SLHS in Zambia 2015 wrap-up!

So – we have been back for 4 days and have had our final class meeting to de-brief at the conclusion of the program…

In reviewing and reflecting, some important things come to my mind:

1) Over 4 trips to Zambia, I have had the honor to meet and work with so many wonderful and inspiring people and seeing many of them again and again each year makes me feel like I have another home away from home! A HUGE thank you to all our Zambian community partners for providing us so many wonderful opportunities! And it all started with Alfred and Chisomo facilitating meetings with various organizations in 2012…..thank you both!!!!

With Chisomo - thank you for all your help and support of our program!

With Chisomo – thank you for all your help and support of our program!

The ENT/Ausdiology team at Beit Cure Hospital: thank you all!

The ENT/Ausdiology team at Beit Cure Hospital: thank you Alfred!

2) it is amazing to know that over three years, we have impacted 33 Purdue students who have a new perspective of the world including health care services and challenges in a developing country. We hope that these students continue to be ambassadors who use the experience and knowledge gained during this program throughout their careers!

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The “pioneers” : Team SLHS in Zambia 2013

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Team SLHS in Zambia 2014

Team SLHS in Zambia 2015

Team SLHS in Zambia 2015

3) Another amazing thing about this program is that we have been able to see some of the same children each year, follow-up with them and see their progress. Although we know our impact in Zambia during a very short two weeks each year is small, it is heartwarming to know that we have helped a few people through our program. This year Christi saw 10 children for consultations, 4 of whom she had initially seen last year! We also provided hearing screenings for 295 people (mostly children) and at least one of them received follow-up at Beit Cure Hospital and was scheduled for his hearing aid fitting today. I hope to follow-up via e-mail to see how he does with his devices…..And we provided trainings to about 60 professionals, who we hope will be able to use the information we provided when they work with children

4) And the most exciting feeling from this year’s program is that we now have community partners asking us for additional programming! This is particularly special to us because we have worked so hard over the past 4 years  to communicate in a sensitive way with all our partners, taking their input and requests, finding ways to meet their needs, while taking care not to overstep and we can see the fruits of all that careful groundwork! We have partners asking us for additional programming next time, we are already seeing the results of some our trainings, and we feel we have gained their trust. We hope we can continue to build and strengthen these relationships!

There are a few more people to thank (in addition to Alfred, Chisomo, and all our community partners in Zambia) who have supported our program and helped so much!!

1) Thanks to all the Purdue University faculty, staff and administrators who have helped in many ways especially Kendra and Dr. Cai from the International Programs Office, Paula from the Study Abroad Office, SLHS Business Office staff, Jenn who helped it all begin, Christi who is helping to keep it going, and all the SLHS faculty, staff and students who have been so excited and supportive of the program

2) Thanks a ton to Julie from Gordon-Stowe Inc. who loaned us her OAE equipment yet again and also donated supplies for our program including otoscope specula and OAE tips

GO TEAM ZAMBIA! :)

June 7-8: Our last day in Zambia and travel home…

Our last day in Lusaka for the SLHS in Zambia 2015 program and what a busy day it was!!!

The first stop was Roma Assumption Parish where 9 of us went for the service. Normally the English services are at 7:00 and 8:30am, with the Nyanja service at 10:00am. We left Zebra Guest House at 8:10 am and were well in time as the previous 7:00am service (we thought) was still going on. After everyone filed out of the service we went in and sat down in the pews. I saw Father Clement in the back and recognized him from last year, so I went over and spoke to him, and I am really glad I did! I found out that because of Corpus Christi today, there were only 2 morning services, the English service that just ended and a 9:00am Nyanja service. Knowing that we had to leave at 10:00 to get to our next stop, we moved to the back pews and listened to the service. The Nyanja choir was just as beautiful as the English one I remember from last year! Although we did not understand the words, it was clear that the congregation appreciated the sermon and the priest seemed to really engage them. He also interspersed some English translations for our benefit, which we appreciated!

