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The Village of Sahani during COVID-19

(The above image is a gathering at the Sahani Village of Nanton before the pandemic. Now twenty people or fewer are allowed to gather.)

Separated by a Pandemic – United in our Response

It’s been nearly five months since I last saw my partner and in that time, the world has transformed before our eyes.

In March, we spoke on the phone whether he (my husband, Chief Suale) should fly back to the States. I worried about his health and well-being given most people in Ghana live in communal ways.

 

 

While I would’ve liked to have my husband with me, in my heart I knew he needed to stay in Ghana so he may assist the people during this challenging time.

The Government’s Response

Ghana’s government responded swiftly to the coronavirus; closing all borders by land, sea, and air on March 23rd. All travelers arriving into Ghana (before the lockdown and closure of airports) were tested and quarantined for fourteen days. Certain roads throughout Ghana were closed to help prevent the spreading of the virus.

  • In a country with over 30 million people, there’s been 5,735 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths.*

Map of Ghana, West Africa

COVID-19 in Tamale, Ghana

In the Northern region, there are thirty-one cases and ten confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tamale.

The infected individuals in Tamale are from Guinea and Burkina Faso and were in the city for business after traveling through Burkina Faso and Togo. Officials quarantined the individuals at their hotel while also testing the hotel staff.

At one point, a Guinean woman (who was part of the group quarantined) escape from the hotel in the early morning hours, but she was found and detained a few days later in Accra.

Restrictions of Large Gatherings

President Nana Akufo-Addo has received praise for his swift response to the health crisis as well as his poignant messages to the people.

The president put in place strict, social distancing measures including no gatherings at mosques, churches, or city markets and large weddings and funerals cannot be performed at this time. Schools are closed until further notice.

Communal living and celebration is an integral part of the Dagomba tribe. It’s not uncommon to see enormous gatherings at weddings, funerals, and naming ceremonies.

Often anyone is invited to these celebrations who live nearby whether you know the individual or not. It’s about sharing in the joyful festivities that’s significant.

Chief Suale and the minister meet at the Sahani Village.

While these government orders have been tenacious, it’s necessary to help flatten the curve of the virus.

Minister Offers Help

Recently, a government minister met with Chief Suale to discuss the needs of the village. Ministers meet with chiefs to assess necessities; especially during a state of emergency.

The minister provided hand-washing stations to our village, and these stations were placed throughout the community. Chief also placed a hand-washing station near the roadside for travelers who pass by.

Not everyone has access to clean, running water so these hand-washing stations are vital in protecting the people against the virus.

Nurse Visits our Village

Two weeks ago, Chief brought a nurse to the village to speak about COVID-19. The nurse discussed factual information about the virus and offered the best practices to initiate during this time. He also handed out hand sanitizers to the people.

The demonstration was especially important since it provided preventative practices for the community. This is crucial since the nearest doctor and hospital is over an hour away from the village.

 

A nurse travels to our village to share preventative efforts against COVID-19.

Lifting of Restrictions

On April 20th, Ghana eased partial restrictions of lockdown. Some have been critical of the president’s decision fearing the lift in restrictions may cause a surge in infections.

While there was a spike in new cases, this was in part due to a clearing of a backlog of samples that were recently tested in laboratories for the virus. **

Enhanced testing and contact tracing have also become more prevalent which may also be part of the growing number of cases.

What has worked in Ghana’s favor is the government’s swift action, using their own emergency funding, (versus waiting for international aid) and fast, extensive testing.

Drones Helping Combat COVID-19

Ghana is the first country to use drones to test for COVID-19. The drones provide quick delivery of samples from remote, rural areas in the bush that would normally take several hours to deliver.

Using drones can saves hours, even days in providing test results. This, in turn, offers a quick response to individuals who test positive for the virus.***

Gratitude

We are grateful for the government’s assistance to our village. While we remain vigilant, we know continued education is important.

Chief and I are creating a Foundation to continue our efforts in providing for the village on many levels. We shall keep you posted on our efforts.

During these ever-changing times, we’re grateful for the healthcare and essential workers who are serving so many around the world. We want to express and share our deep appreciation for your assistance and service. Thank you!

Come Together

It’s evident now, more than ever, that we realize how connected we are to each other. Let us move forward and create a world where we lead with a courageous heart, one filled with kindness, wisdom, understanding, empathy, and compassion.

This is my aspiration and motivation as Chief and I traverse this new landscape together knowing within our hearts, we are all One.

Take care everyone and be well.

 

Peace, love and blessings,

Napag Stacy

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Statistics as of May 16, 2020
** From BBC News article  
***  Time’s article 

Ghana – Government and Chiefs

Hello everyone and Happy Friday!

In my prior blog post, I discussed some information and statistics of Ghana. If you haven’t done so already, please see my previous post and video entitled: Ghana – Statistics and General Information.

In my second video (below) I discuss Ghana’s government and the role of  Chiefs within Ghanaian culture.

Coat of Arms of the Republic of Ghana

This is my understanding of the Ghanaian government and how their democracy interrelates with the customary laws upheld by the Chiefs.

I’m not an expert in the Ghanaian government, nor in the chieftaincy system. I’m merely offering basic information on traditional rulers (Chiefs) and some of their responsibilities.

Thanks for tuning in and visiting my website. Enjoy!

Napag Stacy

 

 

 

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Ghana – Statistics and General Information

Hello all,

I hope you’re well and taking care of yourselves and your families.

Several of you have been asking how Chief is coping during COVID-19. We decided in the interest of the people, he should stay in Ghana to assist and be of service in the village and the community during these unprecedented times.

