A new life for Baagyei

When you are born in Ghana and intellectually disabled

it is really nothing to be envious of. When your mother dies during your childhood and your grandmother (who took over your mother’s responsibilities) also passes away, the situation becomes really very sad.
When, on top of that, it becomes clear that your father is a heavy drinker and your two year older sister Abena often hits you hard and has a drinking problem too, the worst is to be feared for your future.
Akosua Baagyei fell victim to this all and unfortunately to much more. She is a very small young woman who is barely able to communicate because of her limitations and who is certainly not able to look after herself. Rumour has it that she is about 18 to 20 years old, but she looks like she is not older than 14.
Apparently, there was no one who kept a close eye on her and that is why it is not difficult to imagine what has really happened to her. She was roaming the streets and the garbage dump, she was sleeping around and was sexually abused by a stranger (and one wonders: more than once and by various men??) and that is why she became pregnant last year!
Last December Baagyei was taken to hospital in Nkoranza, she had a Caesarean and gave birth to a son. Suzy, a sweet woman who always helps with the treatment of small wounds in PCC, told Ineke Bosman, who was on a visit in Nkoranza at that moment, the distressing story about Baagyei.
There was no one, except for the drunken sister, who was looking after Baagyei and she herself was not able to care for her baby. As a matter of fact, one might well ask whether she realized at all what had happened to her.
I encountered quite a pathetic situation when I visited her in hospital. It was crystal clear that the baby was heading for certain death by neglect without intervention. The midwives decided to watch over her and the baby and asked around for help.
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To make a long story short: Social Welfare inquired after the situation and concluded that indeed Baagyei’s situation was as sad as described above and that there really was no relative at all who was prepared or able to take responsibility for the care of this young woman.
Baagyei’s alcoholic sister Abena was taken into care by Ineke’s centre for alcohol addicts Clear Mind. Patricia, a former PCC caregiver, has been working for this centre since last year and she also took up the care for the baby.
Social Welfare urged PCC to take on Baagyei, because sending this young and very vulnerable woman home didn’t seem to be a very sensible idea to anyone.
Baagyei has been staying in PCC since the end of January, first as a temporary resident pending the inquiries of Social Welfare, but in the mean time she has become a permanent resident of the Community.
At the beginning caring for her was rather problematic. She had e.g. the unpleasant habit of smearing her faeces on the walls of the bedroom. However, fortunately, she has stopped this since she is allowed to sleep very close to her caregiver Vida II!
Baagyei is very modest and timid by nature and that is why she fits in the new House of Silence perfectly. Each day she enjoys the divers quiet activities organized there and she especially benefits from a positive treatment, the kind she hasn’t probably known for years. She has definitely gained in weight and we even notice her smile more often.
She has known very little warmth and happiness in her life up till now. It is very fortunate that her yearlong nightmare is over: something to be wished for all people and certainly for such a vulnerable girl like Baagyei.
She has started a new life and we hope that she will be granted the satisfaction of years of peace and quiet in PCC.
Baagyei, you are very much welcome in your new home!