Saturday, June 15, 2013

Life, Death, and Development

Isaya Mwila (front right) Longi (left) and Yusto (background) helped explain the projects in Mufindi to the big crowd at the goat races charity event on June 1st, 2013.

This was certainly one of the more memorable beginnings to any month we've had in a long time. June 1st marked a charity event where 4 members of the NGO came to Dar es Salaam to celebrate the developments of our income generating projects that have helped members of our community stand on their own, and lift themselves out of poverty. 
Isaya Mwila from the Children's Village; Yusto Chumi from Igoda Primary School library; and Longi and Maria from the sewing school named 'Threads of Hope'; all came to talk about the projects in Mufindi. The event was a smash hit as there were many sales, and the word was spread about the NGO!

Sunday, everyone was happy to be back in Mufindi after a long day of travel, and ready for work again the following day. The 3rd started with a round-up of all projects, with a progress report of every building project. At the Children's Village, a small clinic is being built, along with a house for Dr. Leena Pasanen who is moving here full-time, a nursery school is being built to open next year, and an administrative office is under construction. In the afternoon, the guardians all met for their weekly guardians meeting, to discuss issues and make announcements. That night, a baby boy was born at Mdabulo. His Father is a former child from the Children's Village who has started an independent life for himself in the village. He has entered Fatherhood perhaps earlier than we would have liked (20 years old) but is ready to accept the responsibility as an adult.
Tuesday was CTC day (Care and Treatment) at Mdabulo and so, returned volunteers Dr. Will Metcalfe and Dr. Vikki Milne with Jenny Peck visited, and also said hello to the new arrival. Just as they all arrived, another Mother had gone into labour, and the Doctors and Jenny gave a helping hand in that delivery! There was a lot of new life happening in Mufindi!

Doctors Metcalfe and Milne took a tour of the Children's Village on Wednesday the 5th, and paid special attention to two children Nache and Meshack who need to be started on line 2 medication of Anti-Retroviral Treatment, as they have grown immune to the first line. Stacey Droll was supposed to have returned with Zainabu and care-giver Sijali this day, but news from Dar came that Zainabu had contracted Malaria. Zainabu has been at the children's Village for about 18 months. she is 17 years old, is blind, and suffers from epilepsy. The following day brought the news that would shape the rest of the week.

At around 10am Thursday the 6th, Zainabu passed away. She had gone to Dar seeking treatment for her broken leg brought on by Osteoporosis, and had received very poor treatment from various health centers.

The body came back to Mufindi on Friday, and the funeral was set for Saturday. All of us had been less than a week removed from the joy and fun of the developments from the charity event, and the new life in the form of the newborns, and now we had to work through the passing of a child.
The funeral actually had a beautiful service, as led by a Catholic priest with time given to Isaya, Charles, Rehema, and others from the Children's Village to say a few words. Everything said by members of the Children's Village was well received by everyone in attendance. It was great to see the service led with such poise and grace, as delicate issues were directly addressed such as the improvement of treatment of people with disabilities in this rural community. Equally as important as the good work from the speeches of the members of the Children's Village, perhaps was the manner in which the ideas were received by the community. Everyone is invested in the betterment of their own community, and all ideas are welcomed. Zainabu was remembered respectfully. Her service also featured sentiments from the community itself, as several people suggested we try harder to contribute as a community to someone's health while they are still alive rather than just contributing to funeral costs. It was nice to hear this coming from the community. It seems the community is trying to lead itself into more positive development.

Indeed there are some great developments on the horizon here in Mufindi, with some work left to be done for sure. Now is the time however, that it's own people need to stand and affect change for themselves. It is great to see that local leadership is stepping into the fore.

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