by Jeri Russell
Three weeks in Ghana flew by, working in a very busy clinic where patients started our day off by arriving at 7 a.m. The case load was different to the types of illnesses I have seen in Southern African clinics – malaria being prevalent in Ghana and not seen in the areas I had previously volunteered. There had been more sexually transmitted diseases in Southern Africa, deeper illnesses it seemed.
I put this down to life being like the Garden of Eden in Ghana! Healthy fresh foods, less stress, more water and clean air. I saw more wounds and infections in Ghana and the newer bane in Africa, high blood pressure, was of about the same prevalence.
Of course, in a physically hard-working society the same amount of arthritic complaints and back pain were noticed. The reverse of that, of course, is that with a physically active life we saw fit and healthy priests from the nearby Catholic Church – aged from 76-90 years! Each was healthy in mind and in body.
My biggest surprise was the gift I received from an elderly woman a few days after her treatment – she came to the clinic with a guinea fowl! The guinea fowl landed in the pot that very night, in a tasty stew made by Emperor’s gracious sisters.
Eli (a Hope Homeopathy Study Group student) was with us so often, and helped me so much e.g. driving, taking me to market, taking me to a local funeral and the funeral lunch afterward. Precious helped me with everything during my stay too – kind and gracious in every way. Emperor’s sisters prepared lovely meals each night. Sadly, I had some tummy troubles after I was WAAAY too greedy with watermelon on a hot day! I was more careful after that.
I loved teaching the HHSG students, a really bright and enthusiastic group who are excited about the topics at hand and are all very keen learners. I spent the most time with Precious, Rudolph and Eli. I was delighted to work alongside Precious (she is learning so much, so quickly!) and Emperor. We worked together very well and very efficiently – he and Precious were both translating at different times.
I seemed to know how Emperor would prescribe, and vice-versa. It was a very rich working experience. I loved hearing about his time in India, and learned so much from him.
Of course, the heart and soul of Mafi Kumase was and is Emperor. When I asked a long-ago volunteer about the Ghana Homeopathy Project, she wrote me back and said, ‘Ah, the amazing Emperor’. I think that is a perfect description of his work, his home, his family and his life ethos. The amazing Emperor: caring so much for his friends, family, community and Ghana.
At the end of my stay Emperor asked if I could help get donations to buy an ambulance for the clinic. Well, at first it was a daunting challenge, but once I found that the price was 1/20th of what I expected – I thought, ‘I will find a way’.
Rather than taking years asking friends for twenty dollars here and there, I realised that I had a ready-made solution. We had lived in South Africa a few years ago and had hoped to sell beautiful ostrich tote bags to the game reserves. I had numerous sample bags and decided to sell those. When people heard that it was for an ambulance in remote Ghana, friends and ‘friends-of-friends’ leapt aboard the ambulance train. In a few weeks, we had the funds, and the donators had stunning, forever tote bags whose cost went to a wonderful cause.
I learned so very much during this time, and enjoyed every minute of learning and teaching in the caring and supportive environment of Emperor’s home and clinic in Mafi Kumase. I am grateful for this rewarding experience working with a wonderful team at GHP.
To those thinking about volunteering, it is a wonderful way to learn, study, give and receive homeopathic knowledge, as well as seeing a successful, easy-to-manage business model. Newly graduated homeopaths? This could be just the ‘kick-start’ you need for your new practice – or as a boost to established practices. If THIS much can be achieved in remote Ghana, think how your own practice would flourish after such an experience.