Official opening of Classroom Number 2 at Nursery School in Mbita

After spending an adventurous Thanksgiving holiday at the Lake Nakuru Lodge, the group departed bright and early for Mbita…a beautiful fishing village on the shores of Lake Victoria.
The entire Mbita team was there to greet us and help us get settled in our hotel. The next morning we went to the site of the new community center/church to set up our first medical clinic in Mbita. We saw over 100 patients from the community. Most were suffering from malaria – we had to make many runs to the pharmacy to pick up enough medicine to treat everyone. Others complained of terrible coughs, rashes, stomach pains, and feminine issues. The TVE team did a great job seeing everyone that needed treatment. Following the clinic, we went with the Live Long Self Help Widows group to see their organic gardens, party rental company, tailoring business, and learn how to make soap. Everyone was so impressed with how professional and organized the widows were and how proud they were to show off their new businesses. That evening, Caroline and some of the women made us a fantastic meal at their home so we could share stories and watch soccer.
The next morning we made an early run to the pharmacy and almost bought them out of cough syrup, malaria meds, amoxyil, cipro, and ibuprofen. We went into Geera Village and set up the medical clinic in the nursery school…only after “officially” cutting the ribbon and unlocking the door to the second classroom. The team in Mbita did such a great job constructing the new classroom! With three medical stations and a pharmacy set up, we began seeing patients and didn’t stop until all 272 people waiting were seen by one of the nurses. Whew! What a day! The one case we just couldn’t fix was a poor teenage girl with chalk stuck in her ear. The nurses pulled out all the stops, but couldn’t get the chalk to budge. The girl wasn’t able to hear anything, so we had to refer her to the nearest hospital in hopes they had the tools needed to help her.

This trip to Mbita was especially emotional for me as I continue to grow closer and closer to one little girl, named Catherine. Cathy is HIV positive and was really sick when I first met her 2 years ago. Now that she is on ARV’s, I’ve seen a drastic change in her physically and mentally. She is a true diva -healthy, happy, and plump with a smile that will break your heart. The last 2 trips, as soon as Cathy spots me, she refuses to leave my side. It’s as though I have a little cherub shadow 🙂 In fact, the widows have renamed me “Mama Catherine.” The goodbye was difficult as I think she is still too young to understand why I must leave and why I can’t take her with me. The only thing that gives me solace is knowing I will return in a few months. This gives both of us something to look forward to…