Starting a summer in Ghana

June 09, 2017 at 6:00 AM

ghana-checking-in-patients.jpgSarah Lunn, a Northwestern College student from Jewell, Iowa, is assisted by Henry as she checks patients into St. Luke Clinic in Kasei, Ghana.

(Editor's note: Two students from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, are interning at St. Luke Hospital in Kasei, Ghana, this summer and will periodically be submitting blogs for this site. Sarah Lunn of Jewell, Iowa recently completed his junior year, majoring in biology. Peace Preston of Spencer, Iowa, is a sophomore biology-health professions and chemistry major.)  

Starting a summer in Ghana

By Sarah Lunn

Ghana has been full of new things. New people, new food, new sights, new language.

Through all of the newness, it is hard to not desire the comfort and stability of sameness found in the things we are familiar with.

As I have spent time in this beautiful place, however, God has shown me that He works through new things. The hospital and clinic here have devotions every morning. Their theme for the month of June is all about God doing a new thing. 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” - Isaiah 43:18-19.

You see, we cannot experience the new without letting go of the ways of before. If I came here expecting to get a warm shower and Iowa sweet corn on the cob, I would be hitting pretty far from the mark. In order for me to allow God to make me a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, I need to let go of my comfort of familiarity for the things I left at home. 

God cannot reveal new things to me until I have let go of what has passed. If I walk forward only expecting what I already know, then how can I continue to live each day under God’s grace, which allows me to experience Him in new ways each and every day? 

I hope you all search for the newness that God brings to your heart each morning you wake up. Thank Him for the unexpected, and for His unending grace. 

.......

By Peace Preston

Wow, we've been in Ghana for over a week. I feel like I've just said goodbye to my parents in Sioux Falls, SD, after convincing myself that everything would, in fact, be OK.

The truth is, I didn't have much to be nervous about. Sure, I was traveling to a different continent away from the culture that I am familiar with and transplanting myself into a completely new environment, but honestly I just hopped on a plane to meet my brothers and sisters.

I have loved experiencing the simplicity of the Ghanaian culture. In the clinic yesterday, the power shut off multiple times. In the states this would be cause for quite a ruckus, but all of the staff just kept calm and continued without their computers, or stopped what they were doing and had a conversation with the patient whose appointment had been interrupted. I was in awe.

I learned how to eat soup with my hands. I learned that the best desserts can be bought off the street from a basket on somebody's head. I learned that we all have hard days where positivity feels a million miles from us, but we can also all look up and see the same stars and the same sunsets.

I have come to wholeheartedly agree with the following stanza from Maya Angelou's poem "Human Family:"

   I note the obvious differences
   between each sort and type,
   but we are more alike, my friends,
   than we are unalike.  

On the clinical side of things, we will be working in the outpatient department for the next week. I have taken and recorded dozens of blood pressures, weights, temperatures, and I have also mispronounced many names. There is grace, of course.

The next four weeks, the three interns will rotate between the lab, pharmacy and dispensary, maternity and surgical ward. We will each spend a week in these wards.

I greet each day with a healthy dose of excitement, anticipation, and just a sane sprinkle of fear. That's about all I have for now. Please continue to keep my teammates, the patients, the staff at St. Luke's Hospital, and myself in your thoughts and prayers.

ghana-soccer-game.jpg
Northwestern College interns Peace Preston and Sarah Lunn take a rest after their first experience of a Ghana soccer match.

Next story:

Cue in the interns