Our team arrived late in the evening after 3-6 flights and 48 hours, depending on the team member’s home base. The team of 12 from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were accompanied by 25 bags containing medical supplies and food for the Mission. Upon arriving at the airport there was a frenzy of searching for luggage which could have been in any corner of the airport, thankfully it wasn’t that large!
The luggage and team piled into 3 vehicles with most of the luggage piled on top of the van. The 2+ hour drive to Zinvie was only partially paved. The unpaved road had many craters caused by the rainy season which had just ended so, it was a slow and dusty drive.
The heat here is very humid at 31c but feels 40! Coming from winter in Canada, I am not complaining!!
We headed to bed around 2 am and many team members rose early to go to the local church for daily mass. After breakfast, we had a tour of the hospital compound which gave us all a good idea of where the various operatories and work areas are located and equipment available.
We met many of the staff and patients during our tour who all seemed very happy to see the team. It was interesting to see the reaction of the young children who do not get to see white faces very often. One little boy we met, “ Andro”, who was about 18 months seems scared of the new visitors and started to cry. His mother comforted him and gave out a laugh as if to say that he was not familiar with all the white or “ghost” face
I found it fascinating to see family members staying with the patient and receiving care and cooking for them. There is a separate communal kitchen work area fueled by wood and fire.
In the natal unit, grandmothers are sitting with their daughters and grandchildren on their beds providing care that would typically be provided by nurses.
There is still much work still to do here and I am grateful for the opportunity to lend a hand in anyway to help these lovely people.