Saturday, October 20, 2007

Into Africa... Part 3

A few of the many children we saw at the clinic-

Our first day of clinic work in Zanzibar was extremely successful with over 600 families attending the malaria education classes and receiving nets.

Day two was equally successful- despite attempts by local religous leaders (not Christian) to shut the clinic down.

They first disputed the validity of our permit. Our permit, however, was signed by the Minister of Health (the island big-wig!) who fully supported our efforts. (In addition to putting on the clinics, CHaRA is facilitating the donation of $100,000.00 worth of medical equipment to his hospital.)

The local leader then decided to stop the mothers from bringing their babies for treatment by blocking the entrance to the church. The pastor of the church where we were working responded by confronting the man, finally telling him "Fine then- you tell these women that their babies will not receive any care and you tell them where they can go to receive the nets!" At that point he left, knowing full well that his religious organization was not going to supply those things for these mothers who would probably tear him apart if they were denied!

They then sent 'spies' into the clinic to try to catch us proselytizing so that they could report us to the authorities. It was slightly humorous, not to mention obvious, to see these men attempting to be covert as they entered the clinic (which was for women and children only). One sat in the front row of my class as I taught about preventing and treating malaria. At the end of each class I would ask questions and give prizes to women who could answer correctly- the 'spy' raised his hand and not only answered the question correctly, but recapped the highlights of my entire class. And yes, I gave him a prize!

Come here to see the doctor-

Over 1,200 families learned how to prevent malaria and received nets over the course of both clinic days. Not only was the clinic hugely successful in meeting our immediate goals, but it also set groundwork for future clinics on the island...

J tries his hand at plastering to the amusement of the local workers...

After two days of clinic work, we spent a morning working on the school building. Unfortunately, our best efforts at plastering were not as successful and honestly, we were not much help. (Except for maybe amusing the workers who found our lame attempts somewhat entertaining!) Afterwards we went to the hospital for a tour and Q and A with the Minister of Health.

Q and A with the Minister of Health

Next installment... On to Ikwiriri!

1 comment:

Llama Momma said...

I love the image of the mothers at the door for something their children need...ready to tear apart anyone who might dare block their way.

Mothers are Mothers the world over, aren't they?