You’ve gotta believe in something…
My supervisor here asked me about a month ago why I chose global health and went on to ask me why I chose Ghana. The question was rather unexpected and left me momentarily without a response. However, after a few minutes of reflection I began to try and answer the first question.
In all of my personal statements, I always write about how I saw a [likely] schizophrenic patient walking around naked and disheveled through a market street. I had no idea that 5 minute experience would shape my future passions. Growing up I lived a life of privilege and comfort compared to the populations I’m working with now…I always knew that I wanted to work with people…I was just unsure of the avenue in which I would reach them.
Traveling internationally with school groups and family certainly sparked an interest in rich cultures..though, globetrotting through Europe is a far cry from the village life I seem to be drawn to now. So when my supervisor asked me why global health, I could only respond by simply saying that I believed in the potential of the field, the communities, and the work that was being done. I told her there was a clear health disparity worldwide, one in which too many people ignored. I felt that given my resources I was simply someone who chose not to ignore it.
Chuckling, likely at my earnest over-eager passion, she then asked me why I chose Ghana. This question, though a bit more commonly asked, is one that I still don’t know how to answer. Sure, my family is Ghanaian…but my research interest does end there. I began my MSc program intent on coming to Ghana. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about and help “my people.” Interestingly enough, since having arrived…many Ghanaians have made it very clear that I am American first…and then Ghanaian. My culture is so incredibly multifaceted that I cannot even begin to try and understand all of the idioms, history, anecdotes, parables and proverbs, or other cultural practices. Though I am thankful for the opportunity to learn more about my culture I chose Ghana for more reasons than culture. Ghana has been a leader in Africa since it’s reign under the Ashanti Kingdom and eons of years later, it serves as a role model within the continent economically, politically, and socially. The same way that I believe in Global Health, I believe in Ghana. There is so much potential in this great land…so many brilliant minds, so many resoures, and so much hope. Ghana has momentum and I can’t help but feel that it is on the brink of greatness. Maybe it’s blind patriotism…maybe familial pride…I’m not sure…but I do know that I’m willing to stick it out, see, and more importantly, work towards a better tomorrow for Ghana.
I’m officially half way through my study. I was absolutely shocked to see the amount of women who were willing to volunteer 30 minutes of their time to answer my questions though they weren’t receiving any immediate benefit or compensation. At some sites we had to turn women away. I knew that they committed to helping because they believed in what we were doing, they believed in research, and they believed that it had the potential to bring a better tomorrow for the communities. This past month, I’ve felt like I was doing exactly what I was intended to do on this earth…and it’s an incredible feeling. As I prepare to go to the next district I am holding onto my renewed inspiration and remember that through it all…the struggle and frustration the momentum will continue to push us forward.
***the title for this post was taken from Frank Ocean’s “We All Try”***