With your help the people of West Africa have "a chance, not only to change their own lives and their own destinies, but to change the future of an entire generation".

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Yapei Queen

Submitted by Michaela Sholes

Who loves taking a cruise? MoMMers, that’s who! Especially when it’s the kind of eye-opening and moving experience as Ben and I had this last week aboard the VLTC’s ferry, the Yapei Queen! Readers saw pictures last week of the ferry as we prepared for our trip, but in true Ghana fashion, there is always more to the adventure! Some highlights from our trip include: our cozy cabin and friendly fellow passengers who were kind enough to share their insights and experiences with us during our interviews, the small communities whose commerce often depends on the ferry and access it provides to outside resources, the beaches in said communities which were often covered in the shells of potentially bilharzia-carrying snails, and last but not least, breathtaking Harmattan sunsets.

We so appreciate the VLTC for providing us with a cabin for the duration of our trip! The staff aboard the ferry was very kind and we are indebted to them and others for helping us navigate our way around the facilities aboard! See our cabin and some friendly faces who have become very dear to us during this experience!

One of the most interesting aspects of our trip was the opportunity to sit down with passengers at various points during the trip and learn a bit more about who they are and their perspectives regarding health issues, access, challenges and all sorts of things. I will be sharing the results from our baseline interviews in the next blog or two, but just to give you an idea of some of the things we learned… Of the 21 individuals kind enough to speak with us, only 2 (less than 10%) were aware that there was a disease called Bilharzia and what its symptoms are. Another 40% knew that there was a disease from the water that could cause blood in the stool/urine, but NO ONE was exactly sure how to treat it nor avoid it. Bear in mind, that those who travel are typically more informed than your average individual living in an isolated community.

As a result of this trip, I find that I am even more driven to find ways to get this information to these communities who need it most. As you can see, the lake is such an integral part to these communities through providing transportation, water (for drinking, cooking, and bathing), food and many other necessities. We have an immense job ahead of us. It won’t be easy, but it must be done…and with your help, it can be done…

They are counting on us, and we together will change their lives, through Encouragement Training for Community Health Empowerment…

The sunsets were amazing. Feel frre to use this as your computers background. Let it remind you that we are in Ghana, making adifference in the lives of countless villagers every day.

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