20.03.2017 18:03

Ghanaian children are very grateful, Czech student says

Autor: Gillíková Kristýna | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Instead of spending her vacation lying on the beach, she decided to go on a medical mission trip to Ghana and help local people. A PhD student Barbora Vojáčková is living proof that everyone has a remarkable story to tell.

Barbora was born in Karlovy Vary and came to the South Moravian Region when she was 23 years old to study Arbory Culture at Mendel University in Brno. And it was there that her African adventure has started. “One time I heard some guy's presentation about a mission trip to Nepal. I was interested in this topic, because I became a Christian in Brno and I was thinking about going on a mission trip myself. However, I didn´t have any specific idea,“ the 31-years-old brunette says.

Then she discovered Operation Mobilisation – a Christian organisation focused on helping people in need and sharing gospel all around the world. Its aim is to connect practical help with evangelization. “On Operation Mobilisation website I found a list of planned mission trips. And after some consideration, I applied for the short-term trip to Nepal,“ she says. That is what Barbora would recommend to anyone interested in going abroad to help people in need. “The first step is always to contact a specialized organisation. You don´t even need to have a specific vision where to go or what you would like to do. They can help you to sort it out,“ she explains.

Change of plans

Sadly, due to the lack of participants Barbora´s Nepali trip was cancelled. However, she did not give her dream up. “We started thinking about an alternative programme. And gradually an idea was born to participate in a four-week long medical trip to Ghana,“ the young woman says, clarifying what brought her to western Africa.

Once the destination had been settled, it was time to begin with the actual preparations. “First of all, it is always necessary to gather enough money to cover all the medicaments, supplies for children or our own travel expenses. I was lucky that my church was willing to support me and contribute,“ Barbora says. At first she was worried she would not have enough financial means. “In the end, I collected more money than I actually needed. God provided for everything,“ she adds with gratitude.

Getting used to Ghanaian nature

In autumn 2015 the team finally landed in Ghana. “My first impression? I was excited, even though I came to Ghana worried, because I didn´t know how I would cope with difficult conditions. But it was not as hard as I had expected,“ she says. Moreover, Barbora fell in love with local people immediatelly. “Ghanaians are very open and kind, I really liked the overall atmosphere there,“ describes Barbora.

Barbora´s task was to entertain children while the doctors were examining people with various health issues. “Every time local children see Europeans, they gather, get very excited and it is impossible for the doctors to get the work done,“ she explains. Barbora was supposed to create a suitable programme for children, to prepare some games, to share the gospel and just to spend time with them. “They were always very grateful that someone cared about them,“ she adds.

The team had to overcome the language barrier, because in Ghana every region has its own dialect. “In every village we had to find a person who spoke English and was able to translate, it wasn´t always easy“ she says. However, communication was an important part of the mission work.

The cultural difference was huge and the Ghanaian temperament was something what Barbora had to get used to. “They are not so hurried or stressed as we often are. Ghanaians do not plan ahead, they deal with the situation when it actually comes. I really like this aspect about them, but it was hard for me to learn how to cooperate with people like this,“ she explains.

Nevertheless, it was not the toughest thing for Babora. It was actually much harder for her to see so many people in need.  “We brought an amount of money given to improve the living conditions of some local children. I was supposed to choose the ones who needed our help more than others. But I was not able to decide - in my eyes, everyone needed help,“ she says.

“We live in a luxury“

The African experience has changed her view on her everyday life. “I am a very nervous person, always stressed out, too much responsible… I realized some of these things are not that important and it should not be such a big deal for me. And we really live in a luxury here,“ Barbora says.

Barbora enjoyed her stay in Ghana so much, that she decided to participate in the same project the following year. So in autumn 2016 she spent a month in Africa again. Unfortunately, due to her work commitments she will not be able to go there this year, even though she says she would like to. “I really wish I had an opportunity to visit Ghana again, Africa has a place deep in my heart. So I pray for a wisdom to know where to go and what to do next,“ she explains smiling.

Klíčová slova: story, Ghana, Africa, mission trip


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