Sorry for the late post, folks! After doing laundry last night at 7:30pm, we sat on our bed to “rest our yes” and ended up sleeping until 10:30pm! So instead of staying up much later, we went to bed because apparently we were tired! Why were we tired? Well, we had had a long day!
After breakfast, Braydan and I headed out to another community of Livingstone, Sakubita, for more Home Based Care Visits. We traveled first to the Linda Farm with Solomon and Olivia, and then Benny drove us practically over the river and through the woods to Sakubita. All of the roads outside of the main city of Livingstone are dirt roads, and these ones were especially bumpy. How the van made it through, I’ll never know, but after driving through the bush for a hot minute we made it to Sakubita.
Honestly, I was shocked. Intellectually, I knew it was possible to live in poorer circumstances than the people of Linda, but come on, it’s the 21st century right? How many people actually live in mud huts? Surprisingly, quite a few. Driving down the streets of Sakubita, the poverty of the community was very apparent. Many of the homes we drove by were mud huts, or if they were concrete and brick structures, many were dilapidated. The market looked as if one good wind would send all of the structures tumbling down. While I know this is a way of life for these people, it was humbling and saddening for me because it was obvious that drastic changes in economy and industry would be necessary in order for any help that we gave to have lasting impacts.
That isn’t to say that the work that we were doing wasn’t important and needed, but rather that for any real change to happen in the quality of life or healthcare that the people of Sakubita and Linda have access to, the severe poverty of those communities would have to be addressed. However, since I’m not an economist, I’m not going to dwell on it for the rest of this post.
In Sakubita, we saw a lot more variety of injuries/illnesses than we saw in Linda. While we mainly dressed wounds in Linda, Sakubita had some unique challenges of its own. For example, the first person that we saw was a man living separately from his family in a small mud hut that was sick with what is likely tuberculosis. He had been diagnosed with it last year and treated at least partially, but it seemed to have come back with a vengeance. The only thing we could do for him, unfortunately, is give him some ORS for the diarrhea he’d been having and some paracetamol for the back pain he had as well. A referral was given to see the clinic for testing and further treatment, but the closest clinic is in Linda, and he honestly probably couldn’t walk that far. Our parter medical volunteer team will likely visit him next week and we’ll see how to go from there.
After that, we saw a couple of patients with swollen joints from injuries and arthritis, one woman with possibly leprosy that we referred to the clinic for testing, a poor young woman with a terrible STI or vaginal infection of some sort (she’s waiting for test results to get back from the capital city, Lusaka, but she won’t get them for another month), and finally a woman who had been attacked by a crocodile. Yeah, that happens not infrequently here. For the crocodile wounds, we redressed the wounds, which spanned from her foot to her knee to her upper thigh, and gave some paracetamol again. Honestly, how much good the over the counter advil will do for the pain from a severed tendon I’m not sure, but she requested some, so obviously she thinks it’s doing something for her.
Once we returned, we had lunch and then a meeting with our African Impact coordinators, Sjeel and Kath. We discussed how our first week went, any changes we thought would be helpful, and then what to expect for the rest of our internship. For our internship, we’ll be working on some pretty cool projects, one of which I think will be of greatest worth to the people of Livingstone. Basically, the goal is to meet with some local (and one not local) specialists of things like nutrition, HIV prevention, women’s health, etc, and from there create our own workshops/presentations that we will then present to a couple of local school groups and a Young Adult group. Braydan and I discussed teaming up to do a preventative medicine and basic wound care workshop that we’re really excited about.
And you know the rest! With a wonderful dinner in our bellies and a pile of laundry washed, we crashed on our bed from a full day for work. This morning, we woke up early to get ready to go visit Victoria Falls, for which we will be leaving shortly. I tried to attach a picture of the Sakubita market, but I’m having troubles. If I’m ever able to get my phone to cooperate, I’ll post it with my next post. Until tomorrow (really tonight!) ¡adios!