Submitted by Jonathan Porter
After a long day at the airfield, we decided to quickly pass by and see Asamau's hand (see An infected hand in the Fulani Camp). What should have been a happy '60 second encouragement pass-by' turned into a 2 hour frustration zone and some very urgent first aid... again.
Asamau came running out from the scattered rubbish pile that adorned the front of their living accommodation, saying in 'almost Queen's English' "How are you?".... a quick hug to Matthew and then a more cautious approach to me. As I ran my hand roughly over her close cropped, bristly hair, she looked up from under my apparently oversized white hand with a little, dirty black face adorned with the most wonderful jewels of eyes. I smiled and asked to see her hand. It was immediately hidden. I knew something was up.
Bending down I could see more swelling than before on the finger, and less on the hand itself. I looked carefully in the dim moonlight and realised that a new infection was now established and enjoying creating further tissue damage in the little mites finger.
Matthew's fuses started to blow, sequentially and with increasing escalation of volume, agitation and readiness to do whatever it takes to make sure that this little girl, symbol of all the children of Ghana, got what she deserved as the child of a 'responsible adult'.
In the ensuing loudness, I insited that the father and daughter joined us in the car to the house. Not my favourite approach, but the only responsible one under the circumstances. We would need hot water, anti-septic cream, clean dressings and, above all, a clean environment in which to work on this child.
In the car Matthew's breathing was getting more agitated - and I could feel him ready to explode at the condition of this little girl, unbathed, unfed, lacking in even a small percentage of the care that he had poured out over the past two months on an almost daily basis. I urged him to drop us and go to fetch Alai, since Alai is a leader of the community and carries influence above that of a white man and his brother.
Patricia and Jane set about preparing the equipment and supplies needed, and I started getting torches, clean hands and ready to undertake the necessary care of the wounds. Then my telephone rang. It was a government official with a random question.... He asked 'What is it that motivates you?' - I told him to call back in one hour, since I was not ready to deal with a call at that time.
We worked on the hand, Alai came along, words of correction and encouragement exchanged, and we reluctantly sent Asamau back with her father on the understanding that we would re-dress the wound on Friday morning, and it had better be clean, as should the little girl.
Matthew took the two men and munchkin back to their community whilst we all tidied up at the farmhouse.
I was mulling over the 'What is it that motivates you?' comment. It had been clearly posed waiting for the response 'money', since that is the number one 'so called motivator' in the world. Those who have visited us know that 'money' is not a motivator, simply a tool that enables us to do what is needed, so money was not the key. I thought some more. Changing lives - yes that was part of it... I kept mulling...
Matthew came home and we sat and talked, with a little agitation in our tones at times, about the frustrations of trying to encourage families to take care of their children. I shared with Matthew my 'Motivate' phone call.
Three sentances later we both agreed:-
It's the future of the children that motivates us.
The children cannot know what is good or right, the parents often have no clue to pass it on to them. The adults are unlikely to change as far as is needed - but the children have the potential to.
So, it is back to 'headlamps' creams, tape, boiled water, saline solutions and providing the basic care that needs to be learned...
But there is one thing that we know, and that is 'If we had been able to build the clinic, by now this would have been solved'. IF we had the clinic we could have 'admitted' Asamau and kept her in a clean, well fed environment for the 10 days she needed in February. Again, right now, if we had the clinic building we could keep her 'in' for three days and get her on the right track. However, the motivation of the children is not conducive to 'making money'.
If I leave here and take up a consultancy post somewhere in the world, I can earn plenty of money. If there was somebody else ready and willing to do what we do here, I would be happy to help to fund them - BUT I gave up that opportunity, willingly. Now, we need you to be motivated to help us to find the funding we need to establish the clinic building and to get that 4 seat air-ambulance flying and on floats. Help us to get the support we need for the sake of Asamau and all the other 'invisible children' that are out there.
'What is it that motivates you?'