Today was a new adventure to a new facility. The usual start to the day with breakfast including watermelon at 7:30 am and departure with Pearson at 8:00 to reach Beit Cure Hospital at 8:30am.
We met Alfred, and we were off following him and Excildha who was accompanying us today. We went the same route as yesterday past the large smoldering garbage dump
and cemetery, and then straight onto a dirt road with billowing dust clouds for a while till we finally reached a cluster of impressive looking buildings.
Alfred was greeted with hugs and we met Michael Devine and his wife – both Americans from Ohio. They welcomed us into their living room where we sat and learned a little bit about their organization. It is called Breath of Heaven Children’s Village and they told us they have 61 children there who are either orphans, have lost one parent or are vulnerable. They only take them after they are potty trained. They have a Pastor Joe who finds the kids in need. They have “houses” with 12 kids in each house with a housemother and an auntie. They hire teachers to come to each house and teach classes so the kids stay right in their village for school.
We all introduced ourselves and then got a tour. We saw their tilapia tanks and vegetable garden which they have started to try and be self-sustaining so they don’t have to depend on donations that may dry out. There are plans to build a clinic and a school that will be open to the community. Then we went to one of their houses where we saw their 2nd graders and a teacher. Each house has bedrooms and a kitchen and each house cooks their own food. Their fundraising is primarily from the US via churches.
After the tour we were shown into the residence where we set up 4 audiometers in the living room and an otoscopy station in the bedroom. In my 27 years of clinical practice I have never done otoscopy in a bedroom before – but there is a first time for everything!
The kids started coming in 4 by 4 starting with the 8th graders. They were wearing school uniforms and were very well behaved and polite. The screenings went well because most of the kids understood the instructions easily. When the kids were done we also screened the teachers for a total of 81 screenings.
We finished screenings before noon and the Devines had very kindly invited us to stay for lunch. We had a traditional Zambian lunch prepared by the housemothers including nshima, cabbage, rape (greens called Chinese cabbage) and beans and also chicken and caterpillars.
The brave(?) students who tried the caterpillars!
After lunch we wrapped up by giving the Devines some tokens from Purdue, said our goodbyes.
Then we set off for Kalimba Farms. Pearson took us the 11km along the dirt road and got us there. This was one of the most productive bus rides I have ever had!!
- I called Mr. Malama and invited him and the twins from the Mthunzi Center that we visited yesterday to the farewell dinner
- I called Alice at PCOE and gave her the information and audiology test results on the little boy seen at Beit Cure
- I called Emmie our driver from last year – it was great to hear him and he is meeting me tomorrow at Manda Hill at 6pm! I am excited to see him and he sounded thrilled!!!
- I got 3G on my phone – YAY! And sent an e-mail to Sr. Petronella and Muchanga to confirm tomorrow’s plans
At Kalimba Farms we had a guide called Lovemore who loves snakes and was a really nice guy! We started with the snakes and immediately had the thrill of holding the python. All students except Andrea and Kelly held it and this year I did too – my biggest adventure.
After we heard about all the other snakes in cages we saw a large tortoise that again all the students took turns holding and then on to the crocodiles – from young ones to the largest ones I have ever seen (well – I saw them last year!). Lovemore was so nice saying his only regret is that as a child he had killed snakes! Now he goes and gets them from the bush!
We ended by buying ice cream – not all of us (hence Jessica’s sad face)
We then left the farms and the students chose to go straight to Arcades for dinner. Back to the bus and lodge and we met for our nightly pow-wow in Christi’s room as usual. Our last lunches were packed since we will be eating at the Beit Cure hospital on Thursday and Friday, and then we started the pow-wow. The students and one of the most thoughtful discussions today – yay!
After the pow-wow I sat reading in my room when the power went out! Second time this trip – after the one incident at the welcome dinner! I heard the generator come on but still no light in my room! So I wandered out to the front desk and found that Rooms 1 (mine) and 4 (Breanne and Andrea’s) are not connected to the generator!! So I was given a solar lamp – but I found out that Room 2 (Kaitlyn, Jessica and Rachael) had no power either! So I gave them the solar lantern and went back to the office. I got a candle and solar flashlight since the other 2 rooms had the solar lanterns and started gathering things for tomorrow in the candlelight. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo in the dark 😦 But the power came back quite soon….
Anyway – that was the excitement today – in addition to the snake holding at Kalimba Farms!! 🙂