Chaperoned on the hot, sweaty and crammed ‘tro tro’ by PISHAM students Noble and Wisdom, we eventually made it to Mafi Seva, passing village after village of mud and breezeblock dwellings. The inhabitants, busy washing clothes or pounding cassava as we passed, always stopped to wave, smile and offer a ‘Good morning!’ or an ‘Akwaaba’
Clinic was in progress when we arrived and after the warm welcome of a hug from Janet (a project midwife and excellent cook) we joined volunteer midwife/homeopath Glenis Paulette and Emperor Tsamenyi who were treating a year-old boy with febrile convulsions. Having been given a remedy, it was now ‘watch and wait’ time. Soon the locked jaw loosened and he was able to take a little water.
Founding member of the excellent water project, Emperor took me on a tour to Buffalo river and later the dam, where I was impressed by the great amount of work achieved in the last twenty years to bring clean water to as many villages as possible. Thirty three at last count, I believe.
A truly committed and experienced convert to homeopathy, what Emperor is inspired by is the Homeopathy Project’s ability to help poor and vulnerable people in society, Since the early days of homeopathy’s inclusion at the clinic, he has seen many villagers being treated and cured of chronic illnesses and looks forward to expansion: ‘Yes, homeopathy will surely grow and continue to grow because we started small and now it is all over Ghana.’
Each day brought some new and some returning patients from nearby villages, having traversed on foot beneath the canopy of forest greenery or having sped in on motorbikes through the red dust.
All ages, from babies to grandparents, came with their various ailments in the hope that the power of the homeopathic medicine that that they’d heard about from a neighbour or a local nurse would help to heal their illnesses too.
Translations were carried out for us volunteers by Emperor. Noble and Wisdom helped greatly as well and received live experience of cases and the opportunity to try out some interviewing techniques themselves as plenty of patients arrived from early morning till late in the evening.
An opportunity for a chat with Glenis, who extolled the virtues of the project, made me aware of the often life-saving work done by both the project midwives and Traditional Birth Attendants and those based in the villages. Glenis had recently helped resuscitate a baby born not breathing whose recovery was completed with appropriate remedies. Glenis mentioned how much the MWs and TBAs had taken to using particular remedies, able to see the great difference homeopathy could make to both mothers and children in safer births and healthier post-birth recovery. Glenis’s input has been a great boon to their training and development and her own too. Admittedly, she says ‘It can be a bit scary working in that situation with little back-up.’ But the use of quick-acting homeopathic remedies has helped with that.
Providing us with three excellent meals a day, Janet contributes to the illusion that she is just ‘the cook’. Not so. Her welcome is emphatic when she says, ‘You come from faraway to help us and I am happy to do something for you.’ Janet is also a midwife on the project and so looks after pregnant and birthing mothers too. She has taken part in the homeopathic training and enjoyed it, saying, ‘I see that the project will be great in the future and I want to learn more and help as well as cooking.’
In Kumasi, exciting new project initiatives are afoot and I was happy to be taken to meet their instigator Bonsu Boaten,(a qualified homeopath who presently heads the Kumasi Study Group) by Solomon – an Accident & Emergency nurse in the local hospital. Solomon is, like Bonsu and the other members, incredibly keen to know as much about homeopathy as possible in order to put it into practice with the patients he sees on a daily basis. The courses being offered there in the near future will help remedy this.
I gave a talk on the history of homeopathy in the UK to various members of the Ghana Homeopathic Society, who were surprised at the present UK/European state of affairs but glad to be made aware of the advantages in practising in Ghana at this time. More enthusiastic would-be students came the next day to hear an ‘Introduction to Homeopathy’ presentation, confirming both the demand and necessity for homeopathic medicine as a more affordable and safer alternative to conventional options.
Onto PISHAM in Accra and the already-established school where I was happy to re-engage with the students who had been at Mafi Seva and delighted to meet again with Julius – and, for the first time, with Grace Rhoomes.
Both are incredibly committed individuals who have, despite recent family concerns, been offered land by local chiefs to build a clinic to serve the community as well as being in the middle of expanding the school in new premises.
2nd year student Noble remarked that ‘It’s a very good course. Some of the finest training anyone can have.’ While Wisdom had this to say: ‘Julius and Grace work very hard dedicating and devoting themselves to us and taking extra time for us when we don’t understand.’
Each of the students offered good ideas to help enrol more students next year and all sang the praises of the importance of their time in Mafi Seva working with volunteer homeopaths.
Barbara’s Village was a welcome ‘rest and be thankful’ after my whirlwind tour around the project with hot fresh coffee and char-grilled lobster kebabs, all to the sound of white horses rushing to the shore and the feel of ribbons of silky sand between my toes.