We left church promptly at 10:00 just as the sermon ended, picked up the rest of the team from the guesthouse and were off to Lilayi, a short distance from Lusaka to visit the Elephant Orphanage there. From the viewing deck we listened to the ranger explain the details of their projects and saw the 4 baby elephants (Zambezi, Mussololo, Nkala and Sunny) amble in, run to get their bottles and finish their milk in a jiffy, and then drink water, chew leaves and branches, play with each other or slosh a bit in the mud. We learned a lot more about the projects this year (compared to last year) as the ranger added a lot of detail such as:

  • The most common reasons for orphaned elephants are poaching and villagers trying to get rid of a herd that is eating up their crops and their livelihood
  • Therefore, the project tries to find solutions for the villagers that will save their crops and livelihood while also saving the elephants
  • The baby elephants are nurtured by 9 keepers who are with them as a “mother” figure 24/7 (on rotating shifts); the babies follow them around all day and stay with them all night
  • The 4 babies drink 64 litres of milk per day!
  • The babies are pretty much left as “wild” as possible except for the “mother” keepers: they are not washed, ticks are not removed, they are not vaccinated etc., because the goal is to release them to the wild
  • When they are ready the babies ate transferred to the Kafue Release Center (Kafue National Park in Zambia is the biggest in Africa I believe) and from there released to the wild
  • Other important pieces of the project are awareness and education – so they have programming for about 3000 children in schools about elephant safety etc.
Drinking milk - 2

Drinking milk – 2 litres every three hours!

Drinking water with head in bucket because I don't know how to do it with my trunk yet!

Drinking water with head in bucket because I don’t know how to do it with my trunk yet!

Baby elephants roughhousing!

Baby elephants roughhousing!

Never far from the "mother" (the keeper)

Never far from the “mother” (the keeper)

After viewing the elephants and buying a lot of the small fabric elephants made by local women (therefore helping the elephants as well as the local women) we went to the Lilayi Lodge for lunch. This turned out to be a poolside sit-down lunch which everyone enjoyed.

Enjoying the meal!

Enjoying the meal!

Connor said this table setting has more forks than he has at his apartment!

Connor said this table setting has more forks than he has at his apartment!

Back on the bus: next stop – Kabwata Cultural Village for a final dose of souvenir shopping.

Dust cloud!

Dust cloud!

Shop at Kabwata Cultural Village

Shop at Kabwata Cultural Village

This ended up being disappointing as many of the shops only had a few wares and a lot f empty counter space…we finally figured out that on our previous visits we have always come to Kabwata on a Saturday. This year we came on a Sunday – the same day that Sunday market occurs at the Arcades mall! So, we quickly decided to go to Arcades and finish the last of the shopping there!

Sunday market at Arcades

Sunday market at Arcades

The final business of the day was exchanging any Kwacha back to US dollars and then we went back to the guesthouse. We had about 45 minutes to pack and be outside to have the luggage loaded into the vehicles.

My packing ended up being somewhat frantic as I had gathered all the Audiology equipment and supplies that other students had carried in – a mistake! I thought I’d have enough space – and I barely made it, having to sit on my suitcases to zip them up and have a student who had extra space add a little to her suitcase – whew!!!

Last team picture outside Zebra Guest House

Last team picture outside Zebra Guest House

Abel and William drove us to the airport and along the way William said we had to stop for gas! Well – too late because we did not have any Kwacha left to pay for gas!!! A quick phone call to Abel who was following with the luggage in his vehicle, and thankfully he said he will just send us the invoice for the last tank of gas! I guess I have known Abel for three years now and it really does feel like I have another family of people in Zambia that I have grown close to over the past three years. The only person I missed this year was Isaiah at Mimosa Café, because we only went there one night and he was not there…..sorry Isaiah – maybe next time!

At the airport – we took a couple of final photos with William.

With William - indispensable for two weeks!

With William – indispensable for two weeks!

Then it was time to check in and proceed to the gate. We browsed the shops and the students played cards (this has been a regular activity for them this year!) before we boarded a slightly delayed flight.

Playing cards at Lusaka airport

Playing cards at Lusaka airport

Arrival in Dubai was therefore also slightly delayed and reduced our wait time there, so no time to blog and I am writing this on the flight from Dubai to Chicago.

Memorable aspects of this year’s program:

  • Our visit to Cheshire Homes is always special: to see the children scooting around, helping each other with mobility when needed, and in general being a rambunctious and happy group is always great to see. This year was particularly memorable as we did a training on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) there and got feedback from Ian, the physiotherapist there that they are using the narrative stories to help foster some positive behaviors they wanted and it is working well! Also that the sequential cards we had made to help the kids use the toilet were working well and they had even taken it a step further jumbling up the cards and having the children put them in sequence! We are so grateful to hear this type of feedback and hope that we can continue to facilitate and work with the remarkable individuals at Cheshire Homes
Making AAC at Cheshire...

