Wake up. Pray. Go to the hospital. Pray. Finish the day. Worship. Start all over again. For the past two summers, this was my life in Agbozume, Ghana. Once school ended, I packed my bags, got several shots and prepared for the most spiritual trips of my life.
My trips to Ghana do not fit into the “religious mission trips” category. There was no denomination behind them at all. I traveled with 30 volunteers to work in a hospital my best friend’s father built in Agbozume, not far from the village in which he grew up. It is part of the International Health and Development Network, IHDN.
In America, it is not difficult for a person to find a hospital and go to it when they are in need. Ghana has a few hospitals but they are so spread out that people will walk miles to receive care. If people decide to come to the hospital, it is only after they have decided to take time out of their day from working to make money for their family and turn away from witch doctors who are still common.
For people in Ghana, taking time out of the day is one of the most difficult things to do. Providing for your family is the No. 1 goal for everyone, and not having the time to work in a day means not as much money, so many important things are neglected. But health care is a major aspect that is ignored. The people who come to be screened at the International Health and Development Network hospital have to put faith in us and believe we will do everything we can to help them.
I have not always been a spiritual person and have not been able to have much faith in others. The village of Agbozume put it all into perspective for me. Just as we were taking Ghana into our care, they did the same when a member of our team became very ill. It was hard to believe something would go so wrong in our team that one of us would need the care of another hospital in Ghana. As we were headed to the city from where we would depart, we rushed him to a hospital and they did everything to keep him stable. With the team and the villagers we came to love, I prayed harder than I ever had before. I began to reach out to whatever God was out there. In time, our fellow volunteer returned to the states.
While we sat and waited at the hospital, I looked around me. Even with the struggles and hardships that the villagers all around me have—much bigger than just one of our own getting sick—every day is a celebration. Before our days began in the hospital, the Ghana workers would have us sing and pray throughout the day, if something was going wrong, they would pray with me. At the end of the day, we would pray again. Even without someone being sick, there is still prayer. These were the moments that made me believe in something bigger than our work in Agbozume. These moments made me believe in something more than the life I lead.