By the time we approached the end of the first week, I was clearly exhausted. It wasn’t clear to me then, mind you, but when I look at the photos for Thursday and Friday, well, the low number of photos alone tells me I was tired. What photos I did take are not good at all – well, most of them aren’t. I took so few photos on these two days that I’ve combined them into a single post – but still with separate sets and slideshows.
Thursday morning we went back into Ndirande to visit Malabata Health Centre, a BSHDC owned and operated private health-care clinic. This was our first glimpse of health-care without doctors and it was staggering. We saw the maternity ward and a new in-patient care wing. Beyond the complete lack of doctors, a chronic shortage of medications makes caring for patients extremely difficult if not impossible.
For lunch and the rest of the afternoon, we were back at BSHDC headquarters in Blantyre talking about HIV/AIDS strategies and the impact of BSHDC programs. There are so many factors contributing to the epidemic – from health infrstructure to cultural traditions to illiteracy to poverty – that it is difficult to imagine how the BSHDC staff feel that they can make any difference at all. One thing is clear, however, they do believe they can make a difference and are passionate about doing just that.
On Friday morning, the group split up again to visit two Community-Based Childcare Centres. Similar to the children’s corners, groups of children played educational games, learned songs, practiced English and Chichewa and, most importantly, had a meal of nsima porridge made from maize flour.
Friday afternoon was spent packing and preparing for our home visits. Each member of our group had been paired with a family from one of the congregations in the Blantyre City Presbytery and we were due to be picked up in the late afternoon. More on that experience in the next post.
To view the Day Six set go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carmichaels/sets/72157629779027540/detail/
To view the Day Seven set go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carmichaels/sets/72157629780346890/detail/