Before I address what’s happening in our village, I thought it would be helpful to first share some basic information on Ghana and my understanding of how chiefs and the democratic government rule and co-exist in a rich and complex country.

The first video below is some general information on Ghana. I’ll post the second video in the next couple of days.

Thank you all for your kindness and support.

 

Take care and be well.

Napag Stacy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ernesto and the Holidays

 A thirty something latino man with dark wavy hair and a trimmed mustache sits alone at a table with a small, spiral note pad. He meticulously goes through some notes and scribbles down new revelations as they come to him.

He’s dressed in a nice pair of jeans, a crisp, blue button down shirt and wears practical dark, laced up shoes. He grabs his phone from his back pocket and dials. When someone on the other line answers, he speaks: 

Hello? Yes, mmm…mmm…yyy… nnn…nnn..name is Eeeeeer… eeer… nnnnnest…to. I’m cccc…cccc… calling abbbb…bout ttthhh… tttthhh..the  aaaa… aaa… ppp… part… mmm… ent.

 He’s boisterous and I try to avoid glancing over because I know other people in the Whole Foods dining area are already staring at him. Ernesto sits directly across from me, so it’s difficult not to listen in on his conversation as the volume of his voice increases when the person on the other end of the line is having a hard time understanding him.

III… mmm… ccc… ccc… ccc… calling aaa..about… th..th… the aaa…appp…part.. mmm…ment.”

Challenges

Anyone who has lived in Los Angeles knows how difficult it is to find an apartment in and around the city. It’s a monumental task for most of us; not only to find an apartment, but to find something affordable is challenging at best.

Los Angeles homelessness is surging with nearly 60,000 people in LA county alone where individuals can be found homeless on any given night. A whopping 47% of unsheltered homelessness can be found in the state of California, the highest in the country.*

  * courtesy of Los Angeles Almanac.

Tears well up in my eyes and I feel deeply for this man. I don’t know why I’m so emotional; maybe it’s because before me is someone struggling and there isn’t much I can do. So I do the only thing I can think of that may be of some help; I pray for him.  

I’m perplexed as to why I was so moved, but sometimes strangers can wake us up to the wider scope of our lives; showing us things about ourselves that are in need of attention or encouraging us in another area; venturing forth into new territory.

Giving

I take a moment and reflect upon this, the state of our country and the world. In a time of great division where many are suffering, this is when in our rawness and vulnerability we need each other the most. One way we can create unity is through giving.

Studies have shown when one gives, one receive even more in return.

 Here are some benefits in giving:

  • A feeling of happiness and release of depression.
  • Helps in alleviating stress.
  • Improves sense of self and self-worth.
  • Improves one’s energy.
  • Gives one a sense of purpose.

During the holiday season, it can be a challenging time for many so I decided to do something different.

This year instead of giving gifts to friends during the holidays, I’ve asked some if they’d be willing for us to contribute to a charity or non-profit we feel passionate about. The few that I’ve posed this offer to loved the idea. 

Charities/Non-Profits

Below are a couple of websites with a list of charities and non-profits to choose from throughout the United States.

https://www.charities.org

https://greatnonprofits.org/categories/view/homeless-and-housing

Here are a few non-profits and charities I’ve donated to and who are doing wonderful work around the world.

Save the Children

http://www.savethechildren.org

  • Save the Children helps children around the world with health, education and protection.

Oxfam

https://www.oxfamamerica.org

  • Oxfam has a wide ranges of services including: ending poverty and gender inequality, local disaster response and climate change.

Care

https://www.care.org

  • Care helps in the elimination of poverty and advocates social justice.

There are many charities and non-profits within the US and around the world and if you find one that resonates with what you’re passionate about; see if you can offer assistance and brightens someone’s holiday.

Volunteering

Another option is to volunteer at a local shelter, mission or soup kitchen. Most people who work in these facilities welcome any help or acts of kindness. Not only are you extending a hand to someone in need, but it can also help one feel more aligned and inclusive within their community.

Connecting

If you’re feeling isolated or alone, reach out to a friend and spend quality time with them.

More and more people are yearning for quality experiences versus material items during the holidays and in general. Spending time with a dear friend can uplift one’s spirit and also help gain perspective on areas that may appear overwhelming.

In speaking with a trusted friend or loved one, it can uplift a person’s wellbeing and also provide comfort and hope, which could possibly be the greatest gift of all.

Peace and Good Will to All

May our hearts be filled with kindness, love and contentment during this holiday season and as this decade draws to a close, let us share and have compassion for each other, uniting and allowing peace to envelop within and around the world.


Peace and blessings,
Napag Stacy

P. S. I wanted to take some time to say thank you to my family, my husband, friends and clients. You have all added to my life in glorious ways and I am grateful!


Nanton Village

The Village of Nanton

For the next few posts on this website, I’ll be sharing my time in Ghana with my partner, Chief Suale.

 

Traveling to Nanton.

Billows of red, dust trail behind our car as it barrels down the dirt road. We’ve been traveling for over an hour into the bush to visit with family and the elders of the Nanton village.

Family is all-encompassing in Ghana and good friends are often called uncles, aunties or grandfathers, and grandmothers.

 

The Family

There is an inclusivity in Tamale that is incredibly comforting and welcoming.

When you’ve been away in America for some time, (some family members consider a couple of months a very long time) it’s necessary to see all your family and when I say all, that means many people; consisting of immediate, extended family, friends and friends of friends. Even people that may not know you, greet you as family.

Welcome sister!

or

My wife, welcome!

 

Visiting one of our grandfathers.

Yes, that’s right. There are men other than my husband that call me their wife. Of course I’m not their spouse, it’s an expression; a term of affection. Women also say to me:

How is my husband doing?

or

Give my greetings to my husband.

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