Making AAC at Cheshire…

  • Our visits to Special Hope Network’s Community Care Centers and their Resource Center are also always memorable. Seeing their staff work with these children, often with severe intellectual disabilities who may be neglected, their dedication and love for the children, is inspiring every time we visit. Hearing the Nelsons’ story is of course also very inspiring every time I hear it, yet they are so appreciative of our visits, which are just a very tiny service compared to all the work that they are doing with the children year round
Screening at SHN

Screening at SHN

  • This year’s visit to the Pediatric Center of Excellence (PCOE) was particularly memorable because for the first time we got a complete tour of the facilities, which are very impressive! I did not know that they had a lab on site, as well as services for examination and treatment of sexual abuse among other things. We were able to have stations rotating through all aspects of the services they provide starting from intake and triage to medical consultations and early intervention clinics, which was fantastic to see. And for Christi to see some of the children that she saw last year for follow-up and see the progress they had made was also wonderful! Additionally we gave a presentation there, which was attended by teachers from a special school, and we now have a request to visit their school and screen their children next time!
Presentation at PCOE

Presentation at PCOE

  • Beit Cure Hospital is of course always a great site as once again we get to see the full spectrum of their services from the children’s ward to the kitchen. However, this year what was even more exciting was that we saw in action the start of the “2 million by 2030” vision. This vision is to train primary ear care professionals in Zambia with the goal of being able to provide 2 million ear care consultations by 2030. We were able to meet the first 5 audio tech students in the program and interact with them. Seeing the dedication of these students – three of them who are ENT nurses now being trained in Audiology – was amazing! They have all three left their families far away to be here for a year in this program, with the goal of taking their training back to their local areas and be able to serve people there. What a great “ripple effect” that is as one of them is from Gambia, another from Cameroon and the third from northern Zambia
Tea with audio tech students at Beit Cure

Tea with audio tech students at Beit Cure

  • Our visit to the Haven in Kalomo was special this year as we finally got to meet Meagan and hear her story of how she came to live in Zambia and has been at the Haven for 7 years. What an amazing and inspiring woman! Additionally, we now have the opportunity to further our programming as she welcomed us back to provide hearing screenings to all the children at the Haven next time we come!
  • Mr. Malama at the Mthunzi Centre was just as inspiring this year as he was when we first met him last year! What made this year extra special was that we got to see a glimpse of the entertainment the boys at the Centre provide with their traditional dancing and percussion – what a special treat that was!
With Mr. Malama

With Mr. Malama

  • With Muchanga the facilitator and participant three years in a row!

    With Muchanga the facilitator and participant three years in a row!

  • Of course our visit to see Victoria Falls is always breathtaking. Third time to the Falls- no problem!! They are still amazing, beautiful and awe-inspiring! Also, I feel like I meet my Zambian family each year as I greet Mr. Chanter at Chanters Lodge, and greet the same guide to Vic Falls, Oliver, as we had last year!
Chanters Lodge - idyllic….

Chanters Lodge – idyllic….

The Falls!

The Falls!

  • Our safari at Chobe National Park was made extra special this year by the number of baby elephants we saw up close! Seeing so many little ones running around was such a treat!
Baby elephant!

Baby elephant!

Despite all the wonderful memories I have an undercurrent of sadness this year on two counts:

  • One is of course about our guide John at Chaminuka Game Park losing his wife. I did not ask for details, but I am left wondering what the cause was….. Would the outcome have been different had she had access to good medical care? What will become of the two young children? Will they be able to complete school? I hope and pray for their success…
  • The second is about Robert who attended Special Hope Network’s Community Care Center at the Garden Compound. I met Robert in 2013, his head swollen due to hydrpcephalus, but amazingly a few days after we met him he had surgery for the condition at Beit Cure Hospital! Last year, although I knew there were challenges with his family, I met Robert again and he was a smiling little boy at the Compound who was able to greet me and say “hello”. This year, I did not get to see Robert, and heard that his family situation continues to worsen. He is left alone at home all day, and the situation is to the point that he may be moved to an orphanage. I pray for him to be well taken care of…..

