Around the World: Ghana!
Ghana has this massive place in our hearts. It brought us together and every time we visit we feel that connection with Ghana. If you haven’t read our story, we wrote about it a while back here.
Our entire trip around the world was actually planned around Ghana for Ghana Make A Difference’s Medical Mission. Ghana Make A Difference is an organization that shelters and protects vulnerable children in Ghana.
Not only was it cool to be there for the medical mission, but it was extra special bringing Addison. And to make it even better, my mom, my in-laws & my sister-in-law met us there. To share this huge part of our lives with some of the people we love most was so neat.
It was pretty out of this world to be driving down the road in a tro-tro, swerving in and out of traffic, singing along to the African drums being played in the front seat, all while holding my 11 month old daughter. It was just surreal to share this place with Addison. And I was pretty confident she would never go in a car seat again! haha
I honestly feel like I’ve mastered being uncomfortable in Ghana. I’ve been there enough to expect the heat. I know there’s a lot of bugs. There’s limited water. I don’t really love the food. I know the power going out at some point is inevitable. It doesn’t bother me too much - it's just part of the fun. :) BUT taking a baby is a whole different game you guys. The first night was SO hot. The power was out. There were these massive flying cricket things ALL OVER. I still don’t even want to know what they were. All I knew was that they didn't bite, so I held onto that. Haha Addison struggled the first night with the heat or jet lag or something and I broke down. I was like “What the crap were we thinking, bringing our 11 month old to Africa?! This was not a good idea.”
It took a few days to really get in the swing of things and for me to jump in and love being there. Addison honestly did so well - she is such a champ! She adapted as all of us did. With fans, pure-water bucket baths and plenty of fan ice (Ghana’s ice cream in a bag), she stayed cool. Her bucket baths were such a highlight every day!
We had a quick getaway to her happy place - the beach and the pool.
It was hilarious going through the markets with Addison. The Ghana markets are a busy place, but when you walk through with a white baby, it slows down pretty quick! Haha They LOVED Addison. They couldn’t get enough of her. When baby girls are born in Ghana, they literally get their ears pierced the second they are born. She doesn’t have her ears pierced, so people couldn’t believe she was a girl. Meet Addison, our baby boy.
Visiting Ghana and volunteering with Ghana Make A Difference guarantees cool experiences. I thought I would just share a few of our favorites from this trip.
First of all, we are believers in miracles. I just have to share this story because it's way too cool not to. When Matthew was a little boy his hand was caught in a maize grinder. A year ago, we were determined to find a hand doctor to help us help Matthew. I was talking with a teacher of mine at Utah State University who had done medical missions in Central America. I asked him if he'd been to Africa and if he'd want to go so that he could help my friend, Matthew. We talked for 15 minutes and in that 15 minutes he told me he would get a team of doctors together and for me to get him a list of 20 names of patients that needed surgery along with Matthew and we'd make it happen. From that point on, so many amazing people have jumped on board and teamed together to pull incredible things off. One year later, Matthew and SEVENTY others have received major surgeries (along with 300 dental patients and 300 eye patients). Getting to meet the patients that we had been working hard to help was incredible. Seeing them get the care that they have waited for SO long to get, was really moving. So many miracles.
One of my favorite experiences in the hospital was meeting Belinda. I was in the maternity ward and met this very pregnant Deaf woman. I noticed a nurse being pretty aggressive with her trying to communicate something. In Ghana, family isn't allowed in the room and it is not their culture to have their husbands around to be apart of the birth. She was doing this all alone, and had NO one she could communicate with. I signed with her for an hour until it was time for her C section. When the doctors were ready for her, she asked me to stay with her to interpret. I held her hand throughout the C section and interpreted for her the whole time. I watched the aggression and hostility subside and was able to be her voice and her advocate! I got to watch that beautiful baby join her mama earth side. I got to tell her the moment her baby was born and that we could hear her baby crying! And I got to tell her that despite the doctors telling her she was having a boy, she had a beautiful baby GIRL! We were meant to cross paths in that hospital.
Another one of our favorite experiences was meeting Jacob. He is a cobbler in his village. He can't walk. And when we met him, he didn't have a home. Through Ghana Make A Difference, Austin was able to be apart of giving him a wheelchair and was able to help build him a home. I loved listening to Austin talk about how he could personalize the home for Jacob and how he could make it wheelchair friendly. When the home was finished, Austin took me into the village to meet Jacob. Jacob's face lit up when he saw Austin and kept telling me how beautiful his home was.
Throughout this trip, we had the beautiful experience of watching Addison love the people. She seemed to break all barriers with people that our differences could potentially bring. I know that sounds silly, because she was only 11 months old. But there was a beautiful connection you guys. She had no reservations, she just loved so freely and unconditionally. It made me want to be like her and I think this is why Christ teaches us to be like little children. She is such a gift and she continually teaches us to love. And just a fun side note, this cute girl that Addison is playing with is my friend Akua's daughter. She named her Arianne! Addison and baby Arianne. haha
One of our favorite nights in Ghana was when Addi took her first steps! You know the quote “It takes a village to raise a child.” It was pretty funny because it literally did take a village to teach Addison to walk. EVERYONE was helping and laughing and cheering for her. It was just SO happy.
We love Ghana and what it does to our hearts every time. We are so blessed.