Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jordan's Trip Journal: In Asikuma

March 15th, 2013

Alright so I'm lying in bed, it’s Friday night, well Saturday night a little after 12:30am. Wow it's been a crazy day….

So me and my roommate, Alex, woke up a little after 11am today - 3 hours after the predetermined leaving time. Yeah I know, mom wouldn't be proud about that one. But it was my first real sleep in 4 days. I had slept maybe 3 hours in those first 4 days. Yeah. I’m sure the people I sat next to on those last couple flights probably thought I was out of my mind. But anyways, woke up, didn't really have to get dressed because, well, I've been wearing the same clothes for 5 days now. But it does make me feel a little better that the kids are too. But I feel a lot worse about that too. Like I met two kids yesterday, Ignatus and Ramon, and they had the same stuff on today. I bought a soccer ball for their team while we were walking today, 7 cedis, roughly $3. They're my two little guys, plus one I'll talk about that I met later in the day. They love holding your hand. When we got here yesterday and first walked around the village there were probably 20 kids that walked and followed us around. I was just walking around - still in shock that I was in Africa and trying to take things in - when I felt something on my hand. At first I thought somebody was trying to get into my pocket. 100 percent wrong assumption. It was them wanting to touch and hold my hand as we walked. Just imagine a 6 foot white dude holding hands with these 3 foot Ghanaian kids. Probably one of the best feelings ever.
Alright where was I? Oh yeah, so we had just woken up 3 hours behind schedule and half asleep walk outside. Alex and I kinda talk half asleep on where to go because everyone is gone. So me being the adventurer, I take the lead and head in the general direction that I had seen the school. I knew one of the things on the agenda for today was to go to the schools and the medical clinic. So here we are, 2 skinny white dudes walking on the side of the road, in a village, in Ghana, in Africa. So we walk about a half mile before a girl in a school uniform stops us and asks if we're with Jake. Then we had to ask her if she could actually help us find him. So she took us to Godwin International School, which is the one that is sponsored by Kingdom. So we talked with what I think was the principal for a little while and they actually bring out chairs, 10 times nicer than what the kids are sitting in, so that we can sit in the shade. We had this discussion at dinner with Leah and Dustin about how they treat us like royalty, like the chair thing, and they won't let the street children be in there when we eat, and just a lot of little things like that. It actually makes you feel good and awful at the same time. Who doesn't wanna be treated like a king? But at the same time, who wants to sit there and eat a plate of food while 30 kids that haven't eaten all day watch you eat a full plate of food for your second meal of the day? That's what makes you feel bad, like not sick bad but like guilty bad. It's a terrible feeling. But that's what it takes to truly understand.

Back to the events of the day. So we talked to the kids and teachers and I even ended up playing a sort of soccer/volleyball game with some of the kids while Alex did a one-two-three-Ghana! cheer over by the tree. So finally somebody calls the principal and tells us to go back to the hotel to meet the group. Turns out we were at the only school they didn't visit today. Oh well, us two had a great time and learned a lot from one of the teachers. The same girl brought us back to the group that was out in the little cabana in front of the hotel, on the way asking if Jake was the president of the United States (which we did see the Ghana president drive past after lunch). So for lunch we had some kind of pizza thing that I really have no idea what was on it. Some kind of meat and some sort of vegetables. Yes, I ate vegetables. I ate that thing so fast and didn't care how it tasted or what was on it I was so hungry. So we eat and explain to the other members of the group what happened, where we've been, and what we've been up to. So after we ate we were sitting and talking when a taxi pulls up. Jake quietly says something to us and walks out there. Out of the back seat comes the nurse, then I look in and it's a lady with a baby. But the baby…Wow…

Makafui, 7 months old - baby in Asikuma suffering with hydrocephalus in addition to Rubyato posted about earlier.

From what I remember it's called hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. Basically like a huge tumor of water that grows bigger and bigger. This little baby was so bad that I don't think she could blink. And that could all be solved with one surgery and she would pretty much be just fine. That's another one of the saddest things. You see a kid or a baby with something that could easily be solved in America. Like not even thought of. And these kids lose their lives from it. But I'll go on. So after talking with the mom, the nurse, us, and Dustin (who it turns out, had an uncle with the same thing and after surgery was able to lead a normal life), Jake gives the nurse 3000 cedis (so around $1600) and another 40 cedis to the cab driver to take them to the hospital when it’s time for the surgery. Wow. Right there, the events that had just taken place just saved someone's life. That was another one of the best feelings ever.

