You just never know what is going to happen when you take that first step and walk through a door that has been opened for you. When I walked through the doors of the GMH Gala for Ghana event on November 21, 2015, I had no idea that a mere 12 weeks later I would find myself being greeted at the airport in Accra, Ghana by Marko Andan, Projects Director for Ghana Medical Help. The mission, to completely rewire the Maternity ward at the Bongo Hospital, which is located in rural Northern Ghana.
This mission was not part of a hospital wish list, in that the new wiring would be a nice upgrade. Quite the opposite. This mission had some urgency to it, as electrical fires were happening monthly and the hospital had already recently lost their entire “Operating Theatre”.
Being an Electrical contractor, and a supporter of the great work being done by GMH, it really tugged at my heart strings and the decision to help was not a hard one.
From the very first conversations I had with Kelly Hadfield, CEO and Founder of GMH, and with Marko, it was very clear that the only approach to the work was to fully engage those people who work at the Hospital each and every day.
Therefore our first order of business, as soon as we arrived was to have a meeting with the Doctor, Nurses, Administrator and Hospital Electrician. We were able to confirm the electrical layout, and also devise a plan on how we were going to complete this work, while minimizing the impact to the patients as we had to work around their needs. The spirit of cooperation and partnership were established right away.
With only six full working days, we pushed through the 42C heat and 12 hour days to complete the work. A huge part of this success was largely due to the excellent work and cooperation of the local workers who worked along side us and put it in the long hours as well. It was hugely rewarding when we turned on the new power together as a team.
The question is often asked, what breaks the cycle of poverty or impoverishment between generations? Access to clean water and proper sanitation is a popular answer to the question. However I firmly believe that it is access to education and proper healthcare that breaks the cycle. I have been on many mission trips that focus on building schools and have seen the results of access to education. With that said, I was not prepared to see the immediate and profound effect that access to proper healthcare has on an entire population of people.
The work that GMH is engaged in, by supporting the healthcare system in Ghana is most significant. This cannot be stated any more clearly.
Through the equipment and training and education that is being provided and organized by GMH, one can firsthand witness a cycle breaking and a new direction being established.
Our journey home started at 3:30am, and as we passed the Bongo Hospital in the darkness of the early morning, and saw this bright, safe, warm glow of light coming from the Maternity Ward, we were a witness to a cycle breaking.
Just like that new light that casts a warm glow over everything in sight, that is how I see the work of GMH and the impact that it is having on the communities.