This is our third trip in as many years to Koforidua, Ghana, and every day that we have worked here - every day - there has been a repetitive “thump thump thump” coming through the windows of St. Joseph Hospital.
Across the street there is a brickmaker. When we arrive at 7am, he is out there in his lot, making bricks. He makes them one at a time. He pours cement mix into sand, mixes it on the ground, then shovels it into a mold, and slams the mold cover down on it repeatedly. Thump... thump... thump. He makes a brick. He then lifts the brick from the mold and sets it out in the sun to dry.
He makes 120-150 bricks per day, and he sells each brick for about 12cidi, or $3 American. In Koforidua, that’s heavy industry.
He starts working around 6:30 am, and he is typically working when we leave, with darkness descending. So the soundtrack of the entire day is characterized by the regular “thump, thump, thump” of his brick mold.
It doesn’t take long to realize what exactly is made of these bricks in Koforidua: EVERYTHING. The streets are literally lined with unadorned gray brick buildings. The hotel we are staying in is made of them. The gas stations are made of them. So are the schools. The storefronts. The apartment buildings. And the hospital where we are working. And each edifice is built one brick at a time.
And there’s the thing: Each of us plays a small but crucial role in our larger realm. One individually-made brick at a time, we build a school, a bridge, a hospital, and a community. Thump, thump, thump.
That small thing that you do? It matters. Greatly. Because it’s a brick in a much larger structure. And if even one brick fails, the entire structure loses some degree of stability, and is at increased risk of collapse. Your role is crucial.
This week, OpWalkNY replaced 84 joints in Koforidua, Ghana. We made bricks from dawn to darkness, every day, all day. With the tireless help of our team members (nurses, techs, equipment reps, therapists, logistics team and everyone else... I really don’t want to forget anyone - they are all so important to our cause), we mixed the cement, shoveled it into the mold, and pounded them out. One at a time.
The fun of it is wondering where those bricks will go from here. What bridges will they build? What important structures will they go on to support? The world is a big place, Africa is a big continent, and it faces some big questions. And there is still a lot to be built.
Maybe you can’t build a bridge. But you can make a brick. And maybe Operation Walk can’t change the world. But it can change a life. And the possibilities from there are limitless.
Please once again accept our most sincere thanks for your attention and support. Op Walk works because you make it work. Because of your support, in the weeks ahead, someone will stand and take their first painless steps. And then go change the world. Or at least make a brick.
Thump. Thump. Thump.