|On the "path" to Gongoli Village|
For the past 9 months, I've considered myself to be living in "the bush" of Africa--middle of nowhere, a good 45 minute walk from the nearest "town" aka bigger village, rural Africa. But on Saturday, I was introduced to the real bush. Sister Meriline and I went for mobile clinic in a place called Gongoli village. It was a full, busy, exhausting nine hours, but one of the most rewarding days I've had since I've been in South Sudan.
|Washing and fetching water at the multipurpose water hole|
|Some patients waiting in line|
Then we started the clinic. I played doctor for the day and recorded the patient's symptoms, assessed, diagnosed, and prescribed medications. The supplies we had were very limited because we had to carry everything, but we made due. We had just over 90 patients come, a pretty good turnout for 4 hours of seeing patients. The most common illnesses that I saw were intestinal worms (no surprise there), malaria, fungal infections, anemia, and musculoskeletal pain from working in the fields all day. Sister and I took a break about half way through and gave a health awareness talk about the water they are using (after I saw the hole where they were fetching from and the quality of water) and how to properly filter or boil it to prevent sicknesses. Then we started to ask about the demographics of the area and what access they have to resources. There are over 200 families in the village--making well over 1,000 people, the majority of whom are children. These people have no access to healthcare, no schools in the area, and no support from the county. If the kids want to go to school, they have to walk 2 hours each way to our school which is the closest to their village. So the vast majority of kids there were just running around all day not attending school. It was interesting to see because most of the places I go here, usually a few people speak English, but here nobody spoke a word of English., obviously from a lack of exposure and formal education. The same issue occurs for healthcare. They would have to walk to our health center to get any medical attention at all. And when you are sick, a walk 2 hours each way just isn't feasible. I was speaking to the chief, through a local translator who came with us, and he was telling me that they are petitioning the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to get these services in Gongoli village; however, the county has yet to respond or provide any kind of support. It was interesting to hear about their problems and struggles, but then to see how they are coming together as a community to try to fix them and improve their quality of living.
|Many people we saw were small kiddos|