Saturday morning saw the advent of our inaugural Mt. Olives Hospital Foundation and Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation Joint Board meeting. What an incredible morning. In the annals of time, it may prove to be one of the most transformative events in the future of neuroscience for the region. We are truly blessed that Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey, a visionary par excellence, a Champion with Distinction, is Chairman of the Mt. Olives Board. Samuel Ampem-Asare is on both boards and serves Mt. Olives as Executive Secretary. Dr. Gladstone Kessie, Mt. Olives Medical Director, is the Executive Member. Other board members include Faustina Kessie, Director of the Hospital.
Mt. Olives aspires to be a leader in the region and nation. To this end, they are hosting the first Heart Power! and NEURO – Stroke Prevention and Care seminars for the community at large, including the Brong Ahafo region. Many from neighboring hospitals and clinics are joining us over the next 1 – 2 weeks. Our board discussions encompassed the vision for neuro rehabilitation and the critical need for neuro stroke, neurology and neurosurgery care for the people of Ghana and beyond. As well, a Memorandum of Understanding is being established between our two non-profit foundations.
Concluding our first joint board meeting one-and-a-half hours after our two hour projected meeting time, our bags were packed in Dr. Gladstone Kessie’s SUV and away we headed into the hills and mountain country on our seven hour journey to Techiman, north of Kumasi. We passed the President’s summer castle and the region where the early missionaries put down roots. The weather is much milder in this area and in fact, snow has been reported falling during the rainy season. We passed many Presbyterian and Methodist churches and schools in literally every village on our way north. Seth had informed us that the original Basal missionaries had served in the area without a convert for 50 years. However, in spite of many lives lost from disease, they persevered and today, I saw the results of that commitment.
We passed many stands selling cooking oil, bowls, fruits, vegetables, animals (both dead and alive), mushrooms with long roots, particularly at toll booths and check points. Ghanaian sellers were observed running quickly whenever there was the slightest indication that a traveler may like to purchase their wares. Such entrepreneurial spirits! What is astonishing is how many villagers sell seemingly the identical items. Danny commented how these sellers need to come up with uniqueness to their presentations and products to encourage purchasers.
Traffic in Kumasi was often at a stand still. While creeping along, rain began and a lightening shower ensued. Traffic on the highways, whether two lanes or four, often boggled the mind. I’m convinced that African drivers must have talents that we in North America could only dream of, otherwise many more people would be dead. Watching drivers climbing a hill on the wrong side of the road when a vehicle can be coming over the crest, is breathtaking. Many vehicles were seen abandoned along the side of the road and in fact, a lone truck had been disabled and was parked in the middle of the highway, at the bottom of a hill. We learned from Gladstone that during the night, these abandoned vehicles can lead to many losses of life.
Thankfully, we approached Techiman, and were thrilled to arrive safe and sound to a lovely meal at the Kessie’s home.