When "I" Gives Way to "We"
by Ty Hardin
Ghana Day Five
Welcome to Bolgatanga! After breakfast we were off to meet with Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey and the rest of the officers and clergy at the Upper Presbytery. We toured and then we talked. I enjoyed his poster/slogan that said: “When ‘I’ gives way to ‘We,’ even the word Illness becomes Wellness. Let us work together.”
The next stop was the water production facility. Most folks have heard of water projects that put water systems in place to help a school or village. Here they package water in plastic bags for retail consumption to help sustain the presbytery. Our final stop here was back in the office complex for a moment that touched my heart and will be long remembered. I guess it’s because I sing in a choir. Our number was 13 strong as Dr. E handed out new hymnals that they had recently received and we all sang a hymn together.
Our next stop was the Presbyterian Regional Eye Clinic. The original clinic started in Garu. An annex was started here in Bolga (short for Bolgatanga) and now helps over 50,000 people a year. Assistance ranges from simple eye exams to cataract surgery. Unlike in the U.S., this is not an outpatient procedure. After surgery care may even include a couple of days’ rest at the facility due to sanitation or transportation concerns. It was pretty interesting to see an eye chart with a single symbol used repetitively. It looks like a capital E. It is rotated in various positions for people to look at during exams. Most folks can’t read English, and there are so many languages used in this region that using the symbol makes the most sense.
After dinner that night, we were hosted by the youth of the Northern Presbytery. They sang and danced for us. It was quite remarkable. Emmanuel then opened the floor for discussions by the youth. The format was very creative. There were a number of questions submitted and then randomly chosen for discussion by the youth in role play as if they were the members of parliament. They really seemed to enjoy that opportunity and took full advantage of the time to express their views.
Germantown Presbyterian Church