Awakening this morning in rural Zambia is like a scene from “Swiss Family Robinson”. Imagine lying in bed under a thatched roof, birds calling from the surrounding trees, crickets chirping from below all while a cool breeze enters the window. You have a small glimpse os this part of Africa.
Our day began with a quick and bountiful breakfast followed by a tour of the FCE compound which is our host for the first leg of the mission. The FCE is a self-sustaining school, farm, orchard, and wood shop begun at this site some 20 years ago. They have built this facility from the ground up using the old tried and true principles of the Zambian culture and in so doing have returned these native skills to the surrounding communities.
After completing our tour we boarded the bus for our trip to the Copperbelt Polytechnic Institute. Here we provided our program of “Helping Babies Breathe” to a large group of nursing and midwifery students. As the students moved through the various training stations we witnessed their eagerness to learn these skills.
We were than off to the Arthur Davidson Children’s Hospital. We were blessed to meet with many members of the facility and deliver a wide variety of much need supplies. Several of the nurses were trained in previous trips and are now sharing this knowledge and training with new staff members. We had a quick tour of the NICU to see how their facility operates.
We rounded out our day with a visit to the Child Life Touch orphanage. We had such a wonderful time with the children who are being cared for within this home. We were entertained with hymns in both English and their native language. A truly rewarding experience as these children performed with giving hearts. We then were able to enjoy playing camp songs and games in the yard as the cool of the evening settled. The enthusiasm of the children was such a Blessing. Melissa has been visiting this orphanage for 10 years and have witnessed these children grow and thrive.
My word for the day was resourceful. In each interaction and stop throughout the day I was impressed by how resourcefulness of Zambia’s people. In the propagation of orchards, to the lifesaving skills to save the tiniest and most vulnerable babies or the raising of Zambia’s next generation the people demonstrate resourcefulness!
Today was other full day. We started the morning with a wonderful breakfast prepared by the FCE staff and then headed back to Ndola. 1st we greeted the Minister of Health. Then we headed to Roan School of Midwifery. We demonstrated a scenario from Helping Babies Breath and then had the students practice using the bulb syringe and ambio bags. The students picked up the skills very quickly which is a testament to the wonderful training that they are receiving. They have a terrific practice lab to do simulations.
After lunch we headed to Thomson Hospital. We received a tour of the maternity ward. The nurses at the hospital have amazing ingenuity using the resources available. Being the IBCLC on the team, I was glad to see the 10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding posted on the wall of the ward and many of the women were doing a wonderful job feeding their little ones.
Lastly we visited chilabula farm. Right after arriving, it started to pour. Rain on a metal roof is extremely loud, especially when you are trying to understand soft spoken Zambians. We gave eye glasses to the people who needed them, did blood pressure checks and sang songs with the children.
On the way back to FCE we stopped at Leonard’s farm. He runs a camp for children during the school breaks and operates a farm. The farm helps the children learn about responsibility, take care of the land and make money to go to camp. Leonard has a great low ropes course including a zip line that was made with items he found.
Today definitely brought me back to my days working at Kenbrook Bible Camp- the ropes course, singing camp songs with the kids and seeing their smiling faces. We are now off to bed because we have an early flight in the morning.
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