Category: Ghana, 2012

Another Day in the Field; Meetings and Midwives

Whew, having recreated the deleted day, I can move on.

Breakfast at the Inn. Susie said she’d awakened thinking how lucky we were to be in a country at peace. However real the issues might be, people were not getting up every day afraid that they’d be shot, as was true in many places.

We drove to meet with municipal officials in the Ahafo Anno South Municipal Assembly to explore possibilities for working together. They were extremely friendly and open to the idea. The most significant thing to come out of the meeting was that they gave us a copy of the 200-plus page report assessing their work in the past and containing plans and recommendations going forward. The Kipharts had not had a meeting like this with government officials in the past and the discussion was again ably managed by Sola.

Another car problem, this one not serious. Joseph drove our van too close to an oncoming vehicle, and our side view mirror was sheared off. After trying unsuccessfully to repair it, Joseph put the mirror into the van, to be affixed again at a later date.

We next drove to Abasua in the south of the Ashanti region. The chief there is one of the Kipharts’ favorites, as he seems to exercise real leadership and move things forward. For example, unlike other villages, he has all of his acreage being farmed. We sat with the chief and elders in the shaded courtyard of his house, then walked by the river on which the village sits and around the village grounds. We passed a very modest and rather charming Catholic church. Religion is almost everywhere you look in Ghana.


As we drive around, we are constantly reminded of the enormous difference between the Olopades appreciation of the situation and ours, not because they tell us that directly, but because we listen to their observations. Having grown up in rural villages in Nigeria, they understand what is going on and why in ways that we simply cannot. They have lived it. So, it is invaluable to have them along as guides and interpreters. Though the areas we travel in appear to us to be extremely poor, Sola looks out the window and says, “I see money everywhere.” He is looking at the expanse of land, the many crops, some cement buildings and electricity in most places. To him, these signify wealth.

We moved on to Bonkwaso, another village the Kipharts had supported over the years. The chief had been at the morning meeting and greeted me warmly.


Last year he’d given me a very nice walking stick and announced that we were brother nanas (chiefs). As we were gathering for a ceremony, and had done the ritual handshaking, we saw Sandra, an eight year old girl who we’d seen two years ago, shortly after she broke her arm.


The Kipharts had provided money for her to be taken to a hospital and treated, but instead, she was treated with local remedies and infections had developed and festered. Last year the Kipharts had again tried to arrange for treatment, but she looked to be in pretty bad shape, the poor little girl having undergone two years of mistreatments and pain. My-brother-the-chief had a number of requests for items that he wanted help with, but Dick told him that he was not getting another penny until Sandra was cared for. Dr. Annie says that if Sandra is brought to her in Kumasi, she will see that she is treated. I think the chief got the message, but we’ll see next year whether this terribly sad story is remedied. Just as we were leaving a rather young man who had returned to work too quickly after a hernia repair collapsed and had to be rushed into a truck to be taken to the hospital.

We drove on to see Vivian the midwife at her clinic. Two years ago the clinic had been run by a saintly midwife named Anna who had delivered more than 2000 babies, and never lost a mother. We and the Kipharts were shocked when we got word six months later that Anna had died. When we visited last year, we were very pleased to see that Vivian (who the Kipharts had actually met several years earlier) had taken over. Carol and I had made a contribution to the clinic which Vivian was quite grateful for. A special treat that Anna’s two daughters were at the clinic, so we got to meet them. One looks exactly like Anna, and was the one who called Vivian when Anna died to ask if she could come to take over.

I just realized that I haven’t said anything about the beautiful children. We haven’t seen as many of them as in past years, because school is not in session, but we still have seen a bundle. Here are just a few.




We had dinner back at the Inn, joined by Dr. Annie and Dr. Addae, to whom we bade farewell after dinner. We then spent another half hour or more debriefing the day and talking about plans for the future, including ways to provide the over-worked Dr. Annie more administrative help.

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