And so ends another successful program in Zambia, with exciting opportunities for expanding our programming there but as we get to know more people and meet them again, we are also impacted more personally by the hardships they face and the feeling of helplessness at the inability to do more to assist them…..

 

 

June 6: For John…..

Today was a bittersweet day for me as I was excited to see John again after three years only to find out that his beautiful young wife was no more…..

Three years ago on my first trip to Zambia in 2012, before the SLHS in Zambia program had even begun, Jenn and I spent two days exploring Chaminuka with John. I had my first ever safari and bush walk with John and was so impressed with his ability to spot animals and birds, as well as their spoor along the walk and be able to tell approximately when the animal had gone by. He was friendly, warm and welcoming as we know almost all Zambians are. On that weekend at Chaminuka, on a walk to the nearby village we also had the good fortune to meet John’s family – his beautiful wife and two small children. We took a picture of their family and after my return to the US I printed copies and sent them to him as I had promised.

John and his family - 2012

John and his family – 2012

Today when I met John, I eagerly asked about his family. Sadly, he told me that his wife had passed away after an illness last year and (as per Zambian tradition) his children were living with their grandmother.

John with me today

John with me today

Keeping John and his children in my thoughts and prayers…..

June 6: Chaminuka

Today was a meant to be a fun Saturday visiting a private game park called Chaminuka just outside Lusaka. Though we had a good time at the park there were some challenges also….

Woke up to a cloudy and cool day and it was actually raining!!! In 4 visits to Zambia, I believe this is the first rain I have seen! Most every day is sunny and beautiful and so this was a little disappointing start to a day that we were hoping to spend outdoors!

Anyway, we had a relaxed start at 9:00am, and after jolting on a red dirt road for a long time (about an hour), we reached the park.

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As soon as we entered I (most surprisingly) spotted a giraffe standing tall very near the road!! We stopped the bus and took pictures – he was an older male (we now know this because his spots were dark!) and he looked quite majestic!

Giraffe!!!!

Giraffe!!!!

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We parked at the lodge, and while the others went in I saw that John Mwakatala who had been our guide when we visited Chaminuka in 2012 was there! It was so great to see him! At our last visit, we had actually met his wife and kids also so of course I asked how they were. Sadly, John told me that he lost his wife last year after a prolonged illness and as is typical in Zambian culture, the children were living with their grandmother. This was a total shock to me as I had so been looking forward to seeing John again and it upset me greatly. While we ordered coffee and everyone sat down to wait for it, I had to leave the group for a few minutes and collect myself, but my day was changed…..

After a quick cup of coffee we hopped in a jeep for a safari in the park. The park, although private is quite large covering 10,000 acres and they say has 7000 animals. But it is nothing compared to Chobe National Park that we visited last weekend of course, which has 80,000 elephants alone. Regardless, a safari in a jeep is always pleasant and though a bit cool today the rain had stopped!

We first stopped to see the few animals that they have in enclosures including hyena, lions and cheetahs.

Lion roaring...

Lion roaring…

Then we were off to see the rest in their natural habitat, hoping to see zebra as we had not seen any at Chobe. The first animal spotted was an elephant. Sadly, we found out that she was the only elephant in the park and that she was mourning the loss of her baby a few months ago who died after eating some poisonous plants L. They are trying to get some other elephants to keep her company. Next – the best treat of the day – we got to see a herd of zebra!! Their stripes were clearly visible among the tall grass and with the help of a good zoom I got some good pictures of them!

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Then we saw several species of antelope including kudu, blue wildebeest, hartebeest (horns are shaped like a heart), sable with beautiful long horns and a water buck! Sorry – wifi too slow to post all the pics I want :(

Blue wildebeest

Blue wildebeest

Hartebeest

Hartebeest

Sable - what beautiful horns!

Sable – what beautiful horns!

Water buck

Water buck

Back to the lodge for a feast for lunch – this I clearly remember form three years ago and all of us enjoyed the spread! After lunch, we sat on the lawn and with the sun out by now we were having a perfectly beautiful Zambian winter day again! The students decided what activities they wanted to do. Danielle, Gabby and Jenn decided to “walk with the cheetahs” while the rest chose to go horseback riding. (Sorry – the horseback riders did not send me any pics!)

Walking with cheetahs….

Walking with cheetahs….

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And Connor decided to demonstrate a yoga pose as we waited?

Yoga by Connor!

Yoga by Connor!

