So, as the Community Health Coordinator for Village Hopecore International (VHI) I am conducting trainings for our partner and associate groups in malaria prevention and proper treatment as well as distributing mosquito nets. To ensure that people are using their nets properly and actually using them on all the beds in their households I have been visiting them. These visits are a wonderful way to connect with people and as our associate groups have not been funded it’s a great way to keep connected. I am learning a lot about the general health and well being of people through these visits and a survey. It’s interesting to visit a home that may have dirt floor and a non cemented pit latrine but they have a variety of crops and many different animals, on the other hand you visit homes with flush toilets inside and cemented floors but little in terms of crops and animals. Wealth is not always apparent.
The past several days I have been visiting the homes of four groups (48people) in a village called Munga. This area is farther down the valley from Chogoria and too hot for tea so many of them grow coffee. We have also had some heavy rains the past few days making it a bit treacherous driving. Nevertheless, I have been given so much food not just during our visits but to take home I feel like I should have a party. I was given a rabbit yesterday, which I had to cook today. This is my first time cooking rabbit so I hope it tastes good. J
I am especially impressed with these people I am visiting and each day I am with them, I visit about 8 homes. Generally, I am greeted by the chairperson for the group and as we visit each home an entourage develops so that by the time for lunch there might as well be a party. I don’t feel entirely deserving of all the gifts of appreciation, but I am happy to be a part of something that brings people together to enjoy fellowship and recognize how much they mean to each other. I was serenaded by the group today and at the last house was compelled to dance with its owner as she and her friends sang.
I am constantly reminded of the good work that VHI is doing in terms of community education. Last week I read an article in the newspaper about a man who committed suicide after visiting an HIV clinic. One can presume his HIV test came back positive and he could not bear the disease, which to so many seems to be a death sentence. VHI funds groups of people who are all HIV positive. The only stipulation we have is that people who are HIV positive working with us, must be taking Anti-Retro Viral drugs. I read a story about one man in one of these groups who lives with his wife and two dependants and through a Village Hopecore loan has been able to grow a business of breeding bulls. He is well respected and has been able to maintain his health to provide for his family.Today, I met a woman who left her husband and children to live with her parents. As I asked her more questions and if she has been tested for HIV she seemed quite nervous. Eventually she confided that she is HIV positive. When she told us she left her husband because of problems I wonder if he cast her out because of her being HIV positive. This is a common practice here where men ask their wives to go to the clinics to be tested. When their wives come back positive them men throw them out and ignore the fact that they are probably also positive. This woman is not much younger than my own mother. You can imagine what a strong impression this made on me. But I am hopeful. She has united with people in her community through the Village Hopecore group and I believe she will be encouraged by their support and that of VHI. The work here in the words of KK Mugambe is to eradicate poverty both physically as well as mentally. When one does not have an idea of hope, no matter how much material wealth they may come by means nothing in the long run…