After that we got donations for certain families from the people that had gotten their luggage, which at this point I am still without. God bless Tim and Amber for giving me the clothes I have on now. Like really, after my bucket shower, fresh, clean clothes I felt like the best thing ever. After passing out donations we came back by the hotel to grab some for another family. So I'm sitting there on the side of the road sweating twice as much water as I've drank and tired of naming NBA players with JJ, when a little boy sits down next to me and just smiles. I smile back and ask his name and go to shake his hand and that's when I noticed it. His arm, left one, was fused together and was smaller and twisted and basically useless. After that he tells me about his dad, killed. I ask Jake to take a look and he says there's nowhere in Ghana that could fix something like that. I go back to the kid to say something to him. How do you tell a 5 year old with a useless arm that lives on half a meal a day with one parent and a slain father and has one set of clothes that there isn't anything you can do for him? It's rough. To look into the eyes of this little boy and tell him that I was sorry and that I didn't know what to do, that was probably the closest I've been to tears in a long time. I didn't know what else to say. I felt helpless in this place where they treated me like royalty. You try to see his side and it's just impossible to put yourself in his sandals and see it through his eyes on how he lives each day.

After that we delivered some more donations to some pretty cute kids. 

Walking back after that, Ramon kind of tugs at my hand so I bend way over and he says something about a ball. So I ask again what he's saying. He wants to know if I'll get a ball so his soccer team has one. There, hanging in a little net, at a little shack, on the side of the road is a bright, red soccer ball.
I hand Ramon and his friends 5 cedis and they run over and come back saying the lady wants 7 cedis. So I go over, give her 20 and get my 13 back and it was like Christmas morning with the look on these kids’ faces. They immediately take the air out. Which even after asking why many times, I still dunno why. But they took it out and then blew it all the way back up by mouth when we got back to the hotel! That's impressive! So we hungout and played some soccer-keep-away game for awhile and threw an American football around a little bit.
Then dinner came and I was one of the last ones into the little cabana that we eat in. There were probably 10 kids grabbing me every which way trying to get me to take them in with me to eat because the security guy with a big stick would hit them if they went in otherwise. I eventually had to go in by myself. Fish, chicken, and rice and noodles with some spicy salsa is the menu for tonight. Same as last but it's good and filling and just fine with me. So I eat what is on my plate and have my big box of juice. Then you look outside and here's these kids peeking around that haven't eaten all day. That's when I go up again, get as much food as will fit on the plate, but this one won’t make it back to the table. As soon as the security guy is looking the other way Bailey makes eye contact with me and I know I'm good to go. I slip out the back entrance to the cabana and crouch down and signal over to the kids. I've never seen so much food gone so quickly. Food that would've taken me 45 minutes to eat was gone in 15 seconds all amongst 20ish kids. That's when that good feeling comes back. Yeah it's amazing. I go back to the table and talk with Bailey and Leah and Dustin some more. Once everybody's pretty much done Bailey grabs some of Justice's meat and more little scraps and what not. Once again I wait for the look from Bailey and slip out the side. The kids have been sent outside the gate by the security so I go over to the side fence, about chest height on me. The kids see me and come running once again. This fence will not stop them. This fence with poles in the ground is now at 45 degrees facing towards the cabana where they've all pushed it in. I hear the security guy shout something and see his flashlight and back to the cabana I quickly and quietly go. This sequence happens one or two more times. Finally once everyone is done and the food is gone they let the kids in. Tate is outside reading a children's bible to 10-15 kids while one of the older ones translates it to the native language that is called Ewe, pronounced like ewwwy.

Inside I'm talking to Bailey and Justice and some kids, and then Amber mentions something about a children's Bible story book. She then brings it out to me and while I'm flipping through the pages a little boy tugs on my plain white, dirt stained, sweaty tshirt. He wants me to read it to him. So we sit down against the side ledge of the cabana and I start reading the Bible stories. Daniel and the lion’s den, Jonah and the giant fish, and the birth of Jesus. Great book, especially for kids. I finished reading because the kids needed to go home soon because it was late and mosquitos and what not. Which at this point I have still not taken my malaria meds for the week. So hopefully I'm still here for you to read this. But one of the boys leans in and whispers something that I have him repeat. He hasn't eaten in two days. Wow. Another time when you don't know what to do or say. Luckily I found a bag of little crackers from the plane in my pocket that I'd taken out of my bag. Like a thanksgiving feast to this kid. Bailey bought them bags of water (yes, bags) and when she gave back the cedi I tried to give her for them I hand it to Iggy and just tell him to keep it safe. The kids head home for the night. Not long after we sit and talk and a few play cards while I make pretend NCAA brackets with JJ. Hah, so that's my day.

Alex is asleep now, it's 2:09AM Saturday morning. I called home earlier tonight. I miss everybody back home. But God has me here for a reason. And when you can make a difference in someone's life it is amazing. That's the main reason I wanted to come on this trip and it is absolutely incredible. I'm gonna try and be on time tomorrow morning so it's bed time for me.


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