I wrote you after our first class, in the Copperbelt province of Zambia. Today I'm writing you from Livingstone, in the south. After two weeks of teaching, we are taking a well deserved break. Let me tell you a bit about every HBB session we had.
Before describing the sessions, you have to know that Melissa has been in Zambia 6 times prior to this trip and she has a well established reputation in some places. Every year she goes, she finds new spots for the following year. Most importantly, she has an amazing ground person, Leonard, who helps her organizing all her trips prior to the group's arrival. Every day has its own schedule and some room for the unforeseen circumstances. The rules were to be flexible, adaptable and have a good sense of humour!
You may remember that we had our first HBB class at a missionary's lodge. We trained more or less twenty people there. Our second training day was in a district hospital, where junior doctors and nurses were learning resuscitation. We created a teaching program on the spot based on their needs. It was an HBB/NRP/plus class! There were more or less 12 docs and 12 nurses. The third HBB class was under the threes with a group of people that had already been trained in the past. A dozen came for a refresh. Amongst them, few have trained others so far. One came with a registry of some births that she attended with the HBB equipment! There were 3 people that had never received the training that day. The next training was in a little village where initially only three midwives or traditional birth attendants were present. The word of our presence rapidly spread to the surrounding huts and at the end of the afternoon, 11 certificates were given. These last two trainings were done with an interpreter who was sometimes a trainee herself.
Our last 175 participants were from the southern province. We trained them in a hospital in construction. We were actually in the future OR. We lost electricity one day! We had to teach in a hallway by the windows! We had very busy days. We were at maximum capacity twice. 8 neonatalies, 8 trainers, 6-7 trainees per group! We taught in English to an extremely diversified audience ranging from administrators interested in the program to nutritionists who happen to also deliver babies! The day we left, they organized a training in the afternoon that they led all by themselves!
I have already told you about the schedule of an HBB class here. We did the same on every occasion. It took from 3 to 4 hours each time. Sometimes we had two classes per day.
I must say that this trip was not only focussed on HBB. Melissa founded a non for profit organization to help the tiny people! We ran a few clinics where we would do physical exams, try on reading glasses and changing wound's dressings for instance. It may sound scary at first sight, but it did not require a lot of experience/expertise to do these things. We also visited orphanages where Melissa goes every time she comes here.
Most HBB trainers and Zambians that we met have a Christian background, but it was clearly not a requirement to join the team. Divas and flat ironers were more likely to be disappointed!
Here are some pictures:
I really loved my trip. I would strongly recommend it to any of you. It's a good first experience in Africa if you have never travelled that far before. Leonard takes great care that we sleep in places that are comfy and safe. It's obviously not 5 stars hotels, but I can't find any issues with my current experience. I saw worst than you can imagine in my prior trips! It's also a financial commitment as there is no funding. Your donation covers your flight, most of your meals and all your accommodation. Your barely have out of pocket expenses. If you would like to ask me more about it, I would be extremely happy to chat about my trip and put you in contact with Melissa. If life brings me back there, we may even go together!
See you soon
Tiny People Matter 5901 Jonestown Road P.O. Box 6034 Harrisburg, PA 17112
Email:TPMInternational@gmail.com Phone: 717.608.4267