“The Today Show” did a feature on the well-drilling project in Ghana that’s sponsored by Aldersgate United Methodist Church in York Township. The story was part of “Today’s” Your Life Calling Today with Jane Pauley series.
Read YDR’s 2006 article on the well-drilling initiative at the jump.
Local missionaries aid people of Ghana
The team from Aldersgate United Methodist Church worked to provide medical care and clean water.
By Joseph Maldonado
For the Daily Record/Sunday News
November 14, 2006
Back in September, a team of missionaries from Aldersgate United Methodist Church in York Township and some professional well diggers from Pennsylvania and Maryland flew to Ghana, Africa, in an attempt to bring clean water and physical healing to its people.
Sunday night, the church held a celebration to report on the progress that was made.
Bob Davis, the chairman of the church’s mission, said more than 25 wells were dug in various villages since the team’s arrival. Some volunteers are still there working, as are the Ghana citizens they trained to operate and maintain the heavy equipment.
For two weeks, medical specialists cared for more than 400 people. Davis, who is a surgeon, performed more than 100 major surgeries.
“Many of the men suffered from major hernias,” said Davis. “Many of the women had thyroid tumors caused by a lack of iodine in their salt and food.”
Many of the patients were also treated for cleft jaws and a skin eating bacteria called Yaws. Davis and his team did their work at the Apam Catholic Hospital.
The village of Apam borders the Atlantic Ocean, as does the hospital where the medical missionaries worked. In some countries, a hospital on a beach might sound like paradise. That is until the sand is examined closely.
In the same way rain channels are built along American roads, above ground sewage channels run the lengths of Apam’s major streets. The sewage spills on the beach, where it remains until a storm carries the refuse out to sea, Davis said.
Not only is the ocean filthy, so are the inland waters the people from all villages use for drinking and bathing, he said.
The pictures the missionaries have from the trip show people drinking from the same pools that were used by cattle and other animals.
“People asked us before we left if the people would show any gratitude for what we were going to do,” Ackie Ackerson, a missionary, said during his portion of the presentation.
Then he held a digital recorder up to the microphone and played a message of thanks from the children and adults who came to visit him.
“They kept saying ‘Thank you’ over and over,” he said. “They kept saying how much they loved us.”
But for what was accomplished, far more still needs to be done, Davis said. He said he has performed more than 50 mission trips in his life. Of all the countries he’s been to, he said Ghana is the poorest.
When the Ghana project was first conceived at the start of this year, organizers had hoped to raise $100,000 for the project. To date, nearly $250,000 has been raised, and, because of that, Davis said, four more trips are scheduled for next year.
In addition to drilling more wells and caring for more of the sick, the church also hopes to fully supply a school and offer educational lessons to the children.
“We want to build a library and fill it with books,” he said.
The church’s fourth mission is to do some much needed repairs and construction on the existing hospital, Davis said.
“We have trips scheduled for January, March, June and September,” he said. “Anyone who believes they can help should give us a call.”