Honored Status as Ghanaian Royalty Means M2H Can Go Farther Than Ever Before
On this year’s most recent trip to Ghana, Dr. Geelhoed had the honor of being inducted into the Essikado Royal Family. He was made a developmental chief, or nkosohene, in the Essikado Ebradze Abusua. The royal family, including Mission to Heal supporter Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah, King Nana Kobina Nkestia the 4th, and Queen Mother Nana Ekua Kudu, bestowed this honor in recognition of the work Dr. Geelhoed has done for the region and their hometown.
He is the very first non-Ghanaian to be so honored by this royal family, and the formal event has resulted in numerous advantages for Mission to Heal – allowing our medical missions in West Africa to make a greater impact than ever before.
“What a superb day of ceremony that extends back centuries,” remembers Dr. Geelhoed. The January 20, 2017, ceremony included the laying on of the special Kinte cloth robe as well as a pledge made by Dr. Geelhoed to come to the aid of his new royal kin should the need arise. The Madinkra script was read aloud and several ancient ceremonial items were displayed, as is custom.
When the ceremony was over, Dr. Geelhoed had been inaugurated as Nana Kojo Katabre or Nana Nksouabena (loosely meaning “Monday-Born Chief of Humanitarian Health”) and will now enjoy a special respected status in that region of Ghana.
Dr. Ayensu-Danquah said, “This award or conferring of status was to say thank you to Dr. G for the work he has done. Nana Kobina Katadre was my grand uncle, who was the head of the family. He died several years ago, and it is our tradition to confer on new family members the name of a deceased family member. So because Dr. G was born on Monday, his name was Nana Kojo Katabre.”
So what does this new royal inauguration mean for Mission to Heal? This royal status allows increased freedom and ease of travel within this area of Ghana, and demonstrates support of the local royal family for the work of Mission to Heal. It may open doors to continue medical missions in this area for the foreseeable future and provides a recognition for M2H that has helped spread the word about what we do. It also allows M2H greater access to local hospitals and health clinics.
Finally, Dr. Geelhoed had the opportunity to give a short speech to the people of Ghana in which he shared the central objectives of Mission to Heal.
“I spoke of the three goals of M2H,” said Dr. Geelhoed. “I told them we were not here to take over the care of all Ghanaians but to enhance the care that their caregivers are providing along with attempting to indigenize the skills we had been demonstrating in the last month and the last four visits.
“This inauguration is highly useful to get in and out of Ghana the supplies and exchange of information and skills that Mission to Heal hopes to be able to launch. I consider this a great honor to Mission to Heal.”