The trip was to be an overnight adventure. The bus station was busy and crowded with several buses waiting to load passengers for the 10 hour or so journey. Loud music was coming over the speakers of the bus as we began the journey and I had two questions going through my mind. (1) I wonder what Wa will be like? (It was great!) (2) I wonder when they will turn down the music? (NEVER!) :-)
We arrived in Wa and after a quick check in at our motel we started our busy day. Our first start was at a special clinic that my new friend Randy who lives in Wa had arranged. A special clinic had been set up to take advantage of the wisdom and expertise of Dr. Dordoye. While I mainly observed these visits many who attended displayed the typical signs of addiction and to each of them we would say "come back here tomorrow. We are going to have a meeting that can help you".
The meeting of course was a 12 step meeting and I was excited and surprised to discover that many of the people we invited returned for the meeting. Father Damien (a Catholic priest from France who is currently ministering in Wa), Dr. Dordoye and I met with this group and gave an introduction to AA meetings to them. We shared with them that this program has been around for a long time and that many people have stopped drinking as a result of the program. A mini meeting was held and some sharing occurred. It was a very positive time and as we closed the meeting they were reminded to come back again and that these meetings and this help was being offered to them FREE. It is a good work that is happening there. Father Damien has a lot of work ahead of him as he tries to introduce and grow recovery in Ghana but he is eager and willing to share what he has and I am sure he would welcome your prayers and support.
Another highlight for me was a panel interview that we took part in at the campus radio station. As we shared with the listeners that addiction is a disease and that recovery was possible the host asked one of us "what should be done with these people?" I smiled as Randy looked back at her and politely asked "what do you mean these people?". As she explained she was talking about those who drink too much or use drugs Randy calmly and kindly explained that "there are no "these people" and that alcoholics and drug addicts are just like you and me. He gently challenged the notion that they were crazy or demon possessed and repeated our message that while addiction is a disease recovery is possible and that all of our communities can be part of the solution.
We also had the opportunity to have educational sessions with nurses and medical students. Dr. Dordoye spoke on the biological nature of addiction and Father Damien and I shared about some basic 12 step principles.
f you are ever fortunate enough to hear the words "we're going to Wa", rest assured that you are going to a great place. It is a place that has some incredible people who are working hard to bring experience, strength and hope to their community.