The rainy season of 2012-2013 has been a difficult one due to its impact on the roads out to Gusu. The rain has made it so difficult to navigate the roads so the amount of travel has been cut short. Finally, the rains have let up and the roads dry enough to allow a bus to get through and this let us host the first mobile clinic of the 2013 campaign.
For this mobile clinic, since there were no short term teams in attendance, we took out 6 Malawian clinical officers, our family, Carson White, Sam and Malla, the Carlisle family from ABC, two visitors from the states, a nurse from the ABC clinic and an ABC student.
When we arrived there were about 300 people already in line and ready to go. After a hurried set-up the clinic was in business. Once again, Nevison and Sandram checked the patients in, volunteers weighed and did blood pressures, the clinical officers diagnosed, and Becky and Carson distributed the meds.
We had a special visitor come say hi. A little while ago we had a team of doctors come to Malawi and perform cleft palate repairs and one of the girls from our area was one of the recipients. Grace came down to show off her new lip and it looks fantastic. She is now going to school and is getting along fabulously.
Because we have been hosting mobile clinics for a few years now it seems like the time and finances are starting to pay off. April is the heart of malaria season and in the past we can get up to 100 positive readings per clinic. Several months ago we handed out hundreds of mosquito nets plus did a village wide malaria civic education campaign. So, this time, instead of one hundred positive test results there were only many less.
Unfortunately, there are still patients with severe illnesses to be seen. This time around we saw a 3 1/2 year old girl who only weighs 20 lbs due to malnutrition and illness, an older diabetic gentleman who needed i.v. medication, and a couple of other severe cases. All of them needed to be evacuated to the ABC clinic and then referred on to KCH and other surrounding hospitals.
All in all the clinic went really well with about 600 patients receiving treatment. We are able to continue giving chronic patients with diabetes, epilepsy, and other illnesses the medication that they so need. On a positive note, because of the economic issues that E3 is addressing, a few people are now able to afford their own medication and proudly show us that they purchased their own drugs.
Besides the mobile clinic, Ryan was able to take advantage of the trip to finish his class project about tree planting in Malawi. He recruited several villagers plus his brother and sister, Chisomo and Kimmy, to plant a lot of trees. These trees are a mixture of fruit and shade/fuel trees. The fruit trees will help with school and village nutrition and the fuel trees will be a source of fuel for cooking until we can get the biodigester pumping out methane gas.
For the last couple of weeks, Dennis and Richard have been working hard getting the rest of the irrigation system in place and laying out permaculture beds for the school. Their progress has been good. The lower section of the project now has two separate irrigation spigots so the fields can now be watered now that the rainy season is over. The school permaculture garden has a spigot as well as the school block itself so the kids can water the garden and wash their feet and hands. Soon, a spigot will be installed at the squatty potties so the kids can wash their hands after using the toilets.
Overall, we are all very pleased with the progress the village is making. Gusu has taken ownership of the project and many people come to work and visit everyday. Because E3 tries to employ as many people as possible the finances for many have improved. Because we host mobile clinics on a regular basis the health of the community is improving. Since we are teaching sustainable year round agriculture steeped in permaculture tradition the community is adopting this approach and growing more and more local occurring foods. Due to the emphasis on spiritual growth through Bible studies, led by Sandram, the community is becoming richer spiritually.
These initiatives, coupled with others being led by Malawian for Malawians are enabling the village of Gusu to have a strong foundation on which to develop.This in turn has caused neighboring communities to come learn and want to duplicate this success.
E3; Educate, Empower, Employ