OI volunteer blogs about her 2014 journey to Ghana

May 1, 2014

Hello Medhat and the rest of my ISMS Ghana 2014 family,

Once again, thank you so much for the opportunity to travel, work, and learn from ISMS.

It was an awesome experience that will be with me forever. I am looking forward to more trips to come! I was going to sit down and write a whole dissertation on my thoughts and feelings about the trip. But I think it is better to give you snapshots of my Facebook blog that I wrote at the end of each day during the trip. My thought and feelings are unedited, raw emotions, without filter.

1 month before trip

My inspiration for going on a surgical mission

As a scrawny 8 year old girl in the refugee camp of Phanat Nikhom Thailand, I beat up a few boys. As retaliation, they ganged up on me one day, held me down and forced another young boy to kiss me. I was quite traumatized by this incident. Not so much because I was 8 years old and think boys have cooties. But because this little boy had a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate. Yup, that was my first kiss. I gave this poor boy so much grief.

It was not until I became a nurse practitioner and got involved with reconstructive surgery, did I understand that the little boy with the cleft lip and palate was the true victim of the above childhood prank. Children with uncorrected cleft lip &p alate often suffer speech delay, hearing problems, learning difficulties, feeding difficulties, frequent respiratory infections, in addition to being socially ostracized.

In an attempt to make up for my childhood misdeeds, I am joining International SurgicalMission Support (isms) on their surgical mission to Ghana this March. ISMS will be sending 4 surgical teams to provide reconstructive, general, and ob/gyn surgeries & medical care to the poorest of the poor in Ghana. The team members volunteer their time, money, and skills to make this mission a reality.

Night before the trip

Luggage? check! Passport? check! Wonder Woman outfit? check! All set to fly toGhana tonight and change the world one small deed at a time. Thank you to all my family, friends, and colleagues for your financial and spiritual support!

Day 1:
Layover in beautiful Amsterdam, Netherlands. Visited the Anne Frank Museum, it is one thing to read her diary, but to see and be in the safe house that she described really brings the experience to life.

Day 2:

Hot. Humid. Desperately poor. Took us 2 hrs to get out of airport. Taxi drivers fighting to get our business. But made it to the hotel in one piece. First shower & sleep in 40 hrs!Now getting ready for another 1 hr plane ride & 2 hr bus ride to our final destination atHoly Family hospital in Techiman, Ghana

Day 3:

Spent all day unpacking 4 crates of supplies. Trying to bring a 3rd world hospital up to par with our 1st world medical team. Now getting a break and making local friends

The view from my 4 star hotel room. At least I have a flushing toilet & running water. I feel a lot safer with the barbed wires :) A stark contrast compared to the view from my humble bedroom in Fremont, CA.

Read more! Myhan's trip, days 4-14