I’m currently a senior at The George Washington University. This past summer (2011), I spent a month volunteering with Cheerful Hearts Foundation, from mid July to mid August. From the moment I contacted Eric in January, 2011, he was enthusiastic about every aspect of my internship. He wanted to know exactly what I wanted to do in Ghana, where I wanted to live, what I wanted to do in my spare time, etcetera. He was so excited about my trip to Ghana, and he honestly made my month in Ghana one of the most amazing of my life.
My time in Ghana was mostly spent at the Kasoa Government Hospital in the Maternity Unit. For anyone interested in obstetrics, nursing or midwifery, this tends to be a very busy hospital with lots of action. The busiest time is during the night, so I ended up working three night shifts while I was there. As long as you show interest and the desire to learn, the midwives will teach you what they know. When I arrived for my first shift, I had no knowledge concerning delivery, but by the end of the night, I was delivering babies on my own. Nothing is more rewarding than having the mothers’ thank you with a smile for delivering their babies. I also became experienced in performing palpations, examinations, and counseling the women accordingly. One of the highlights of working with this hospital was being able to observe what it was lacking and actually do something about it – I was able to take my internship contribution money and donate to the hospital the supplies it needed most.
I also spent time at the St. Gregory Catholic Clinic at the UN Refugee Camp. I spent time in the maternity ward here, and accompanied the physicians on duty on their rounds. I also participated in maternal education sessions, which included hypertension counseling, good nutrition choices, and breastfeeding techniques. I enjoyed working at this hospital because the physicians and nurses were, for the most part, eager to learn and improve the quality of the care they were providing.
Eric and Bright kept us entertained on the weekends by taking us all over Ghana to visit crocodiles, castles, and fishing villages. Both were truly invested in keeping us happy and busy. My host family was also wonderful. Mark, Afua and the kids immediately welcomed me into their home and ensured that I was always comfortable. I really enjoyed coming home at night and talking with Afua and Mark about their days. I also loved going to Eric’s house after work, helping Angie with dinner in the kitchen, eating as a family, and then playing music with fellow interns and Eric on his keyboard and guitar. The people at Cheerful Hearts have become some of my dearest friends – the kind you keep for a lifetime. I definitely plan on visiting Ghana again in the near future, not only to work but also to visit my newfound family.
I recommend this internship to anyone who in interested in public health, medicine, education, or simply in endeavoring to make the world a better place. That is what Eric and Bright do – they try to find solutions to the problems they observe around them.