for the blessings Mama received by working with a dedicated  team from North America.

JoyMartell

 

Taking Care of Business , Chapter 4C

A Journey HomeA Journey Home is the story of my mother’s experiences working as a nurse in a health clinic for the under-served in Ghana, West Africa. Click here to begin with the first entry of “The Journey Home”  My comments are in red.

Today’s post is the last half of her letter I began last week.

November 29, 1989

I am in Accra (capital city of Ghana, right on the coast) today for a CHAG (Christian Health Association of Ghana) meeting. Many clinics and hospitals are members of this association from all over Ghana. It will be interesting. Today is the matrons’ meeting and tomorrow is administrators’ meeting, so Bob (Williams) will attend it.

I plan to have a permanent put in my hair while waiting for him. Beth (Williams) did not make this trip, as we will be coming back on Sunday for our trip to Togo.

My hair is really straight! Brenda (McVey) has her permanent put in at a beauty shop, using a home perm she takes to the shop. She remains watchful during the whole process, instructing frequently. So another new experience.

Dan and Brenda were the host housing for any of the mission team needing to spend the night in Accra.

Dan and Brenda’s home provided housing for any of the mission team needing to spend the night in Accra.

The meeting today was very interesting. Forty to 50 people – all nurses at mission clinics and hospitals. Many Catholics and several white nurses, but I really think I was the only American. They served coffee, hot tea, and some kind of sweet bread before the meeting began at 10:15. The meeting ended at 2:30 with no breaks! I was starved!

Then they served Ghanaian foods: rice and meat sauce, cabbage, yams, and “kenke”. Most of it was very good. I drove myself in the red pickup with a straight shift. No problems.

Received your letter a few days ago that was written early in November. Some letters arrive in 11 days and some in three weeks. No matter – it is good to hear from home. I haven’t heard much from the boys (my three brothers). Paul has written once with a “blow by blow description of Hurricane Hugo”. (He was stationed at the Air Force Base in Myrtle Beach, SC.) Steve has written several times and David twice. They make me anxious. None of us wrote her as much as she would have liked. In fact we received some mild scolding at times. She reminded us that she wrote her mother and mother-in-law once a week. And she faithfully wrote me once a week when I was away in college. 

I finally found some Ghanaian Christmas cards so I better get busy and get them in the mail.

I hope to talk with you while we are in Togo next week.

God bless and keep you all in His care,

Love,  Mom

While they were in Togo, a country on Ghana’s western border, she called and left a message from her hotel. When I returned her call, I got the front desk and tried to use my college French to communicate. I finally made my message clear, and the worker said, “Okay, I’ll get her.” He laid the phone down, and I was left waiting, long distance to Africa! I tried to imagine how far he had to go to deliver his message as the minutes ticked away. She finally picked up the phone, and we had a great phone visit.

Before Mama left for Ghana, she made plans to return home for frequent visits. Even though she first arrived in September, she returned to the States just before Christmas and stayed until February, 1990. Her flights from Amsterdam always came from Atlanta into Nashville, so I picked her up at the airport. She left her car at my house, so she could drive to West Tennessee to see two of my brothers. 

 I am thankful for the safe travels Mama had over some very poor roads throughout Ghana as well as multiple flights from Nashville, Amsterdam, and Accra, Ghana.

JoyMartell