We didn’t end up posting yesterday. . . whoops. We got home from grocery shopping and passed out around 7 o’clock. We came to around 11, but decided it wasn’t worth waking up. Yesterday was a great day though! Elle and I began our morning by visiting Saku Bita. This super tiny community, south-east of Livingstone, is just outside of Linda. It took us a while to drive out there, because there is no direct route that a car can travel through to get there, so we had to circle around the back side. By the end, though, we walked through the entire village and met up with other groups in Linda.
Of all the villages I’ve visited so far, Saku Bita is by far the poorest. Though, they tell us some of the further villages we will be visiting next week are much worse. Some brick buildings, the occasional concrete one, but mostly mud huts. We began by visiting a man who had tuberculosis last year. His cough has returned with no sign of leaving, so we referred him to the clinic for some medications. It was wild, because this man was skin and bones. He lives by himself in a small mud hut about 10 minutes away from the community, and only leaves to use the restroom. We also gave his sister some medications to help settle her stomach, because her loss of appetite is resulting in her having severe dizziness and even passing out.
Next we visited a women with a severe cervical infection. Although she has had tests sent to the capital, Lusaka, multiple times, there are still no results and no options except to remain in bed. It was super sad, because she is very young (20’s), and the only way I imagine they feasibly fix her ailment, would require her to travel to the capital and have surgery. Quite honestly, I don’t see that happening any time soon, so I have no idea what can be done for her. It is very unfortunate. On a brighter note, we visited a man who had been severely burned on his left side. His left arm, left stomach region, left hip and leg were scorched. Luckily, over the last year, caregivers from our organization have provided adequate care so that a majority of his wounds have been healed. He only has a small wound on his hip that we cleaned and dressed. It was nice to see that the work we are doing does pay off. It just takes time.
Following that visit, we saw two men with swollen joints, and a women with what appeared to be the beginning of leprosy. She had large quantities of sores that were forming on her hands and feet, and they were beginning to burst. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do in this situation, so we cleaned her wounds, put on ointment and lotion, bandaged them, then referred her to the clinic. We then visited a women who only a week ago suffered a crocodile bite on her left leg. This was tragic to see. She had large wounds on her foot, calf, knee and thigh. A white mass was protruding from the back of her foot, which we can only assume is what remains of her calcaneal tendon. We cleaned and dressed her wounds. There is an image above of the wrap after we set the dressings. There was a glimmer of hope, though. On the inner side of her upper thigh, large scratches have already healed. Although I highly doubt that she will ever be able to walk correctly again, I do have hope that she can avoid infection.
We then walked the remainder of the way to Linda, and met up with other volunteers to get back for lunch. After lunch, all of us medical interns (four of us from BYU), sat down with our two managers to discuss the plans they have for the remainder of our stay. Unbenounced to us, we aren’t going to be following our current schedule for the remainder of our stay. In fact, we will be doing things completely different from here on out. In the mornings, we will continue to visit the villages and provide home based care, but in the afternoons, we will be taking on new “intern” roles. I will discuss more of these roles in later posts, but they include developing surveys and meeting with local politicians and experts to gain a deeper understanding of the perceptions of nutrition, medicine, etc. here in Zambia. We will then take this information and develop workshops to teach people about topics of our choice, and then we will teach people. I’m pretty excited! We spent the rest of the afternoon developing a survey, then we crashed after grocery shopping.
So there you have it! The first day of being an official intern and a small glimpse into what we will be doing the remainder of our time here.
Also. The second picture shows a small group of girls that just came from one of our volunteer activities. The caregiver who accompanied us through Saku Bita, told us that the trees above them are the elephant’s favorite. So that’s cool.