After lots of wonderful downtime with USA visitors, it was back to work in a major way. I have wanted to leave knowing I have given it my all, so I have squeezed about 6 months of work into the last few weeks. Ironically, just as I am leaving it seems all programs are clicking. I am encouraged that Peace Corps will place another Peace Corps Volunteer in Chifusa area to continue the development.
The second week of July, I partnered with the Health Center to train 20 Community Health Workers. The group, long in need of training, each donated maize and 10,000zkw (about $3) to cover food costs for the week. Thanks to Danielle Vaughns and crew we were able to hand out pens and notebooks to each person. The local church allowed us to meet at the church for the 5 days, and a local woman volunteered to cook nshima for us each day. It was incredible to see the community come together to make this workshop happen. Each person left knowing that they were completely competent and able to put together a training for themselves. We covered the 6 major health thrusts of Zambia-Malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS, Water and Sanitation, Safe Motherhood, and Child Health/Nutrition. I tested each person at the end of the workshop and all passed with flying colors. I was so proud! I really believe that our community is going to see an overall improvement in health based on the knowledge these people have received. With over 8,000 people in our catchment area, it is impossible for the Rural Health Center to manage the health concerns. We absolutely have to partner with these volunteer workers in order to take care of the community.
It wasn’t all business though, I definitely had quite a few laughs. Clarifying the difference between sermons (given by clergy everywhere) and semen (spreading HIV everywhere) had me just about in tears. They really do sound alike! The nurse I was teaching with kept saying “Oak her”, and I couldn’t figure out what she meant…Mad Gab skills kicked in and suddenly it was obvious she was saying “occur”. I have to laugh at these language blips as only the Lord and all my village know how badly I have butchered Chitonga over the last two years!
It was humbling to get to be a part of this workshop. People were walking over 6 miles each morning and evening to come and learn. Women were writing notes while babies were breastfeeding, giving presentations with little ones strapped to their backs. It was such a fulfilling experience to partner with these people.
Pray for these 20 men and women as they teach and treat their villages!