Mwaya Mondays – Vol. 37, Monday 22 April 2013
This week’s instalment by RIPPLE Africa volunteer Triona:
“This is our second week in Mwaya and I’m pleased to say it’s lived up to our expectations. My name is Triona and I’m a nurse from Ireland. I’m here at Ripple Africa for a short 2 months with my boyfriend Mark who is also a nurse. Having had our induction and orientation last week this week we were ready to get stuck in and start work!
Basing ourselves in healthcare was always going to be a challenge as we are here for a relatively short 8 weeks. We figured it would take a while for people to get to know us and trust us. However there are some people working in healthcare here who deserve special mention and this is what I’m going to base this week’s blog on.
Kachere Health Centre is a 10km cycle away. It is one of the 3 health centres we have based ourselves in. They deal with everything from minor injuries to maternity to family planning to treating and referring seriously ill people to larger centres. Here we met with Janette the nurse at the centre. Well, she calls herself a nurse but I’m a nurse and by my reckoning she is far more than a nurse! Janette is the backbone of the health-centre dealing with all aspects of healthcare, sometimes with very little help. On Monday we assisted her with a delivery of a baby boy, something which I was in awe of but which comes as second nature to Jenette. She delivered more than 50 babies last month alone. Her experience is obvious and she brings a great air of calm to the situation (especially when you have over excited mzungus like me present!). Getting to assist in this way by taking the baby, drying him off, weighing him and wrapping him up was a highlight for me.
We have had the pleasure of working with Collins also. Collins works in rehabilitation at community level and I’m sure you have all heard of him in previous blogs. Today I was out and about with Collins on his motorbike doing a lot of off-roading to small villages tucked away in the Malawian countryside. This was an experience in itself! Collins is employed by Ripple Africa and is an integral part of what this charity is all about, giving a hand up not a hand out. Today we met with numerous patients ranging from a woman who suffered a stroke after giving birth and 3 children of different ages with cerebral palsy. Today Collins was measuring Mike for a new chair to use everyday rather than using his wheelchair all the time and Frank who we were measuring for a standing frame. Seeing the positive impact Collins is having on these people is great especially when you hear of how they were before Collins got involved with them. All 3 children have improved their mobility and in turn their personalities and confidence has grown. The woman with the stroke is now walking so Collins is working with her to try to improve her speech and strength and tone to her affected arm.
Collins also runs Health Club. This is a group of about 7 teenagers who range in age from 16-19 years old. They make up plays and songs which contain health messages and they bring their performances to the community in order to try to educate others. Next Monday we go to the community with 2 plays and songs containing themes of food hygiene, adult literacy, and family planning among others. Thankfully as they are in Chitonga we can’t take part (however Mark is the “stand in” for Charlie who plays the English speaking Mzungu in one!). We are however involved in the singing and dancing at the end much to the Malawians entertainment! We can definitely say they have far better rhythm than any of us!”
Don’t forget to check back next week for the next instalment.