TAMALE - Shekhinah - Historical

Contact with Tamale in Ghana back in the early 1980's. Contact was made through a White Father, Fr Herrity who was working in Tamale.

Fr Herrity, to the right of the photo, on a visit in 1991.

 

The parish of Our Lady of the Forest, Forest Row, Sussex have supported the parish of Tamale. In the early days the support was in the form of tea chests full of goodies, soap, pencils, paper, footballs, beach towels ( used to carry babies). Later larger items such as bicycles, cycle pumps, filing cabinets and roofing sheets were shipped. All these items at the time were difficult to obtain locally.

 

 

A news paper cutting from 1984, note the presents were wrapped by the children before being shipped in time for Christmas. Something that we stopped doing as the customs authorities had a habit of opening them all on arrival.

SHEKHINAH Clinic Tamale

The clinic was the inspiration of Dr David Abdulai. He left a safe hospital job to start the clinic on a piece of land he owned. Fr Herrity asked us to help this Dr who wanted to set up a clinic for the poor.

Dr. Abudlai was one of 11 children born to Muslim Dagomba parents in Tamale sometime in the 1950s. His father was a leper and his mother fetched water for a living. Following the death of his parents (and later his care-taker uncle), along with his 10 siblings (all of malnutrition), a Roman Catholic priest picked him off the streets of Tamale, where he wandered and put him in school. He became a Catholic thereafter. He excelled in school all the way through medical school at Legon, and later studied tropical medicine (I believe in Ireland). He perfected his surgical skills in Zambia and returned to Ghana "to be with the poor", as he said in his letter.

While posted in the Volta Region, he met and married his wife, Doris, from Dzelorkope. Auntie Doris of course is the proverbial woman behind every great man. Among other things, she works on surgical cases and coordinates the voluntary cooking that the clinic does for the indigent of Tamale. After working in government for a while, the good doc, with donations from the local folk, started his "experiment". He performed his first surgery under a mango tree. The clinic stands where the mango tree used to be. (He also turned down an offer to go practice medicine somewhere in Europe--Holland, I think)

They have three children, including one whom they picked from the streets of Tamale. (Two other children died in childhood). Dr.Abdulai received on the 5th March the state Honour GRAND MEDAL, (GM) (CIVIL DIVISIO) from the president of the Republic of Ghana.

A view of the clinic with one of the helpers

The team with Doris and Dr David in the foreground

An operation in progress using the table we supplied in 1989

Huts built by villagers, one per village, used for recovery.

 

This is an extract from a letter received from Dr David Abdulai 2000

Much has changed over the years since we first sent tea chests of goodies to Tamale back in the early 1980's. Despite all the unrest in the area two clinics have been built and are running smoothly with the support of many around the world.

This is an extract from a letter received from Dr David Abdulai 2000

The money will be used in our various services to the poor.

1) The two clinics now functioning well with surgical operations once a week in each clinic.

2) The food programme serving an average 130 people every noon including mentally ill roaming the streets of Tamale and about 28 destitutes living in one of the clinics as well as about 26 volunteers staff in the clinics and the food program.

3) The prison apostolate

4) The nutrition supplements to the Tamale orphanage with about 18 orphans

5) The destitutes home with people from Ghana, Bourkina Fasso and Nigeria.

6) A small scale soap making program to help those who are capable of self support but do not have money to do so.

7) The education fund to help pay the fees of the needy but brilliant pupils and students at various stages of their studies.

Dr David also sent several cuttings about the clinic and the problems he had over the donated Oxygen Concentrators and interviews about his work. The government wanted to tax the donation to the clinic which caused the clinic to close for a short time. This has all been resolved. The same government who awarded Dr David the medal of honour in 1997 for his work with the poor. With this information came news that the White Father, Fr Herrity, who had put us in contact with Dr David had died.

 

WAMALE

Some photos from Shekhinah II. Wamale 1999.

Out patients department

Front of the Out Patients Department

TAMALE - Shekhinah - Dr David's site