Every Journey Begins with a Thank you! by Valerie King

This is the first entry of my 2011 BLOG about Nursing Students Without Borders trip to Ghana. I wrote a series of entries last year and I think they are still available to view. There will also be a student BLOG written by a few students and I encourage you to read that at http://blogs.uml.edu/GlobalHealth/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2017/09/students/ They will have a wonderful stories from a student perspective.

I must begin this journey by saying thank you to all of the people who helped us get to Ghana. Of course top on the list are the families of the students and my own family who have put up with multiple fundraisers and meetings. None of us could do this without the strong support of our families.

University of Massachusetts Lowell has been very supportive. It would take me many pages to write accolades about everyone but I wanted to specifically thank Chancellor Meehan, Provost Abdelal, Vice-Provost Pierson, Dean McKinney of SHE. Christine Gillette, Karen Angelo, Elaine Keogh, Jeanne Keimig, Shaun Sullivanand most importantly Dr. Karen Melillo and all the faculty of the nursing department. My colleagues have been very supportive of my efforts and those of all the students on this trip and previous trips. As the politicians say, “it takes a village to raise a child” but I would like to alter that and say “it takes a village to educate a student.”

My own church family at Central Congregational church in Chelmsford has been very supportive with prayers, encouragement and monetary donations to help further some of my special projects in Ghana. We have had other church donations and I would like to thank the Lutheran church (Redeemer) in Woburn as well as Tewskbury Congregational Church. These donations help us to truly make an impact on the people in Ghana.

I leave Massachusetts in a little more than 24 hours. I leave tomorrow with ten senior nursing students. We will be gone from January 2- January 19th. There is still much packing and preparation to do. I am again joined by my friend Maura Norton from Chelmsford who is a UML alumna and has made this journey with me the last 2 years. We have learned so much about the needs of Ghana but also how sometimes just a small little effort on our part can make such a huge difference in an individual’s life. We are truly blessed to live in America but I am fortunate to be able to travel to another destination and see another way of living and hopefully by my actions and those of my students be able to make some lasting impact in Ghana.

Stay tuned for more stories and updates of our travels. Sometimes the stories are joyful, sometimes they are sad. They are the story of our Ghana trip.

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