Ghana Blog: A New Definition of Hard Work

July 7th, 2017

Hey again everyone! Week three is officially underway and we have started our work in the hospitals. The community screenings we conducted last week provided us all with a truly amazing hands on experience, but I am really excited to start looking into different specialties and aspects of medicine and healthcare here in Ghana. This week we will be shadowing at Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital located in Accra. Within the hospital we have the opportunity to shadow different departments such as surgery, physical therapy, malnutrition, emergency care, x-ray, and pharmacy, to name a few. I am going to spend my week focusing on the malnutrition unit and nutritional rehabilitation center, physical therapy clinic, and the emergency room. This week is going to provide me and then rest of the group with experiences and opportunities we could have never dreamed of and I am incredibly excited to get the adventure underway. On top of the information and knowledge I am going to learn through this clinical work, these last few weeks have also taught me many other incredibly valuable lessons. One of the biggest lessons I have taken away from this week is the value of hard work.

            My parents have always ensured that my siblings and I know the importance of a strong work ethic. I am incredibly thankful I grew up being taught that nothing is given to you and if you want something bad enough it is going to take hard work and determination. This mentality pushed me to work hard in high school to get into a good college and continues to push me to work hard in college to prepare for a successful future. However, these past few weeks in Ghana have completely altered my definition of hard work.

            Before this month, I thought waking up at 7:30 to get to my 8am class was hard work. I thought taking fifteen credit hours, having a job, finding volunteer opportunities, and maintaining good relationships with those around me was hard work. I thought the pressures of deciding on my future and working on my resume to guarantee success was hard work. All the things that made me tired in a day or made a week seem long, felt to me like hard work. However, observing the people here in Ghana made me realize my “hard days work” is nothing.

For the last three mornings we have left for the hospital at six in the morning, and every town we drive through looks like they have been up for hours. Some women already have their stands set up on the side of the road and are preparing the goods they are going to sell that day, while others are carrying massive buckets of water or food on their heads that they are bringing back for their family. The men and woman in the towns and markets do not stop this hard work until the sun goes down, and even then they spend overtime cleaning up and preparing for the next day. No one walks around with a scowl on his or her face and I have yet to hear one person complain about these long laborious days. On top of the people selling goods in the markets, those with their “mobile shop” in a bucket on top of their head have astounded me. These people spend all day walking up and down the lines of traffic, carrying massive and heavy bins on top of their heads, and still manage to run after every car that passes. They value every cedi they earn and do not stop working until they have enough to support themselves or their family. The people I have seen and met here have taught me to be thankful for everything I have and to never stop pushing myself, even when things do get harder than I could ever imagine. These past few weeks have taught me so much about myself and the world around me, and I could not be more excited to continue to step out of my comfort zone, take in the experiences, and apply everything I am learning to my life back in the States.

            -Anna Murphy

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