Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Today was a rough start, only because I had been up for over 24 hours and couldn’t sleep last night. I was running on 4 hours of sleep. Our drivers picked us up and we were headed to an outreach clinic in Agogo. Before we officially headed out “on the road” a few errands had to be taken care of. Dennis, the ophthalmic nurse, had to visit his cousin at the electric company to settle a bill. After that, John, our driver had to put some pressure in the tires and get some gas. After that, Dennis had to stop to get breakfast, some donuts and porridge. So we were now set to go. Dennis had warned us that Ghanaians run on a different time, and that G.M.T. actually stood for Ghanaian Man Time. Trust me I would rather have a laid back situation then the opposite. So we were off. The drive was about 3 hours long, ½ of the road were paved and ½ were covered with a burnt orange (think Grand Canyon color) type of dirt dust. Our driver was doing a slalom drive trying to avoid the potholes on these roads. The scenery was beautiful. We passed many smaller villages, in which vendors sell everything on the street, including caskets! The one thing I have found so amazing is how the Ghanaian women can carry such heavy loads on their heads and to top it off they have the most amazing posture you have ever seen. The items stacked on their heads have ranged from trays stacked with fruit to big bins of water. As we were driving, we also saw men walking the roads with machetes; of course I hadn’t realized yet at this point how many banana and mango trees were around. They use these machetes to clear the way and when getting the fruit and also to cut down any other items needed. The weather was overcast so you could barely make out the hillside above, it rather looked like floating silhouettes of trees in the sky. For some reason, I was thinking of the movie “Gorillas in the mist” …I digress :) So we arrived in town and had about 40 patients waiting in the local church. John and Dennis introduced themselves and explained who we were and all about Unite for Sight. After that we introduced ourselves. So then the signing in procedure began. After everyone was signed in, they first took their visual acuity test, which I was ½ assigned to. The charts are quite different here. In the states, we have different letters in the alphabet on the chart; here it is just the letter E. But the letter E is printed in various positions: up, down, left, right. The different languages around Ghana make it easier to do it this way. After noting their sight, they were sent over to Dennis for an eye exam and then to John for dispensing of glasses or medicine. The glasses they receive are the ones we brought with us and they are charged 1 Cedi for them. After completing the visual test, we sat outside and played with the kids. I was talking to the kids, when I heard a huge bang behind me. The truck carrying a huge vat of water to the school had tipped over on its side as it was trying to make it up the hill. From what was heard the vat was not securely centered on the truck, so more weight was on the left side, causing it to tip. Luckily, both driver and passenger were fine. The village men all came around discussing what to do. They finally somehow hooked up some ropes to the truck and pulled it back upright. Guess we really should appreciate our tow trucks. After that incident, we starting packing up and had another 3 hours back. We picked up some other workers so had the car stuffed, I was pretty much squeezed next to the stick shift (since 2 of us were sitting in the passenger seat). Got back to the hotel late and ran out to get some jollof rice and chicken. Off to bed for tomorrow, heading for another long ride… More tomorrow.