Thursday, October 22, 2015

Friday, Oct 16, 2015: Second Mobile Medical Clinic

Fishermen in their dug-out canoes coming in with their catch after fishing all night

This morning we did not concern ourselves as to when we would leave.  When Justin said, “10 minutes”, we were ready!  All the tires were good!!  We again had a long drive on the tarmac road and then a bumpy ride on dirt roads (bush roads) to a village that had all three levels of schools.  Again there was a crowd of people waiting on us - not as large as yesterday, however they were still arriving.  The Doctors, supplies and us all arrived about the same time today.  After the formal ceremonies in a building that could have been a church, the clinic began. The building was packed full of people and they were standing outside straining to hear what Justin had to say and what their village chiefs had to say in response.  To our surprise there were two women as chiefs.  It is Justin’s dream to have a mobile clinic visit each village and others at least once a quarter.  He wants the children to have wellness check-ups and the rest to have care without having to walk so far for help.  Can you imagine walking even one mile when you are sick, much less 5-8 miles?   

The Village where we are having our clinic

Ladies selling their goods in the village

Goat Meat

Filling Water Buckets to carry Home

Waiting for the Clinic

Justin Talking to the People

Justin With the Head Chief

The People Gathered for the Clinic
After the ceremonies we then toured the schools.  Here again the teachers and Head Master were so grateful for the solar panel lighting in the one classroom.  The room is used every night by both teachers and students. What we don’t take for granted – walking into a room and flipping the switch!  Today they were having classes – yesterday was a holiday – Mother’s Day, yes on a Thursday, October 15. So we saw some of the high school students.  Their studies are all in English.  English is the official language, but there are two main tribal languages spoken.  We visited a Math class – they were meeting outside under a tree, using a portable blackboard to work on problems.  Inside Cal saw Physics questions on one of the blackboards.   

Another of the 32 Schools with Solar Panels

The Cell Phone Charger

The lead Teacher (Right) and Head Master (2nd from Left)
Education is the only way these kids will improve their lives, but then we hope there is not a brain drain out of the country.  They need to return like Justin, with a passion to improve the lives of his people.  The people are hard workers, but they need vocational training of all sorts, agro. training so they can produce more (including irrigation so they can water during the dry season, and business skills.  I don’t know if any manufacturing occurs in the whole country.  Justin is working with micro-loans and is giving them some business training with this, but it is a drop in a bucket.  However, he is trying to improve one life at a time. 
As we were almost ready to leave the village.  Justin was still chatting with people and there were children crowding around the car.  I had a water bottle I had just emptied and I could tell the kids wanted it.  I gave it to one of them.  They were thrilled, and ran to the water pump to fill it up.  In the end I gave them 4 empty bottles.  Justin said they will take them to school with water, OR they will be used at home – to keep salt or sugar or oil in them. He assured me they will not go to waste.  Isn’t that something, our waste is valuable to them!  But when you have almost nothing, anything is useful/wonderful.  You could give and give.  This Rotary project of solar powered lights will have a long lasting effect on the students and village. 
Road into the village

Housing along the Road

Malawi Countryside
It was another long drive back to the Lodge.  We did stop for a cup of ice cream which was a treat.
Back at the Lodge, we showered, relaxed and had dinner.  I don’t know what I would do without a shower to wash off the dust and sticky sweat.  I do not normally wash my hair each night, but in Africa I do – wet hair is a way of cooling down.
Tomorrow we are going to a 3rd area for a Medical Clinic.  The doctors are in need of more pain killers.  They give pain killers with all antibiotics, and all malaria meds, and as of today they have given all the donated pain killers away.  Cal & I gave them money so tomorrow morning we will stop at a pharmacy in a town we will be driving through, to buy more pain killers.  It is amazing how much we have in comparison.  It almost makes you feel ashamed.

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