Placement (Day 11)

Monday is here, yay! I am excited for placement today because I am able to go visit the Ho Municipal Hospital. The director of the social services department forgot to mention that I should get dropped off at the hospital and by the time I was aware of this it was too late. My driver was gone, we called Francis to come back and he said he was on the way.

A client came into the office for guidance because the mother of his child has taken the child to live with another man. When the child was first born, the mother was unsure of who her father’s child was. It was between two men, one of the men took responsibility and signed the documents stating that he is the biological father without obtaining a DNA test. Four years later, she decides she is done with the man and tells him the child is really not his so they are leaving and moving in with the other potential father. This new man is from Togo, which is another country within Africa. The woman had attempted to relocate the child before and the social workers informed her that she had to get permission from them and the husband to do so, do you think she listened? Now the police are going to have to arrest her in order to bring her to the Social Services Office, proceeding this they will have to attend court. The woman can dispute the biological father signing the documents but it is not guaranteed that she will win. It is more likely that the current father will obtain full custody of the child because he has already been taking care of the child for four years…. Forty minutes had passed and Francis was nowhere to be found. The Medical Social Worker suggested I ride his “motor bike” with him because we were wasting time. I am glad I wore a long dress today. He drove slow and carefully as promised! We made it.

Entering this hospital was like a blast from the past (Ghana is about twenty years, give or take, behind in time. They have roll up windows, even the sunroofs of their cars have a roll up handle. I have never seen anything like it. Some people even have phones that are similar to sidekicks). So, you can only imagine how the hospital is, people are suffering in the heat with no air condition and non-modernized medicine practices.

I visited the NICU, maternity ward, and female unit. The hospital has an area for lodging for the families who would like to sleep at the hospital. The maternity ward and female unit was basically a big room with beds and a storage compartment that separated each bed. There was no curtain or doors for privacy at all. There was one pre-mature baby in the NICU, the nurse stated that often babies stay there for three days and then they send them home with their mother. In some severe cases the infant can stay in the NICU for one month. In the maternity ward, there was a sixteen-year-old female that had been brought to the hospital due to abdominal bleeding after an illegal at home abortion. In Ghana, sixteen year olds can give consent to sex but they are not allowed to get pregnant until eighteen years of age. The medical social worker informed the teen that he has to have a meeting with her and her parents. He has to investigate the situation but typically the guy will be arrested and sentenced to a time in jail because it is against the law for minors to become pregnant. The girl will not receive any form of punishment.

Majority of the patients that we saw did not have insurance, Ho Municipal Hospital has a policy of patients obtaining insurance immediately in order to continue receiving services. The medical social worker assists them with signing up; the insurance becomes active immediately. If the patients refuse to get insurance or promptly pay cash for their medical bills then they will be discharged despite the condition they are in. The medical social worker said it’s nothing they can do for them if they do not pay their bills so they must get discharged.

We later went to check-in with a foster mother. This infant baby boy was rescued by police officers, the report stated the mother appeared to be mentally ill and homeless. She would linger around the station and this is where they observed her behavior. Every time the baby cried due to hunger she would feed him sweet toffee instead of breast milk (inadequate behavior). The police decided to rescue the baby after watching this for a few days. The age and name of the baby is unknown, therefore the nurses named him Christian and guessed his age to be around three months. The social worker will search for close relatives that can take the child into their home (Side note: I have always wondered how mothers wrapped their baby on their back, like do they need assistance or if they do it by themselves? I finally seen three women wrap the child in fabric, they did by themselves by bending over and sliding the baby onto their back).

A child must be kept in foster care for three years before they can be adopted. Foster parents do not receive any form of assistance or monetary gifts to help with raising the child. Before an adoption occurs, the social workers go out to the village and verify that they have a stable and clean home for the child to live in. in addition, they verify income, age, and medical history. They typically do not let older adults or the ill adopt children in order to avoid the child becoming an orphan. The child must be 21 years apart in age from the individuals who would want to adopt…

The medical social worker informed me of a case that occurred a week or so ago…the infant was born with a whole in his heart but the procedure costs 23,000 Cedi. Currently, there are no sponsorships for this child because the organizations have already given the funds to another child with a severe condition. The social worker sent them home until he can find more funds. Unfortunately, if the funding is depleted then the child will go on to live his life in hopes of no decrease in lifespan.

After an interesting day at placement I went back to home-based for lunch. Joe now asks me every day what I would like to eat because I am so sick and tired of rice and noodles! I literally was about to gag attempting to eat noodles, I get tired of food so easily! So, I’ve just been eating lots of veggies and chicken.

Proceeding lunch, I went to the Ho Museum. I love museums! I’ll discuss a few things that stood out to me…so there are chiefs in Ghana; it is like their local government. The chief never speaks directly to the people. Instead he has a linguistic staff that communicates his message; they often hold a staff with either lion, snail, turtle, etc. The lion representing strength and the snail and turtle representing slow but precise work. Dolls are not used in the American traditional sense, they have wooden carved dolls that are used for women who are having fertility issues. They must take care of the wooden dolls…sing to them, rock them, feed them, etc. the Gods will then bless them to bear a child once they can prove that they can be a fit parent. There was also carved heads that were used to place on graves. Some people believed that this ritual must take place in order for their loved ones’ soul to move on instead of reincarnating just to die again. They hope this ritual will allow the person to start over again and have an entire full new life once being reincarnated. There were thick wooden combs that were used on Kinky hair. Lastly, there was one particular stool that grasped my attention, it was a stool with an eagle trying to grasp a tortoise with its claws. The art piece representation meant that no matter what strength we may have, we all have our faults and weaknesses. Despite an eagle being able to prey on the powerful tiger/lion, it is no match for the hard-shell tortoise…

After we went to the cosmetic store, a boutique, and arts and craft store. There is an entire section (I am talking about more than five shelves) of bleaching cream…they call it white lotion. It comes in huge tubes and often people use it to bleach their entire body to become a lighter color (heartbreaking!) ….

I did not realize how long this post was…SORRY! Promise, this is the last thing…. remember Lucy was setting up an audition for me to meet these guys? Lol she really did it! One of them was waiting at the art store for us.

…why was there another lizard in the bathroom last night? I had to wake Emmanuel up, I know at this point he is tired of me!