I’ve been without wifi for several days now, so I’m having to catch up with my blog. I’ve got plenty of time today because now to top off my sunburn, cold and scabies I’ve got a bit of jelly-belly…..anyway, more about that later.
Keshab works with the volunteer programme I’m with, SVPI. He is a local community leader, over the past couple of decades he has worked with several rural communities to help make them more self sufficient. He helps promote education and provided essential resources like access to clean water and has bought goats for the villages.
On Thursday we went to look at one of the villages he has been supporting. There was a blind lady living here and he had encouraged the villagers to support each other and this lady where possible. Whilst we looked around several villagers carefully followed us, intrigued by the sudden prevalence of foreign people. It was a really beautiful and remote village, with chickens, goats and cows living harmoniously with the people. There were vegetables growing everywhere even on the roof tops!! I loved these coke bottles that had been used as plant pots ☺️
After this we hopped back on the bus and went to where the local day centre is for small children and a school for slightly older kids too. Keshab explained how important these facilities are as many of the men go into other local towns to labour and women will look after the crops and animals or also go and labour. Obviously having a day centre and school provides a decent environment for the children to be in whilst there parents are busy. When we arrived they all greeted us with little flowers.
I went into the day centre where the SVPI group were donating some toys and balloons. I am a bit unfamiliar with children and felt pretty awkward but they were super cute, especially once they got in to playing with balloons.
After hanging out with the kids we prepared the work stations in the garden area between the school and day centre. We had a tooth brushing station, hand washing station and a first aid station. Student nurses and doctors worked at the first aid station to assess small wounds, injuries and health issues and treat them when possible or refer on if necessary to the hospital. I cleaned a few wounds and patched them up as best as I could, feeling grateful for my previous experience in community nursing, which was mainly wound dressings. I also spotted a bad case of scabies now that I’m an expert in it 😉. A lot of children had very sore ears too, it seems they don’t get them washed often or thoroughly and this would lead to infected areas of skin. One of the medical students showed us how to create a draining instrument for ears filled with wax, using just tissues.
Some volunteers helped distribute tooth brushes and encouraged the children to have a good scrub around their mouths. Other volunteers worked at the hand wash station using bars of soap and jugs of water to clean the children’s hands. And plenty of people had fun playing with the children outside on their break. I believe some volunteers who are teachers worked in the classroom reading books about dinosaurs too!
It was a very varied day. When we were finished we waved goodbye and hopped on a bus to a stream where we had a picnic in the jungle. I had rice and spicy vegetables sat on my rucksack whilst people squealed with grasshoppers hopping all over them.
Friday and Saturday were going to be days of hiking up a hill to a very remote village to set up a health camp and provide educational discussions about women’s and men’s health. When we got back we had to dash into town to buy some essentials (for me this was an attractive new pair of sandals 😔 ). Then it was time to pack our bags and have an early night. This is when I saw my hearty sunburn on my neck, let’s just hope it burnt any scabies bugs if there were any remaining 😉