Today we went to an outreach clinic in Togbloku, Ghana. It was about a 2 hour ride each way. We basically were on paved road for ½ the time and dust/dirt road for the other half, just like yesterday. Our driver had never been to the village, so it probably took a little while longer. John ended up asking for directions from various villages. When we finally arrived at the church, in which the outreach was set up, we saw many patients already waiting for us in the pews. We unpacked all the glasses, medicine, etc and after the introduction set up the stations. It was the same as yesterday, a visual acuity station, dispensing of eyeglasses/medicine and an examination by Dennis. I was assigned to the visual acuity test again. We definitely had more patients today than yesterday. Along with the village patients, the school children, with their bright yellow outfits, were also there to get their exam. After the orientation, patients first received the visual acuity test, then stood in line for the exam and then proceeded to the eyeglass/medication table. The visual test went fairly well, however at the exam line, the line tended to bottleneck. Dennis was the only one who could give the exams, so we felt bad we could not help. I was not there for the episode, but others told me about it. A villager, in a pink dress, became angry she had to wait so long and John had to calm her down. Trust me, she was the only one, everyone was so patiently waiting, don’t know if I could wait so long. In the end, it was about a 5-6 hour wait for an eye exam. All went really well, I even met a villager who told us his son lived in Maryland and was very excited to hear we were from America. Another gal Jessica, told us she has always wanted to visit the USA. Most people did not speak English; if they did it was words here and there. One of the villagers prepared lunch for us and brought it to the church, these meals are so good, but I love spicy food. The kids were another story, they loved cameras! Good for me. I would show them their picture after I took it and they would giggle and laugh. Then I would hear “Madame, Madame, and Madame” over and over, because they wanted me to take their picture. Very cute. Later on, they took me to the water pump where a vendor was sitting. I chatted a while with her and bought some Obama biscuits from her. I had to; a big picture of Obama was on the biscuit packaging.
Throughout the village there were a lot of goats, cows, pigs and chickens, roaming everywhere. So yesterday I mentioned how impressed I was with the Ghanaian posture, well today I saw just the opposite. We had a couple of patients who were walking with a stick and their posture was literally at a 90 degree angle. It looked so painful.
We finally winded down when it started getting dark, hopped in the car and headed back to Accra. On the way back, we had a detour to John, our drivers, home. He lives in Accra during the week and at home on the weekend; the outreach clinic was close to his home. So after him visiting his family, we headed towards Accra. We finally arrived at the hotel at 8pm. After we arrived we headed out for a drink. One of the volunteers was here last year, so took us to a place to eat. Unfortunately, the woman who was running it wasn’t expecting us. She invited us into her courtyard area and asked what we wanted to eat tomorrow, so she gave us our options and we will head there tomorrow. The menu sounded delicious: red red beans, plantains, chicken, rice and some spicy sauce. We ended up going to an outdoor “highway bar” and had a beer, then headed home. Tomorrow, I will be working in Crystal Clinic and will be observing cataract surgeries. In order for Crystal Clinic to get funded for the surgeries, Unite for Sight requires us to observe and signoff on the surgeries. More tomorrow.......