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Victoria Quarshie and the quest for healthcare and inculturation

Fri, 15 May 2020 Source: Isaac Ato Mensah

Vicky Quarshie, a headache nurse at the Hull NHS Trust, will be laid to rest today 15 May.

The burial service will take place at Haltemprice Chapel at 12:30 UK time.

It will be available to Facebook friends and on the funeral home’s website.

The middle aged nurse died after a short illness.

Born Victoria Louise Banks, the British nurse married my uncle Samuel Ofori Quarshie, a nurse, whom she met at University of Hull, UK.

They had two children Lauryn and Robert.

Once upon a time Vicky came to Accra to visit her Ghanaian family.

She tried on kaba with slit, she ate fufu, she put on sun shades.

She was just human.

Then she accompanied the ladies in the family to Makola.

There hell broke lose.

The Makola women jested, mocked, taunted, laughed, scoffed at Vicky.

Reason?

A “White lady” was not expected to be as big as they the Makola women were.

Vicky spoke no Ghanaian languages.

So naturally she memorised some repetitive expletives and risqué innuendoes, and kept asking what they meant.

The Ghanaian family massaged the words and turned to hit back at the traders.

The team did not abandon their mission, but by all accounts it was a helpless scene, shopping lane after shopping lane, at the Makola No. 2 Market in Accra.

About that same time, in July 2007, I visited the UK.

At Gatwick, I was kept from 8am local time to 5pm local time.

At 5pm, after several interviews bordering on my mission in the UK during which I had tell the immigration officer to eff off, she then asked me to sign a form on which had been ticked that I had been “delayed”.

I protested.

I wanted her to tick “detained”.

The immigration officer refused because she knew what I was up to.

Besides if I refused to sign off on the form, then I was not going to be released.

After I had signed, she said, “You are free to go; take your passport”.

“So what did you find?”

“Nothing,” she replied.

Where I was kept was nothing but a detention centre within Gatwick.

There were other persons, Asian by physiognomy, and there was TV and newspapers, and snack.

When Uncle Sam and I were driving to Hull, we surmised that UK immigration were probably looking for signs of drugs.

We arrived home at Willerby Road, Hull and East Riding, at about 8pm, and there was Vicky, red-eyed.

She had only one question: What did they ask you?”

“They were not sure I would return to Ghana,” I said.

“This is a disgrace,” Vicky said, furious.

In protest, and in living up to my avowed protest on British immigration record, I left the UK, earlier, having promised myself not to go there again.

I have not.

Vicky also never stepped in ghana again from the Makola disgrace.

In the UK, I was curious to check my diabetic status.

Vicky took me to a clinic where all the tests were done: I was not diabetic.

Meanwhile in ghana just weeks earlier I had been declared diabetic and placed on medication.

When I returned to Ghana, I went straight to the lab to demand answers.

There the staff admitted the machines were running on expired reagents; that the government’s contract with the company that serviced the lab had hit some bottlenecks just about the scheduled servicing time which coincided with when I had my sugar test.

“But why do you not disclose this to your clients but you keep doing this?”, I charged.

It was a terrible nationwide situation since it was the same company that worked for all Ghana Health Service labs.

Vicky Quarshie was a headache nurse, devoting her entire career to those who suffered extreme headaches.

Vicky booked an appointment to Hull Daily Mail, which she read daily, drove me there, and lobbied hard for me to get a short internship training but the documentation from my school in Ghana did not materialise.

Lauryn and Robert made all the neighbours in the quiet neighbourhood know about Ghana.

On the swing, little Lauryn would yell: “Hello brother Ai-sa-a-a-ac, can you fly me into Gha-a-a-a-n-a-a-a.

Thank you Vicky for the Lion’s children’s Bible.

To Uncle Ofori, I say “Cheer up, ‘Kingston town is the place I love to be’….your sweet cherry has fought a good fight.”

Rest in peace, Vicky. Nantew yie... Yaa) y3 hej)l) mli.

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Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah