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Local man returns from humanitarian mission to Ghana

Updated: May 28

An Amherstburg man has returned from a humanitarian mission to Ghana.

Bert McLellan returned last week after a 17-day trip that was through area Rotary Clubs. During the trip, there was the dedication of six wells, work at three schools, the donation of 140 sewing machines and over 30 professional hair dryers and assisting with a medical clinic in the African nation.

“It was good. It was really productive,” said McLellan. “We were there 15 days. It took a day to get there.”

The first six days of the mission saw McLellan volunteer in the medical clinic alongside a doctor who made the trip with the group. The clinic saw over 90 patients per day while they were there, many of whom who had malaria. McLellan estimated at least 70 per cent of the children that were treated had the disease, including a baby who was subsequently sent to a nearby hospital for treatment.

That baby, said McLellan, recovered within two days and that was the biggest highlight of the mission trip.

“It was like a different child,” he said.

The clinic also gave out a number of knee and ankle braces. McLellan pointed out the goal is to have it staffed more frequently as the clinic is often closed unless a humanitarian trip arrives with a doctor among the group. It is hoped the clinics will be able to be staffed regularly within a year, he said.

Volunteers on the mission trip also donated over 400 knapsacks to students at schools in the country. The knapsacks were filled with school supplies and other necessities such as menstrual pads. The latter can be the reason female students go to school versus not wanting to attend, he noted.

“Every child got a new uniform,” said McLellan. “For the conditions they live in, they are clean.”

Teachers in Ghana earn roughly $100 per month, with educators choosing to go to schools with indoor washrooms instead of facilities with a short wall and a trench in the ground, he added. 

Mosquito nets were passed out to the point where McLellan lost track of how many they gave out. Reading glasses were also distributed to those who needed them.

There was also a visit to “The Last Bath,” a site where slaves had their last bath on African soil before being shipped out. 

Those on the trip were given gifts in every village they went to, including a goat, but McLellan said through the help of local priests, they were turned back over to those in need in Ghana including for use as meals.

The people in Ghana are very happy to see visitors, he added.

“They are happier than we are yet we have everything,” said McLellan. “They are very needy but they’re happy.”

It was the third and final time McLellan has been to Ghana through a Rotary-sponsored trip. He said it is a lot of work to get ready for such a trip but he is grateful he has been able to help out. 

“If you don’t help them, they get nothing,” he said. 

While some may question him and others about going, he said the people in Ghana need the help.

“They are just like us.”

Local man returns from humanitarian mission to Ghana

By Ron Giofu

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