This week I was stationed in Kumasi at the Friends Eye Clinic. It’s a different experience than working at Crystal Eye Clinic but I am learning a lot here! We are staying at the optometrists guesthouse which is really nice! His family lets us eat with them and have real meals other than chicken and rice so it’s awesome. They also let us use the eye clinics driver, Frances. Funny story about the driver. So every morning driving to our outreach there is lots of traffic on the main street. Well Frances is a very crazy driver and really likes to yell lots of things at other drivers. I’m assuming it’s not so nice but he’s yelling it in twee so you never know. Anyways every day he pulls into the opposite lane to avoid traffic and just honks his horn and makes people swerve around him! He even makes semi trucks swerve around him. I thought we were gonna die at first, but the rest of the staff was just sitting there like it was normal. Well a few days later I find out it was normal! I asked one of the staff members why he is going against oncoming traffic and if they have ever gotten pulled over. Well apparently they have a logo for medical purposes, for the eye clinic, and everyone thinks they are an emergency vehicle. So I guess honking your horn and having a sticker allows us to cut all the traffic and nobody cares haha. It’s a crazy drive and oh he takes the huge van off roading all the time, and hits sped bumps very fast, so I get woken up from my nap a lot by flying out of my seat! But that’s how driving in Ghana works!
We leave at 6 am and pick up the staff members, from there we head out to an outreach. Three days this week we went to places in the city. They have a megaphone attached to the van with an advertisement going on about the eye care we are offering. It’s a very loud megaphone with our driver Frances voice recorded in twee so it’s not the most pleasant thing to listen to for hours a day but I learned to block it out haha. Anyways from around 7 am to 1 pm we help patients. I will work anywhere from giving eye exams, explaining prescriptions, collecting money, and helping people try on and pick out glasses. I also got to shadow the doctor one day! He let me talk with the patients and by the end I knew what eye drops he would prescribe them from what they were complaining was wrong with their eyes. I even got to look for cataracts and I could recognize them in their eyes! It was awesome to work with patients and help them. Every day I learn so much!
The other two days this week we got to go to schools and examen all the students! It was awesome but tons of work! I gave eye acuity tests for a very long time, but I love working with kids so it was great! All the kids loved us too and would wave and run to the door whenever they saw us! The youngest kids were the cutest because they would just stop and stare at us! The kids around middle schools age would laugh at us and want to touch my hair and then laugh some more haha. I was in a classroom explaining what we would be doing with the eye exams and the kids would just laugh at me, gotta love middle schoolers, they’re the same all over the world!
Another thing I’ve been working on this week is only using my right hand to give people things. It’s custom and only socially acceptable to use the right hand which is very hard getting used too. I’m getting better though! I’m also getting better at my twee (pronounced tree). I can count and say the normal greetings!
Anyways it was another great week! I didn’t really have WiFi here this week and the power really likes to go out here in Kumasi. My battery operated fan is getting lots of use when I’m trying to sleep in 90 degree weather with the power out though ! Ohh and the water shutting out while I’m showering is normal too! I guess it’s normal but every time the power goes out it’s like a big deal to me because it kinda is at home, but it’s a daily thing here! One thing I want to express is that being here for 2 weeks has really opened my eyes to how blessed we are at home. I have always known how blessed I am but I find myself missing the smallest things I take for granite every day like laundry machines, power, WiFi, air conditioning, and a comfortable bed I can sleep in without a mosquito net. But if you think about how many huge blessings we have like personal cars, education, how nice our public schools are, the safety and quality of our food, our huge grocery stores packed with any thing we could want all over the place, and the safety of our communities, it’s amazing. We are so blessed, and sometimes I wonder why I was given the life I was in America, but I’m thankful every day for it and am very humbled by this experience. But the beautiful thing is without all those things Ghana is still an amazing country with the nicest and most humble people who still love their lives and appreciate all they have. Every day I grow to love the culture and the people more and more!