Ghana 2017: Reflections from Junior Team Member Julia Parsons

by Julia Parsons


This past winter break I was given the privilege to go to Ghana alongside a group of people from Mission To Heal, an organization that travels around the world to educate local doctors and surgeons on the practice of surgery.

What I was exposed to helped me learn more than I could have ever possibly learned sitting in a classroom. One of my most memorable experiences was observing a hernia operation being done under no anesthesia. It was incredible to see what can be done with such few resources and limited experienced helpers.

I haven’t been very much exposed to what an operation would look like in the US, besides what I have seen on the television show Grey’s Anatomy, but I can’t imagine that they would allow a 15-year-old with a boot cover on her head as a hair net to get anywhere near an operating room.

Not only was I able to learn about the medical aspect of Ghana, but I was also exposed to their culture and what it’s like to be a minority in a foreign country. Walking through fishing villages and the streets of Accra alongside the many goats and chickens, my white, blonde self was given many looks. Children had come up to me expecting money or gifts, then walking away after seeing that I had nothing to offer. I thought it was beautiful going into the church and seeing all these happy people singing and praying.

Huge thanks to Dr. Geelhoed as well as Dr. Grace for doing all that they do, not only for the people of the countries that he goes to but those like me who he brings alongside with him and teaches. I’m so glad and thankful that I was given such a unique learning and growing experience and hope to do something like this again sometime soon!