I don’t even know where to start! A million sights, a million sounds and a million experiences, some new and some happily relived.


I arrived on time and my whole body knew I was in Africa. My hair frizzed instantly, my skinned glowed and the humidity hit me smack in the face. Customs was a breeze. One marriage proposal and a nod of the head and my giant boxes of medical supplies were welcomed into Ghana.  A smiling driver packed my things into the back of the pick-up and in true Africa time fashion, I had to be fed before we could set off to Abor. The Reverend Sister told me all about how the hospital was undergoing many changes and that I would have my work cut out for me. That is what I like to hear, that I would be put to work! But the most pressing issue at hand? When is your my brother Alex  coming!


The drive to Abor was long… Not just because we stopped many times, for reasons I didn’t understand (mostly just to yell at people it seemed) or because of the thick Accra traffic, but because I was soooo excited to be there.  I arrived late at night so the hospital was quiet. Well as quiet as it ever would be. The sister sent me off to bed, or so she thought, but I quickly went exploring!  The maternity ward was exactly the same, complete with moaning woman awaiting a C-section, to which I was happily invited. My decline was met with a smile and a promise of many more babies to come.  But the most exciting part of the evening? Malik finally showing up and opening the boxes of medical supplies. We sat on the floor of the pharmacy like children at Christmas tearing through the packages. I would ask what everything was for and he would exclaim how many lives each package would save. He assured me that everything would be used and that he was grateful for every last pill. I can’t even describe how good that felt. It was the most amazing feeling in the world knowing that all my worrying and hustling had the perfect outcome.  I am still in shock about how much was packed into the boxes, every last inch was full of some magic pill. The funniest thing was, it was Lamisil, yes for athlete’s food that made Malik the happiest. Apparently, food disease is a chronic problem for which they do not have a treatment….go figure.


The next day I ran around the hospital saying hi to everyone, it was so nice to hear them screech when I walked in the room. I knew this visit would be different. I wasn’t a guest anymore, I had come back to do work and as lame as it sounds, I had come back to real friends.


The coolest thing about coming back to the same village is seeing how the kids have grown. Walking down the street, I recognize little ones who were here last year, some who are now walking. The little girl Sena, at the roadside market, is still terrified of me, but she is slowly getting better. Derek, the teacher’s son, is a big guy now and although he wasn’t feeling great yesterday showed me his new baby brother. His mom was heavily pregnant when I left last time so I was happy to see her new little boy. Millicent, has grown like crazy, looks like I will have to find a new dress fitting model for Mia!


As for the project…looks like everyone wants a library!!! I didn’t even ask, I mentioned I was working on it and one of the teacher’s said “the building a white man started”. You’re quite the legend in Abor Augie! They have told me all about your drumming and how much you loved Abor! The estimate for the roof is being done this week and the headmistress of the Primary has promised me the help of her students (uhh..child labour??) It is going well in that regard, everyone is very excited about it and think it can be completed by August, although we will see about that. It is just really nice to know that people know about it and the project is not as dusty as I believed it would be.  So Abor should have a community children’s library by September. We have to contact the organizations about the books and the headmistress talked about charging a token membership for maintenance.


In general, I am sleeping well, the weather is a lot cooler this year. The only thing is the mangoes dropping from the trees all night and often onto the metal roof (it is their equivalent to the cracking beams that we have in the winter in our roofs…) I am cooking for myself and am happy to say there are plenty of veggies in season so I won’t get fat (despite that every Ghanaian likes to tell me that I already am fat…yay!!) Everyone is amazed how white I am, like paper they say. They cannot get over it, conversation will just stop and they will pinch my skin and wonder how anyone can be this pale.  The hospital is busy busy. There is a new insurance scheme, which is good because the gov. is paying most of the care and medicines. But they staff is very overworked. The doc is practically alone because the extra doc who came to help is sick at home in bed. Last night he performed a 6 hour surgery on a hernia the size of a soccer ball, not a pretty sight. I watched for 30 minutes but soon got about 10 shades paler and decided it was best if I left… I will be braver next time hopefully.


I think that it is for now, there is so much more I could say but time is ticking and I am running out of energy.  




6 Responses to “Julietttt…you are baaackkk”

  1. on 23 May 2007 at 11:36 am Daveen Garland

    Oh Julia how wonderful it must be to be back among your friends in Abor I wish I had been there too. Ros is quite as excited as you were for her trip to Germany and we have been shopping and preparing for her trip. We shall be quite lonely with the 2 of you gone..Helen will be an only daughter again albeit briefly. I had a message from Alex today I will call him later also spoke to Amy T and will be going down to sort out the apartment later in the week..love you lots Mum

  2. on 23 May 2007 at 7:29 pm Virginie

    Julia!!!! Juste un petit mot pour te dire que je suis tes aventures avec énormément de plaisir! Je ne pense pas que je te l’ai déjà dit, mais je suis vraiment impressionée par ce que vous faites toi et Alex et je me trouve très chanseuse d’avoir des amis comme vous!! Je t’embrasse fort fort fort et je pense à toi!!


  3. on 24 May 2007 at 8:30 am Peter Garland

    Hey Julia

    Great to talk to you this morning. I am impressed that you were able to watch Liverpool on TV. I guess we all became Liverpool fans for one night. Marian came over to talk about her wedding and I told here to wear Red and she would “Never walk alone”. I think she was confused.
    Now I know you have the TV you must tell the good doctor about the most important match that takes place this Sunday. Yeovil (yes little Yeovil, 20 miles from Bridport) are going to the new Wembley stadium. They are playing one game, the winner will be playing in the equivilent of the second division next year against big teams such as Wolverhampton, Southampton, Ipswich etc. The town only has a population of around 20,000, but I think everybody is going to London for the day. Some of the boys are going up from Bridport, for a day out at Wembley. In 1952 Yeovil beat Manchester Utd in the early rounds of the FA Cup and have a reputation for giant killing, but this is their biggest game ever. Tell the folks its like Abor playing Chelsea.

    Finally on the subject I mentioned on our call, here is the cutting from the BBC Sports web site

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will travel to Ghana next week to raise awareness for sports charity Right to Play. (Daily Mail)

    So you see your old dad is still as football crazy as ever.

    Luv Yu

  4. on 24 May 2007 at 4:01 pm Alexandre


    It is with a mix of trepidation, happiness, and jealousy that I read your very first report from Abor. I wish I had been there to live every second of the amazing sentiment that returning to Abor and the Sacred Heart Hospital community seems to bring. Hum…2 weeks, 2 weeks and I will meet you there. I am so impressed for you seem to have everything under control, and I’m really happy that the project is rolling.

    I’ll see you very soon, keep up the good work and the text messaging at 4 am!

    Love, Alex

    PS. I owe you a shot of sodabi for that whole visa madness! Thanks again!

  5. on 24 May 2007 at 4:50 pm Allison

    *throws glitter*

    I have nothing intelligent/productive to say except that I’m glad you’re safe and happy and that it’s not too hot and you’re not drowning in palm oil (or whatever oil it was) anymore, and that you’re back with friends and that despite all the baggage drama, it’s all there and handy. Rock on, chica.

    ps, go Yeovil?!

  6. on 24 May 2007 at 6:11 pm avogel

    I just ordered “Black Books Galore” with 900 titles of good kids books so we can figure out how to fill the library. What was the book donation organization you were suggesting a while ago?

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