Healing at H.O.P.E.

Children walking around the H.O.P.E. Center. Photo by Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

I am in the company of fascinating, wonderful people. Since I’ve been in Ghana, there has been no shortage of men, women, and children coming to welcome me into the community. One of the neatest people that I’ve had the privilege to spend time with is the H.O.P.E. Center’s head nurse, Margaret. She and I have had many conversations about the Center and its partnership with GlobeMed over the last week. Everything from balancing the Center’s operating budget to designing the next phase of the childhood nutrition program to taking steps toward the design of a future maternity ward- we’ve already begun to lay out a solid plan for next year.

Photo by Allyson Westling / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

It is neat to learn from Margaret. She is a passionate, dedicated nurse who not only runs the H.O.P.E. Center but also her own non-profit designed to empower women throughout the country. Besides her hectic work schedule, she still manages to reach out to those that need her most. For instance, there is a young, HIV-positive mother in town. When her HIV status was accidentally revealed, many in her village forcefully kicked her out of her home and have been hostile to her ever since (the HIV stigma is terrible around here, in case you didn’t catch that). Margaret immediately saw the potential in this young woman (and fell in love with her 5-month old baby girl- see photo) and took her under her wing. She and I have been to visit village chiefs, landlords, artisans, and church leaders so that Margaret can negotiate a future for this girl. Margaret’s persistence is inspiring and her integrity honorable. To be working in the company of such a woman is amazing!

I have also begun to conduct my first interviews for my research! I went into the village of Kdozbi yesterday to talk to six pregnant women and I had four interviews in Ando today. They have gone well so far and I am already getting a lot of good information that we can use to improve and expand the H.O.P.E. Center’s programming. My time here convinces me more and more that this is a place of incredible healing and “H.O.P.E.”

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