Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thursday, October 15: A Trip to the Mobile Clinic and Schools to see the Solar Panel Global Grant

Breakfast time was set for 7:00.  The dining area/bar area of the lodge is on a deck over part of the beach.  Beautiful area!  The fisherman in their hand-dug canoes were bringing in their early morning catch from the lake. We enjoyed a full English Breakfast served in this environment.

Our Lodge

Our Cabin at the Lodge

The Lodge Restauratn

Fishermen bringing in their Catch
Fishermen Selling their Catch

Tire Repair Shop

Selling Fish at the Market

Before we were on our way for the day, someone from the lodge told Justin his vehicle had a flat tire. Another One??!!! Well Cal helped change the third tire, one per day.! Our first destination was to find another tire repair shop. One was located on the main tarmac road, and the spare was repaired. With our luck we cannot possibly go on without a spare tire.  It was around 10:00 before we were back on the road again.  The clinic was to slated to begin at 9:30, or so we were told.

The First Clinic

People meeting under the tree

Justin Talking to the Villagers
The drive to the location of the mobile medical clinic was supposed to be 1 ½ hours, but turned out to be more like 2 hours over roads that you would not want to travel with anything other than an a 4x4.  We drove on a hard surfaced road for maybe 20 minutes before turning off onto roads that were dirt, not hard surfaced or graveled. There was severe flooding earlier in the year making the dirt roads difficult to navigate.  There were washouts on one side or the other, ruts from when the road was mud, bridges that had large timbers lengthwise and half of the cross boards missing, to say nothing about the people walking on the road, or the goats, chickens, cattle and dogs that were either walking on the road or crossing in front of you.  I was very happy to be only a passenger and not driving.  The next question was following directions.  We were very happy Justin knew where he was going.  The further we went the narrower the road became, at times only being two tracks with grass growing between the tracks.

When we arrived at the destination where the clinic was going to happen crowds of local people were waiting for us, sitting under the trees for shade.  It was after 12:00 when we arrived, and at that time only one doctor was there – we can’t forget we are working on African time!!

Waiting for the Clinic

Our Clinic Doctors

Add caption
Cattle being herded through the Village
Justin is the Honorable Justin MP (Member of Parliament), representing this area of Malawi, so the people were very happy to see him. In true politician style, both Justin and his wife went around and greeted people, especially the chiefs and their wives. After greeting everyone of importance the local coordinator called for everyone’s attention and soon gave Justin a chance to address the group.  This is all done in their local language so we were not able to understand what was being said, but the people seemed to enjoy his speech – they responded with lots of clapping. After Justin’s speech, several of the chiefs also gave short talks.

Finally, the medical clinic could begin.  We stayed around until 2:45 – Justin talking to different people - He knows how to work a crowd!  Shortly after we left 3 more doctors arrived.  Of the hundreds of people who were gathered we have no idea how many had medical issues or how many were supporting the sick person. 

Some were there with the malaria virus.  Of course the children were screaming when they were pricked for the malaria blood test.  The people were so appreciative for the mobile clinic, as otherwise they would have to walk 15 – 20 – 25 km to get any medical help.  The missing health aspects were a dentist and an eye doctor. One gal needed a tooth pulled, but could not afford transportation to get to a dentist, so all they could give her now was pain killers.  In a discrete way we have given money so she can go to a dentist.

After we left the medical clinic we drove to one of the villages where a school is located that has the Rotary funded solar panel to power lights in one classroom. 

We met the Head Master.  He overflowed with appreciation for the lights! It is not just for the students, but also for the teachers and himself who can work after dark on their lessons.  When you realize it is dark by 6:00 pm, there is a large chunk of time in the evening for productive study when there is light.  The lights are usually turned off between 10:00 – 10:30. The head Master told us that since there are lights, all (50) of his 8th grade students were able to move on to high school whereas before only 7 out of a class were able to get high enough test scores.  
School with Solar Panel
The Solar Panel

Lighted Classroom

Rechargeable Battery and Cell Phone Charger

Cal, Rachel with the School Head Master

Solar power is definitely the energy sources for Africa.  It really is a simple concept.  A solar panel to catch the sun’s rays, wires, battery and wires to the light sockets that have bulbs.  However, you do want heavy duty batteries, and good equipment, as we have heard of one solar unit on a house was not working – It was too cheap!  We have seen small (12 x 15”) solar panels standing outside of a house that had direct feeds to a radio.  As the sun moved they could move this portable solar panel.  We also saw a larger panel (2ft x 4 ft) standing outside a home – we have no idea what it was powering.  

Before we returned to the lodge we went to the village where Justin was raised and saw the school room Rotary electrified there.  This village also is home of SOM (Save the Orphans Ministry).  Justin and Jane have a home in this village so when Parliament is not in session they are in his District most of the time, and when it is in session he is out here on weekends. They have solar panels on this home so it is electrified as well.  We saw buildings built by church groups from Des Moines who would come for a week at a time over a period of years building different buildings.  They invested a lot of time and money into the ministry of SOM.

The Communal Water Pump

Crossing the Bridgs

We have a long drive back to the Lodge on the Lake. Thank goodness we are in a vehicle with A/C.  You are so glad to get out of the vehicle after that bumpy ride!! 

The evening was spent relaxing at the Lodge.  When the sun sets, the temperature cools down.  It was a beautiful evening by the lake.

1 comment:

  1. You might qualify for a new government sponsored solar energy rebate program.
    Determine if you qualify now!