Our final activity all together was a visit to the village just outside the park with our guide Jason. A man met us just as we got there and through Jason as interpreter, he showed us his house and kitchen, his cooking utensils, his set-up for brewing the local beer etc. What was different about this village is that the houses were set apart isolated from each other, and that there did not seem to be any people around. We met a young lady with a small child, but other than that there seemed to be nobody around….It was interesting to see that the village folk had planted maize, pumpkin and cassava plants, and that there were fruit trees – a mango tree at almost every house.

After this, we drove back to Lusaka, with William taking a much easier and better route so we were on a better road and got back much faster. We went straight to the grocery store as several people wanted to buy a few things and then we had our final dinner all together at Mint Café – just as we did last year!. We also ordered dessert crepes, which are fantastic – except for if you order “fresh cream” with it instead of ice cream!

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Back to the guest house for our final pow-wow of this trip in Zambia and it was by far the most thoughtful discussion of the past two weeks! We discussed yesterday and today since we had not had a chance to de-brief yesterday after the farewell dinner. First about yesterday’s activities:

About the clinical activity:

  • Students discussed how they overcame the language barrier in instructing young children to do the screening task by demonstrating and using gestures and hand-on-hand practice
  • And how their confidence in clinical skills has grown over the past two weeks
  • How they have only tested adults so far, but they loved all the pediatric experiences here

About culture:

  • At Mthunzi Centre they were asked to join the children for lunch, and the lady appeared offended when they declined
  • How even the Italian volunteer at Mthunzi commented on the warm and friendly culture here compared to her home town in Italy
  • How a puppy at the Centre appeared to be emaciated and uncared for; which made one student upset, but also made her realize that if one doesn’t have enough to feed themselves and their family, how doe they feed a puppy?
  • How dogs here do not seek out attention from people as they do in the US, because animals are not treated like family

About the farewell dinner:

  • How Alfred advised them that although working with people in Zambia can be heartbreaking one has to do what one to help can but also live their own life
  • And that non-profits are very helpful in Zambia, but that capitalism has a role also in making progress
  • How one can’t become completely emotionally attached as then they may not be able to help as much
  • How the Nelson’s shared the extremely inspiring story of how they founded Special Hope Network

And then we discussed today:

Comparing Chobe National Park and Chaminuka:

  • How at Chobe the park rangers were great and the animals were never provoked, and lived in harmony with the safari jeeps because they were used to them
  • While today, we had our guide clap and whistle at some of the animals just for us to get a picture and rap the fence for the lion to react
  • And how there may be positive and negative aspects of animals raised in captivity – the cheetah walk is being used to raise awareness, reduce poaching of cheetahs, etc.

The most thoughtful and reflective discussion was about the visit to the village today:

  • Students discussed how they felt conflicted, intrusive, uncomfortable and even ashamed going into the village
  • That they were going in as tourists, walking into people’s homes and property, taking pictures – all as part of a paid visit to the fancy game park next door
  • That we made a big deal discussing how the cheetahs were in an enclosure and had been tamed and were being “used” to attract tourists but were doing the same thing with people’s homes in the village
  • That it felt like we were exploiting the villagers, but that we also saw the reality of the village

So after our last pow-wow, we pack our bags and have one last fun day in Zambia tomorrow before we head for home….

 

June 5 Student Reflection: Katie

Today was the last day of clinic for the trip. The team traveled to the Mthunzi Center, an orphanage for young boys, to perform hearing screenings. The other half of the group split up to perform hearing screenings on students at Tubalange Primary School nearby. We screened about 68 children at The Mthunzi Center, including a group of girls from an all girls orphanage nearby. Today wouldn’t have been able to happen without teamwork. Lauren and Danielle recorded the case history and performed otoscopy outside, with help from Ms. Masters and Gemma from Beit Cure ENT Hospital. The main problem we found was finding an environment quiet enough to perform accurate screenings. As one can imagine, boys can be very loud and playful. But they waited very quietly and patiently after we asked them to settle down.

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After we finished screening at the Mthunzi Center, we met the other half of the group at Tubalange Primary School to help finish screening. When we arrived, we impressively found that they were almost completely finished screening. This group screened 87 students using a puretone audiometer and an otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screener. After a successful day, we traveled back to the Mthunzi Center for some “African entertainment.” To show their appreciation, a group of students led a traditional African dance routine. The performance was phenomenal and also included African drumming. It was great to see another glimpse of the Zambian culture.

