Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Story Continues…

I am starting to adjust to life here and have had some interesting experiences in my second week. I was able to visit the school Wednesday morning for a few hours when they needed a “substitute” teacher for the k-2 class. It was last-minute and I didn’t have much time to prepare a lesson plan, so I did a short geography lesson followed by some drawing/coloring time with some “special” paper, crayons, and stickers from the US courtesy of my mom (Thanks, mom!)

Later on in the clinic that day we had a very sick baby come in that needed to go to the hospital. Luckily Paul was available and the “African car” was working that day, so he was able to take mom, dad, and baby to the government hospital in Buchanan. I tagged along to monitor the baby’s condition and also to see the hospital, which I had never been to. When we arrived, the staff sent us directly to the lab, where we waited to have tests done and then waited for results. I became a little frustrated because it seemed that priority was placed on paperwork and following routines, and since we had arrived no vital signs or assessment of any kind had been done by the hospital staff. They finally started IV fluids and other treatments after about an hour and a half, and while the baby’s condition had yet to really improve I knew there was little else I could do at that point, so Paul and I left. It was an interesting experience, one I am still processing. I’m glad we were able to help. I received an update from someone that went to Buchanan the next day. They said the baby was still alive and doing ok at that time.
On Saturday I was able to attend the monthly meeting of the TBA’s (traditional birth attendants) at a nearby village a few miles from Camphor. The TBA’s, who all received training at Camphor, now meet monthly for “continuing education” and to discuss new experiences and things learned in the past month. A big part of the discussion this day was on the importance of having a designated birthing area or “delivery house” in the village and some of the challenges in accomplishing this. Having a space like this helps improves sanitation in the village by keeping the birthing area separate from where people eat, sleep, and bathe. We will follow up with them next month to see if they have made any progress. We finished our visit by checking up on the “delivery kits” that were given to the village as part of the TBA initiative. Each contains a series of plastic containers and bags, gloves, disinfectant, and other supplies and we wanted to make sure the kits were being maintained and used appropriately.

Nyamah, our UMCOR representative in Monrovia, came on Friday and Saturday to visit for the TBA meeting and also brought the clinic some supplies (see picture) which were much appreciated. The weekend finished up on Sunday with service at Paul’s church, Mt. Galilee UMC, where they celebrated mother’s day and crowned (and sashed, pinned, flowered, and gifted!) the mother of the year for the church. It was a colorful event with lots of dancing and singing.
More next week!

Sarah, UMVIM