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By Fr. Joseph D. Panabang SVD
In Ghana you have to register your car every year at the Ministry of Transportation for road worthiness. After I registered they asked me to pay four thousand “cedis” (local money). I complained that it was too expensive. But they assured me the money was for road repair, to which I replied, “The road may soon be worthy but the cars would not.” At this the fierce looking face of the registrar melted into a smile like clouds giving way to the rising sun.
Portor is one of my Konkomba villages. After Mass one New Year, I instructed my congregation, “Bow down your heads for God’s blessings. For every blessing, you say Amen. Now I am giving you the New Year’s Blessing.”
“Amen,” came the immediate response, before I could even start.
Healing the Physician
At the consultation room in Nkawkaw Hospital run by the Holy Spirit Sisters I ran into a Ghanaian Brother. “Why are you here Father?” he asked surprised.
“I am checking if the doctor is well,” I answered as the Brother rocked with laughter and made his way to the end of the waiting line.
My laboratory test showed I had worms scientifically called Trichuris trichiurae, commonly known as Japanese lanterns. “But I’ve never been to Japan,” I told myself.
Studying my symptoms, the doctor was surprised, “Such worms can cause vomiting in children,” he mused, “but for adults, I doubt...”
“Perhaps it is possible, doctor,” I whimpered. “You see, I am very childlike.” The doctor smiled but nodded dubiously.
At the Holy Family Hospital ran by the Medical Missions Sisters, the doctors was questioning me in the presence of my Sister nurse.
Doctor: Do you eat?
Fr. Joeker: Yes because the sisters are forcing me.
Doctor: How often do you cough?
Fr. Joeker: Between very much and very often.
At this point the Sister wanted to get out. When the doctor and I left, the sister threw me some dagger looks which I tried very hard to avoid.
Vows of Poverty
And there was Sr. Ann SSpS who upon hearing I vomited up my medicine rushed upstairs and scolded, “Don’t do that, Father. It is against the vow of poverty.”