3 nursing students at BOCES will spend 10 days in Ghana, Africa

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 March 2023 at 12:14 pm

Students will see hospital, deliver medical supplies, teach basic hygiene to kids

Provided photo: Nursing instructor Courtney Slack, right, poses with three of her nursing students who are going to Ghana March 30 to work in a hospital there for 10 days. From left are Samantha McIntyre, Miranda Gebo and Arie Decker.

MEDINA – Three students in a nursing class at Medina Memorial Hospital will be leaving March 30 for a 10-day visit to Ghana.

Arie Decker and Samantha McIntyre, seniors at Royalton-Hartland Senior High School, and Miranda Gebo, a senior at Albion High School, are students in Courtney Slack’s offsite BOCES Career and Technical Education class, which meets at Medina Memorial Hospital.

The girls heard about the trip from Decker, whose teacher Melissa Brigham knew a doctor who made the trip every year with Global Partnership for Education. Usually they send 25 to 30 people annually to developing countries. This year, primarily school teachers are going, along with six students, three of whom are from the Medina Memorial Hospital class.

The girls will be involved in team building there, Decker said.

Gebo said they will also help build rowboats for the women to use to get their wares to market on the mainland. Ghana is an island, and getting their products to the mainland to be sold consumes their profits, Gebo said. The women make coconut oil and bracelets, among other things.

McIntyre said they will be visiting a hospital in Ghana, where they will give them donations, including medical supplies for wound care, such as gauze; no-rinse soap and dental products.

Decker said they will shadow doctors and will also take soccer balls and baseballs for the children.

“This is a great opportunity to help people ,” Decker said.

“This is bigger than anything I’ve ever done before,” McIntyre said. “We are going to a remote island with no electricity and no running water.

She is concerned about traveling abroad with people she doesn’t know and the food.

“Their diet consists mainly of seafood, and I don’t care for seafood,” she said. “I know it’s going to be a massive culture shock.”

Gebo said she wanted to go to help the children. They will also teach simple hygiene, she said.

There will be a couple of days for sightseeing, Decker said, including a visit to Cape Coast Castle, which was involved in the slave trade. People were taken as prisoners and kept in dungeons under the castle until they sold, she said.

Decker plans to become a physician’s assistant in pediatric oncology, she said. McIntyre hopes to attend medical school to become an anesthesiologist, while Gebo aspires to become an Emergency Room nurse practitioner.

This will be the first time any of the girls have been out of the country, except for Canada.

“I’m so proud of them,” Slack said.

She explained that although the students are members of BOCES Career and Technical Education class, they come to the hospital’s classroom every day, seniors in the morning and juniors in the afternoon. Being hospital-based makes it easier for us to work through shadowing and internship rotations in the different hospital departments, Slack said.

The students had to raise their own money for the trip. They will fly to JFK Airport, where they will board a plane for Ghana.