A Gentle Breeze in Ghana
by Didi Ananda Kaomudii
This is about Didi Ananda Vinumbra from Congo, who
has nursed, trained and built a number
of clinics in Ghana. The extraordinary thing I find about
her is that she is
56 years old and running like a 22 year old:
A gentle breeze rustles from the river through the
thicket. Cocoa fruits, pinapple and banana are growing
within the shelter of swaying coconut palms. There is
a life here, within the blessings of nature, that fill
the mind and heart with pleasing calm. One could say
a soothing balm exists within those leafy green plants,
eminating a healing balm.
is within that jungled nature that Didi Ananda Vinumbra
chose her site. She has built a clinic that serves
at the junction of a number of villages running along
the river and valley areas. Her choice is logistic,
as the bridge within view is the junction for three
main high-roads, each well stocked with transport vehicles.
An easy location for the more remote village dwellers.
She paints an unusual picture within the swaying foliage.
Her uniform that
frames a vibrant smiling face, is bright orange. Her
tendency is to speak
with her arms, so that the veil she wears is often flowing
animated form. When dwarfed by the tallest trees, she
appears as a flower,
aflame and dancing.
Those she greets seem to melt in gratitude. She is
a woman of mature age and wisdom, who can sum up quickly
the needs of a late delivery, a child in the throws
of malarial fever, or a quiet gentleman hobbling with
infection in his feet. She greets all who come, at any
hour, concentrating her energies upon healing them.
Her clinic is not only a home to the patients. It is
a training center for
those who wish to follow in her steps and bring medicine
and nursing to
their villages. She instructs them at first, then monitors
their work and
finally, after years of rigorous application, they are
allowed to work as
clinicians within their home areas. In this way, the
work of Didi is
mushrooming beyond the precincts of the surrounding
villages, and moving
further afield into under-resourced rural areas. Women
health and safety are their highest priorities.
training with her, also live within her compound. They
can see that the germination point of inspiration springs
from her daily meditation. As a nun her belief in the
power and love of her God reflects clearly in her advice
and teaching. Without faith and love, one cannot heal.
She trains the simple people. Women who have mothered,
men who have worked
on the land and farmed for their people. Those whom
the villagers look to
as leaders and moral guides. The chosen can carry the
load of helping
others in their lives. For the responsibility that they
will carry as
village clinician can determine a life or death.
In many of the cases that Didi has met, women have
walked or been carried by
family members long distances. Their labour heavy with
desperate to be helped through delivery. Didi's clinic
is simple, even
rudimentary in it's equipment. But Didi is accustomed
to being called upon
to utilize all of her mental recourses. The babies she
has brought safely
into the world are many. She and her team work successfully
in areas where
infant mortality is known to be unnecessarily high.
They are turning that
At a clinic party the new mothers arrived dressed
in white, (the traditional costume for childbirth),
arms laden with the bow-and-lace bundles of soft-skinned
babies. Aglow and radiating confidence. So very different
from the villages where a woman is alone with her concerns
and failing health, struggling with un underweight child
that isn't gaining strength after a traumatic birth.
There are traditional doctors who may wail a prayer
and burn some herbs, but cannot compare with the modern
medicine and hygienic methods of Didis teaching. And
the rational strength of her inner conviction. To serve
each of humanity is to serve God.