Jay on June 1st, 2009

Posted to journeytosolidarity.org by Jay D. Breitlow.  Photos courtesy of the author.

The team at HardtHaven

The team at HardtHaven

The last weekend in Ghana, proved to be one of the most moving and potentially positive with respect to a future J2S location. The destination is a small town called Kpando, which is about a 4 hours drive north out of the streets of Accra through lush green African bush and rolling hills. The reason we were travelling to Kpando was because a good friend of mine from Iowa, Jess Crawford, had spent time there volunteering at an orphanage called HardtHaven.

Jess has been to Hardt Haven several times, and she, like me, was also getting ready to depart from Ghana, so she really wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to all the children. What she didn’t know was that she was also making an introduction to Journey to Solidarity and that as a team we live to ‘lovemark’ children. Joining us on the trip was a regular patient and friend of mine Mari Lise and the always-dependable Dr. Hunter.

Baby Christopher.  This guy is a tank and the largest Ghanian baby, perhaps ever!

Baby Christopher. This guy is a tank and the largest Ghanian baby, perhaps ever!

Reasons vary for why children in Ghana become orphaned. Some are orphans because they are born with HIV/AIDS, and when the parents find out, they are essentially abandoned. This goes back to the idea that children born in Africa with a mental or physical illness are essentially outcasts.

This is not the case with everyone though, and there are some children who are loved by their parents regardless of their birth abnormalities. Other children become orphans because many parents in Africa die early from AIDS and leave children homeless. For whatever reason, the many children that end up orphaned in Ghana become part of a statistic. There are 1.1 million orphans in Ghana and with a population of just over twenty million that means that somewhere around 5% of the population exists as orphans. The message: There is a great need in Ghana for loving people with big hearts. One such person is Joy Hardt who started the HardtHaven orphanage.

Dr. Hunter at work.  Dr. Jay and Sonjelle in the background.  Notice the village children peering through the fence

Dr. Hunter at work. Dr. Jay and Sonjelle in the background. Notice the village children peering through the fence

HardtHaven is a small orphanage dedicated to improving the health and lives of Ghanaian children afflicted with HIV/AIDS. In Ghana it is estimated that over 17,000 children are born and living with the infection. It is commonly thought that because of the infection, these children are living out a death sentence. However, antiretroviral treatment in combination with modern sanitation and nutrition has demonstrated that a percentage of these children can, and do, live a normal, healthy, HIV/AIDS free life. I am no expert on HIV/AIDS, but I do know that if there is a real chance for children to escape this normally deadly disease, well then I should do everything in my power to give these children that chance. As a team, we at J2S are afforded this chance.

The first opportunity to make a difference to these children came this weekend at HardtHaven, where there are 20 children between the ages of one and 16 living. All the children are native to the Kpando/East Volta region.

Blowing bubbles at HardtHaven

Blowing bubbles at HardtHaven

When we showed up as a team, we were just trying to help in some small way: Christina and I adjusting the children; Mari Lise and Jess playing ball and blowing bubbles with the younger children and the other volunteers playing referee and learning about a nervous system free of interference. The bright and powerful Ghanaian sun stopped nobody as Frisbees and smiles flew with little regard to whom or where they were thrown. It was altogether wonderful and to make it just a little better, everyone received the power of the adjustment.

Baby Wisdom cruising Kpando floors.  Heart this little one!

Baby Wisdom cruising Kpando floors. Heart this little one!

At the end of the day when we headed back to Accra, we left with a sense of accomplishment and sadness. There was the feeling of accomplishment and happiness that we were able to make the lives a little bit better for two dozen wonderful, vibrant children; at the same time we were all a little sad that we couldn’t help out a little more. This sadness was temporary; the director of HardtHaven, Sonjelle, called later in the day and told us that for the first time in his short life, little baby Wisdom had taken solid food. This response was much in the same way that (if you have been following previous logs) Annabelle had responded to her first adjustment or Harriett when she started playing with young children again. It’s great when you can make a difference to children at the moment, but when you know for certain that your gifts transcend time and space, you can’t help but smile a little wider and become a bit more driven to make a difference.

Sojelle at HardtHaven with some of the young Children

Sojelle at HardtHaven with some of the young Children

The relationship with HardtHaven is young but very promising. Interestingly enough, two days after we returned to Accra I had a flash that in the future I could live nearby and provide care for the children and know how their bodies and immune systems respond to consistent and specific Chiropractic care. Literally within the hour my phone rang, and it was Sonjelle calling from HardtHaven. She said that she was speaking with the other Director, Edem (who is also a native Ghanaian) about how to get care provided on a regular basis. Coincidence? I think not. The world is deeply connected and here is yet another perfect example of how it works.

Currently we are looking at logistics to bringing Chiropractic care to HardtHaven and are open to suggestions and doctors with big hearts. There is certainly going to be a return trip to Ghana but exactly how and when is uncertain. I return home to the good old US of A this week and am excited to see how the universe responds to all our requests.

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ghana_statistics.html for info on the Ghana HIV/AIDS and orphanage data.

For more information on HardtHaven visit http://www.hardthaven.org/

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Tags: africa, africa chiropractic, AIDS, Chiropractic, chiropractic mission, chiropractic mission trip, chiropractic mission trips, chiropractic missions, Chiropractic Nonprofit, christina hunter, donation, Ghana, ghana chiropractic, Ghana volunteer, Hardt Haven, HardtHaven, Health, Health mission, HIV, HIV AIDS, innate, jay breitlow, Journey, journey to solidarity, Joy Hardt, NonProfit, orphanage, Service, Solidarity, volunteer, wellness

4 Comments on Following the Hardt…

  1. Diane says:

    Great job in Africa. I know you helped a lot of people and will be missed now that you are back home.

  2. Christina Hunter says:

    I had my first real experience with volunteer work as a chiropractor after receiving an invitation from Dr. Breitlow to join him at HardtHaven. This was truely an eye-opening and life changing experience. Although we were there to provide a service and help the children, the love and joy we received in return was beyond comparison. There’s no better gift in the world than the feeling of giving from the heart. This fueled my desire even more to help the children at HardtHaven have a chance at having a healthy life. How much more wonderful and balanced would the world be if everyone could provide their love, skills, and resources to help those in need? Thanks to organizations like J2S that are encouraging hope and restoring health. I am also looking forward for all things to be made possible for J2S to return to Ghana!

  3. [...] HardtHaven Children’s home was born. If you missed the read, you may catch the June 1st post by clicking here. In short it was a marvelous opportunity and symbiotic for not just HardtHaven and J2S, but also [...]

  4. elaine hardt says:

    How exciting to read what you’re doing at HardtHaven. Don and I are Joy Hardt’s grandparents, and we’re so proud of her outreach to these dear children.

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