Faces of Northern Ghana

As the week continues, I can feel the emotional weight of the number of humans we have treated and come in contact with.  This is the result of witnessing numerous sick and crying children, a man sporting a Santa Claus hat with Santa boots that were missing a heel (and so many others without adequate basic essentials clothing items), and a common sight is people walking miles for food and clean water. In addition, our medical team has seen patients in remote villages who require very basic surgeries which they cannot afford, or needing antibiotics which they have not obtained.  In some cases individuals who lack care have minor injuries which become seriously infected and even terminal if left untreated.  Several of the villages we served this week displayed signs of almost every resident having worms due to poor hygiene or understanding about what exactly can give a person worms…  The list goes on and it begins to weigh on you.

Is ignorance truly bliss or is it merely ignorance?  The myriad of emotions cause me to wax between two worlds.  On the one side I contemplate selling all I have to meet the needs of one or two villages.  On the other end of the spectrum I wrestle with a deep yearning to return home to the comforts of America. What is the healthy balance?  What is our responsibility?  When I consider selling everything, I then consider the idea that I would be left with nothing and no longer be able to help meet certain needs.  When I sat around the table and listened to our doctors, they discussed treating every village for the worm epidemic that gave them stomach issues.  They speculated about the idea that although they had been treated, the worms would most likely return in short order if people continue living life in the same previous manner, not completely understanding the importance of hygiene.  The discussion was discouraging and it felt like what we have been doing was merely a drop in a 50 ton bucket.

In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus speaks of God separating a flock of sheep from a herd of goats. He likens that illustration to human behavior and compares the “goats”, to those who neglect the needs of those around them; while he compared the “sheep” to those who took action to help and yet the hardly seem aware of their impact. I wonder what it means to do enough. I don”t have the balance right nor the complete answer, but if you are looking for a way to get involved, consider a trip like this one or simply purpose in your heart to show the love of Jesus to those in your area by meeting tangible needs that they are unable to meet.  That could take the form of  showing up at their bedside, visiting a prison cell, listening to someone who is hurting…  I am not so sure we can ever do enough but does that answer let us off the hook? I am not trying to stir up feelings of guilt – I am merely recording my thoughts and feelings as I come to the conclusion of an emotional week.

On a side note, one true need that we encountered this week, was that of the daughter of Sulamana, the pastor to the two remote villages that we visited yesterday.  His daughter had an accident months ago, which left her left eye infected and without vision to this day. She traveled a hundred miles to have the eye treated in a hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.  However, she was turned away since she lacked the necessary funds for the procedure. We are presently inquiring as to the precise cost to help her get treated so that she might see clearly. Please email me if you are interested in being a part of her solution or joining us on a future trip: will@enduranceleadership.org.