June 28th, 2017
I set out for this trip on a mission. I’ve taken all the pre-med requirements, completed the MCAT, and even applied to medical schools at this point. The question, however, always remained in the back of my brain: am I truly fit for this profession? After performing nutrition screenings this past week I can say I am at least closer to an answer. We have visited several different towns throughout Ghana, providing free clinics and nutrition counseling to populations with limited access to medical care. The girls and I not only learned how to take vitals and prick fingers (yikes!), but we were also able to see the transition from results to patient communication firsthand by working under Dr. Anderson.
While I knew the work we were doing was good for the community, I did not realize how vital it would be. Some of these patients did not know they were likely candidates for certain conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, prior to the screening. Though we could provide them with select resources, it was still their job to find a medical professional to help them determine and manage their conditions. This brings me closer to my answer, would I be able to fulfill that role? What initially drew me to the profession was the ability to serve my peers, and I figured what better way to serve than to promote individual health and wellbeing. But could I be the bearer of bad news? Could I make tough decisions and potentially fail along the way? A family member recently reminded me that my worth is not just based on my wins, but my losses too. Both success and failure come when I challenge myself to dream bigger and do better; there is no one without the other, but both are learning experiences that allow me to improve along the way. I joined this program to challenge myself, and hopefully I can continue to do so throughout my journey applying to medical school.
I am thankful that these screenings were positive experiences for both the community and myself. My favorite moment of the program thus far actually happened during a slow day in Suhum. Monday, June 26 was a national holiday in Ghana and all the schoolchildren were on break. Many decided to stop by the clinics and see what the foreigners were up to, disrupting our provision of services to those who needed it. At the time, I was greeting at the door but I knew we had to find a way to get these kids outside the clinic area. It turned out soccer (or football) was the way to go! I had a blast playing a game of girls vs. boys with more than 30 young children. When they got tired of running, they wanted to teach us some of their songs and dance moves as well. They then asked if we had any songs to share, so naturally we taught them how to “Call the Dawgs!” It was a fantastic moment I will never forget. I am hopeful that the remainder of our trip will be filled with even more enlightening and memorable moments.
Final Day at Ridge Hospital
10 surgeries, a live birth, and scrubbed into a C-section....what a time
How the last four week transformed me as a person and a student
Climbing mountains and surviving in the hospitals
A summary of my time spent in the Greater Accra Regional Hospital