The team traveled back to Zebra Guest House to rest before an evening with our sponsors at Rhapsody. The restaurant’s atmosphere was modern and the menu featured Western cuisine including a variety of sushi, steaks, and pasta. It was a great opportunity to get to know our sponsors on a more personal basis and talk about our experience in Zambia. They were full of stories about their involvement with their organizations. For me, the farewell dinner was a great way to reflect on the wonderful experience I had in Zambia. I have never encountered a culture so welcoming and warm. I was expecting for people to think of me as an outsider, but everyone I met was gracious and accepting. Alice from PCOE asked me, “What has this experience taught you?” Well everyone, Zambia has made me think about the perspectives and lives outside of my own country. It has given me the drive to improve the lives not only around me, but others from everywhere around the world. I hope to continue pursuing this throughout my career as an audiologist.

June 5: Farewell dinner

Every year we have the tradition of hosting a farewell dinner for all our community partners and this year was no different. What was different is that Gemma is leaving for the UK tomorrow, so the entire Beit Cure ENT/Auiology team including Gemma joined us! Dinner at Rhapsody’s turned out to be a HUGE event with 29 people – our network in Zambia is growing which is very exciting!

Our partners include….

Special Hope Network which serves children with intellectual disabilities….

The Nelsons - founders of SHN and Milika the manager of the community care centers

The Nelsons – founders of SHN and Milika the manager of the community care centers

The Pediatric Center of Excellence which serves children affected by HIV and also has the only early intervention clinic in the area

Dr. Matthews, Alice and Pezo from PCOE

Dr. Matthews, Alice and Pezo from PCOE

Mthunzi Centre – an orphanage which helps children through education and other assistance

Mr. Malama, Project Manager at Mthunzi Centre

Mr. Malama, Project Manager at Mthunzi Centre

Cheshire Homes which serves children with physical disabilities

Ian - physiotherapist and much more at Cheshire Homes

Ian – physiotherapist and much more at Cheshire Homes

And of course Beit Cure Hospital which has the only audiologist in Zambia – Purdue alumnus Alfred Mwamba!

Alfred and Dr. Uta - ENT surgeon

Alfred and Dr. Uta – ENT surgeon

Audio techs and students in training: Olipa, Evelyn, Yaka, Patson and Precious

Audio techs and students in training: Olipa, Evelyn, Yaka, Patson and Precious

As always, even though it is my fourth visit to Zambia and to most of these community partner organizations, it is an emotional time for me as we recognize how each of these people is working to change the lives of children with disabilities in Zambia. They are an amazing and inspiring group of people and it is humbling for us to be able to bring them all together for an evening where we recognize each of them and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the honor and privilege of spending a little time working with them. We have gained and learned so much from these experiences and we hope our students take these lessons learned in Zambia and use them as they start their careers over the next few years…..

June 5: Our last work day at Mthunzi Centre and Tubalange Primary School

Our last clinic day today and we left at 8:00am from Zebra Guest House.

Team SLHS in Zambia 2015 on our last work day!

Team SLHS in Zambia 2015 on our last work day!

We picked up Gemma, the audiologist from the UK and Olipa the audio tech student who were coming with us and off we went on our bus to Kasupe. Past the largest garbage heap in Lusaka…..

Largest garbage heap….

Largest garbage heap….

and then onto a red dirt road that led us to the Mthunzi Centre, tucked away in the brush.

Mthunzi Centre

Mthunzi Centre

At the Centre, the Project Manager Mr. Malama took a few minutes to tell us about the Centre. It is funded primarily by an Italian non-profit called Amani. There are about 40 boys at the Centre who live there and go to the local primary school. There are also 14 boys who have been sent to boarding school to complete high school. There were a couple of boys who have finished 12th grade and are looking forward to attending college. The Centre also helps another 40 girls and 15 boys who live in the community with their educational needs. Once again (same as last year), I could feel the pride Mr. Malama exuded about his children just like a proud father. He had all of the children in the room introduce themselves.

With Mr. Malama

With Mr. Malama

Then we split into two groups: Olipa, I and 5 students went to the local Tubalange Primary School along with Mr. Raphael Bwembya (in charge of child care programs at Mthunzi) as we were expected to screen about 200 first grade students. Gemma, Christi and 4 students stayed at Mthunzi to screen the 60 children there.

