Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Clinic Bound


(Feeling greeat today)

Today was another good day of learning.

I was able to go with Katie to an HIV/Aids clinic with 3 adults and two little children, David and Hanna. Hanna was the little girl sitting on Kathleen’s lap the day before. We learned today that Hanna was abandoned yesterday after the meeting. She was sent home with Foster that afternoon and he thought it was just for the night because he was taking her to the clinic today. He went to her home this morning to get a change of clothes for Hanna and her guardian gave him a bag of clothes of which Foster realized was all her clothes. They had no intention of taking her back.

The truth here is that many young children have been orphaned and find themselves being taken care of by a guardian, most of whom cannot afford what it takes to feed and clothe another child. When a child becomes HIV positive, the cost of the medication gets added to the monthly costs of caring for a little one. So they often are abandoned once they are infected.

The ride to the clinic had the 7 of us piled into Wes and Katie’s truck, bumping along over rough roads for about 65 km.

When we drove up to the clinic there was a big sign posted outside on a post. NO HOOTING, NO HAWKING, NO DRUMMING. I wished I would have taken a picture. I forgot my camera today. Hooting is to honk your car horn and hawking is the equivalent of selling. Drumming takes place all over the place. It can happen on the street, in back yards, at schools and every church. They can start up at any time of the day or night, and usually is accompanied by lots of dancing and laughter and song. They kept me awake a couple of nights so far. Cool, but it’s still noise at 3 in the am.

Once we arrived at the clinic, we found out that their machine for testing the blood cell count was on the fritz, and so we were unable to provide the needed care that these 5 were hoping to receive that day. It will have to happen Thursday at another clinic.

I was treated to a tour of the clinic and meet some great people that served there. A gentleman explained the whole process to me that a person needs to go through to be diagnosed, then treated, then educated and then cared for long term. Turns out this machine that does the testing for them has been down for three weeks. When it’s up, they test an average of 5 per day. So the need is huge for this machine to be operational, and yet it remains broken. Sadness; frustration.

So we fed our passengers and returned, bumping along the rough 65kms back to Nkonya.


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