John from Bonte

Offering humanitarian aid (if possible) is both gratifying and complicated.

Complicated especially when we must decide, who we would like to help ánd are able to help and who – unfortunately – we cannot.


In both PCC – Hand in Hand and in our Outreach programme our mission primarily is offering help to children and/or (young) adults with intellectual or multiple disabilities. However, it is not always easy to decide where to draw the line.


For example, Emmanuella, who was born with neither legs nor arms in the adjacent hospital 18 years ago and who has lived in PCC ever since, does not have any intellectual disability, but she suffers from very serious physical disabilities, which would have isolated her completely outside our Community, if not worse.

She probably isn’t our typical resident, but (shortly) from the time of her birth, she has been a fully-fledged member of our Community, much to the delight of everyone! And believe it or not: this year she will be taking her exams at Junior High School, which makes everybody in PCC very proud!


People regularly seek our help for different reasons because there is much misery in a country like Ghana, also amongst people without any physical or intellectual disabilities.


Last year our attention was drawn to a 29-year-old man, called John, from the village of Bonte in the Nkoranza District. He had been perfectly healthy until the age of 25. Then for the following 4 years he was “imprisoned” in his mother’s house, because he was suffering from a big leg ulcer. This condition had appeared very suddenly and had grown worse very rapidly. It made him into a social pariah, he never left the house and there was no hope for recuperation anymore. No physician had been able to help him so far, let alone cure him.


After having heard his story and having seen some pictures of his leg, Baffo, Joe Emma, and I visited him in his home in October ’22. His village is about a 45-minute-drive from Nkoranza.


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We were deeply moved by his hopeless situation during our visit. The diagnosis was probably Buruli ulcer, we are not sure, but the bone of his lower leg was already affected by the disease. Anyhow, during our visit it was crystal clear that the situation was utterly hopeless. Besides that there was also no money for whatever treatment.


Although John does not belong to our focus group, it felt like a moral obligation to help him. So, PCC made sure that John underwent a thorough medical examination. Eventually, it became clear that the amputation of his lower leg (from his knee) was inevitable. This major and irreversible surgery was performed at Kumasi Academic Hospital, another and less extreme intervention was (no longer) realistic.


It may sound a bit odd, but John is very happy with his amputation. He has got rid of his social stigma and he is able, after the wound had cured, to go outside on two crutches and be a fully-fledged member of the village community again.


Soon an artificial leg will be fitted, but even without this prosthetic leg he is already dreaming of a new future. And we are thinking along with him about how he will be able to earn his own living then.


John is smiling from ear to ear because he has found hope, no, even more he has found his life back again.


We know there are many more people like John in Ghana, and we do realise that we are not able to help everybody. We are no alternative for social services, that will never be the case.


But sometimes we will be able to make a difference, like with John. We are grateful and happy that we have been able to do so, also thanks to the people who support our work!

Thank you, also on behalf of John from Bonte!