Tubalange Primary School

Tubalange Primary School

At the school we arrived and met the Head Teacher Mr. Gideon Lungu who welcomed us. BUT – he told us that there had been a miscommunication and that not all the first graders were there today as they had gone to another location for some other event. We then discovered that the room they wanted us to use for the screening (and were busy cleaning out for us) had no electricity. So while Raphael and others searched for a solution for electricity, we started having the children who were there line up by grade level. The Purdue student team worked really well together as they started getting student names and filling out forms. Then while 4 students started looking in ears outside 2 others started testing in a room using the battery-operated screener that we had. In this way we finished screening about 25 children at which time a room with electricity was found.

Jennifer and Olipa testing a child

Jennifer and Olipa testing a child

The students outside did a great job setting up the two audiometers as soon as a room with electricity was found, getting them plugged in, checking to make sure they were working and then starting to test children in there.

Connor instructing a child for testing

Connor instructing a child for testing

Gabby testing the child that Connor instructed!

Gabby testing the child that Connor instructed!

Jenn helping a child stay on task

Jenn helping a child stay on task

Katelyn examining a child's ears

Katelyn examining a child’s ears

At this time I continued adding children to our list: 4th and 5th graders who were there. Noise is of course a problem at hearing screenings and we had to shush the children and try to keep them away from the doors of the screening rooms. Many thanks to three older students in the school (Priscilla, Charity and I forget the third and most helpful girl who were 7th and 8th graders who spoke English) who helped us figure out students names and keep them quiet!

The older girls at the school who were so helpful!

The older girls at the school who were so helpful!

We screened a total of 87 children and referred 9 of them to Beit Cure Hospital to have their ears and/or hearing checked. We have been so pleased to find that most of the facilities do actually follow-up with the recommendations quite promptly and hope the same happens with these children!

Meanwhile at the Mthunzi Center……from Christi:

It took us awhile to figure out a good flow for the screenings! We decided to set up two stations- one for otoscopy and one for the pure tone screenings. We set up two audiometers in one room, and had chairs outside to do otoscopy. We quickly realized this would not work as the children were excited and things got quite loud (which made it difficult to complete the hearing screenings!). So we moved the otoscopy station to another large room farther away and this helped. We thought we were ready to start, but then there was loud music playing somewhere nearby, so we had to find someone to help us figure out where it was coming from and ask them to turn off the music until we were done.   The children and staff at the Centre are full of laughter, joy, and playfulness- so it was difficult to ask them to be quiet when they were so happy!

Finally we got into a nice groove with Danielle and Lauren completing ostoscopy (with Gemma’s help), and Katie and Kate completing the pure tone screenings.

Kate screening a child

Kate screening a child

And Katie….

And Katie….

I helped keep the environment as quiet as possible, talked to children and staff after their screening if they had questions, and kept the paperwork organized. We screened a total of 68 children and adults. 15 of the children needed a referral to Beit Cure for follow-up. One of the social workers at the Centre was always close by to check in on things and she asked for a list of the names who needed the follow-up, as she will arrange a day with Beit Cure so that they will all go together as a group.   I have no doubt that these children will get the care needed, and it was such a great thing to see how the organizations work so well together to make sure the children’s needs are being met.

In total we screened 155 people today and it was a very successful morning where our team showed great flexibility and adaptability to the challenges and worked together as a team to get the job done!

Mr. Malama had promised us an entertainment program back at the Centre so we went back there from the school. Some of the kids from the center performed some traditional African dance for us and it was great to watch! The team of dancers from Mthunzi has been invited to and performed at various locations in the country as well as in Italy and Scotland!! They are a very talented group!

Drummer!

Drummer!

Drummers!

Drummers!

DSCN1325

And dancers!

Another special treat was that we got to meet Mr. Malama’s family – they live right by the Centre. Last year at our farewell dinner he had showed us photos of his two beautiful children and today we got to meet Ndeke and Kadati and his wife.

Mr. Malama's family

Mr. Malama’s family

All in all, it was a great day of screenings and so inspirational to see such meaningful work being done at the Centre by Mr. Malama and his team. We could not have asked for a better way to end our last working day in Zambia!

We finally piled into the bus for the ride back to the guesthouse where we rested for a short time before getting ready to go to our farewell dinner with all our amazing community partners! More on that in another post!

 

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