Jerry Agudogo was born in Accra, Ghana. He wanted to be a doctor for a long. So when he got a newspaper with an ad promoting a government scholarship to study in Czechoslovakia in 1984, he did not hesitate.
His father was an appraiser and his mother was a midwife at a hospital where he now works. He always wanted to be a doctor. When he was due to go to a medical school in the capital, there was a coup in the country and the school was to be closed. “But there was an opportunity to apply for a scholarship,” he recalls in perfect Slovak. It was written in 1984 and he was given the opportunity to study newspapers in Czechoslovakia.
From his own inquisition he knew about Charles University in Prague, so he was very pleased to go to Prague, only to discover at the airport in Ruzyne that he was going to study in Slovakia. First, he underwent a nine-month language course in the Slovak town of Senec, along with a number of other foreign students.
In the medicine circle in Bratislava, he was the only foreigner, who studied in Slovak and the textbooks were often in Czech. That’s why he still speaks perfect Slovak and understands Czech. Though his classmates fully accepted him he remembers, he also encountered various prejudices and stereotypes that some people thought he had because of ignorance and propaganda. “You’re ready for it, they do not think bad,” he says.
Medicine, however, did not only give him the knowledge crucial for his career as a doctor. He also found the love of his life. They went to class together, even living together with her family for several years. Jerry worked in a nearby hospital, but the responsibility he felt for his country was stronger. “From the very beginning, I was very determined to return to Ghana,” he says, adding that Ghana, unlike Slovakia, needed it very much.
His Slovak wife chose to follow him and the couple together with two children have lived in Accra for over twenty years. Their daughter is a graduate engineer; she is currently studying in the US today. The son is then an IT expert. Although they identify themselves as Ghanaians, because they have spent their entire life in their father’s country, they are proud of their Czechoslovak part equally.
Though he was enchanted with Czechoslovakia, remaining there was not an option. He stressed. “From the very beginning, I was very determined to return to Ghana.” When asked why he responded that his family ties were very strong, he also felt a great sense of responsibility for his homeland and wanted to help her to stand on her feet. Doctors were needed in Ghana.”
Medical beginnings were not easy. The effective practices and medications he acquired in Czechoslovakia were not known or available in Ghana at that time. “There was little work and doctors,” he says.
Today Jerry is one of the top country’s physicians. With his wife, who is acting as a gynecologist in Ghana, he founded a private clinic, he also co-opted a school for future anesthesiologists in Accra.
On the occasion of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, the Honorary Medal of Honor for the Development of Czech-Ghana relationships was held in Accra by the Czech ambassador.
Author: Lilato Madiri