Medical Brigades, Program Ideas, and a Crazy Animal

Tuesday was another successful medical brigade. This community was the poorest and most rural I have visited to date. About 80% of the kids we weighed and measured were way below normal weight and also showed signs of anemia. We are going back in two weeks, because many of the kids were unvaccinated as well. There was also a woman, 5 months pregnant with her 4th child, and she had never had a medical checkup during pregnancy. I think we are also bringing a dentist, as many of the kids have never had dental care. You can’t really put the responsibility too much on the parents… the nearest health clinic is where I live, which is AT LEAST an hour and a half away. As far as I could tell, there is not a bus that runs directly to the community; only part of the way. So that only leaves the option of paying a car or motorcycle to take you in, which costs money.

Wednesday we did some running around for the next medical brigade. We were supposed to go Thursday, but not everything was ready, so it was rescheduled for Friday.y This specific community has had a few recent cases of HIV, so we had planned to bring someone from the lab to take blood for HIV tests, for whoever wanted it. She didn’t have enough supplies ready though, which is why we had to change the day to Friday.

Thursday morning we met with the Director of the health clinic to plan the medical brigades for the rest of the month. I currently find myself in a slightly uncomfortable situation; the doctor I work with and my counterparts from the committee had a falling out last week, and now that are not really speaking. This puts me in an awkward place, because my counterparts are always asking about the doctor. This is where is once again comes in handy… I can say I don’t know or I don’t understand. Hopefully they will get over it. I spent Thursday afternoon doing interviews in my community with Nelly, for the presentation I will have to do in the middle of November. Already two things that people seem to be asking for are a youth group and women’s group, so those might be something I end up doing in the future. Right now though, I am still working with the anemia project Jen started, and I am also in the planning stages of a family gardening campaign.. oh and I also think I will be doing some kind of life skills class in the high school, and some health classes in the grade school…. I always do this: I say I will not do a lot, but then I just see so much that can be done, and I want to do it all!

Friday we had the medical brigade I mentioned earlier. It was extremely successful… we examined over 90 kids, and about 80 received blood tests for anemia. We also saw some adults and senior citizens. I am definitely getting quicker and the weighing and measuring thing, and shouting out the numbers for Cecilia to record. In the afternoon, of course, I had my reading hour and English class. There were a few new faces this week which was nice.

In other news, Lulu is insane. I know she is a kitten and all, but even for a kitten she’s nuts. She chases her own tail and tries to jump up concrete walls… she climbs up my jeans in the morning… and yesterday before reading hour started, one of the little girls dropped her and she got scared and ran across the street. In fact, as I am writing this, she is clawing/biting my hair. Oy. At least she provides some comic relief. That’s about it I guess.. I am expecting a visit from Peace Corps next week, so we’ll see how that goes. Next Thursday we are going to an EXTREMELY rural community, so I am excited about that.

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