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Monday, November 16, 2015

The Reason I Have To Win Kapya's Love Again

This month we've had a World Race team with us again. Last year was our first chance to work with AIM and the World Racers, and they are lots of fun to have here at Kazembe Orphanage.

It's great to have six extra pairs of hands around for those extra projects that never seem to get done. In anticipation of their arrival I jotted down ideas over the last few months of things that could get tackled. Things like inventory the storeroom, test the kids in their physical development, write up sentences for spelling words, etc. 

At the very top of the list was to get all our youngest kids medical records in order. Many times when we receive babies into the orphanage their health is not all that great and I hesitate to give them too many immunizations. I want them to receive them eventually, but I prefer for them to be on better immune-system footing.

This was the perfect time to get this taken care of. Two of the girls took all the kids' immunization cards, health notebooks and assorted papers and got them organized and listed in a spreadsheet.

We have immunization cards for the children which are issued by the government, and then we also have health logs in notebooks for them. The way clinics and hospitals work here is that when you visit them for the first time they ask you to purchase a notebook. This becomes your medical file. They write a number on the top and give you a scrap of cardboard with the same number. This is your ID for that notebook. Every time you visit that clinic or hospital you must bring the correct piece of cardboard so they can locate your 'file'. Trouble is that those books and/or scraps of cardboard are frequently misplaced and there is no running record. Or if you visit another hospital there is no way for doctors to know which treatment you've already had or what your medical history is.


My solution for this was to create my own notebook for each child and we take this with us wherever we go. So any tests run, doctors notes, etc. all go into the same notebook and travel with the child. It works so much better. (Unless I'm not there to supervise and a doctor from one clinic tears out the test results from another hospital. Grrr!)

Anyway, we discovered that several of the children and babies were missing immunizations and needed to get caught up. Fifteen children to be exact!

So a clinic day was organized and coordinated with our local rural health center. At the last moment Tom had to go somewhere else so we went down on foot. It's not a bad walk--about 15-20 minutes and the kids were very excited to go to the BOMA (town center). Little did they know what we had in store for them.....

I did try to explain ahead of time what would go on. "A doctor is going to put medicine in you to protect you from diseases." But they had no idea what that meant. I also promised them a treat when we were done.


Right after nap time we set out to walk to the clinic. The kids all chose partners. We made sure a grown up was in the front and out back and we were off!




When we arrived at the clinic I was happy to see that they were expecting us and we could get right down to business. I had a spreadsheet with the kids' names and the immunizations they needed and the doctor and I made a plan on which ones they'd get that day. We also decided to give HIV tests to some of the kids who had not yet been tested so we could have a definite answer. Not that we expected any of them to be positive, but it is a possibility here and one we definitely want to rule out.



Mary sat out in the waiting area with the kids (we gave them all Rescue Remedy to calm them down) and nannies, and two of the other volunteers came into the examining room with me and we began. 



 We started with the two oldest kids which may have been a mistake. Lizzy did alright. She just needed one shot and an HIV test, which is just a little prick on the finger--similar to a blood sugar test. Jack, however had recently had minor surgery and he knew exactly what needles feel like and he was having none of it! I made the mistake of saying the HIV test was simple and just like a malaria test (which the kids get frequently), but Jack misunderstood and fought tooth and nail not to get pricked. He kept shouting, "I don't want mah-yahr-eeya (malaria)." Ooops!

All the kids in the waiting room could hear Jack's screams and cries and their eyes grew larger and larger as they wondered what on earth was in store for them. Mary kept leading them in happy songs singing extra loud to dry to drown out Jack's cries. 

We continued to bring kids in one by one and for the most part they all did pretty well. Naomi (4) was the funniest. She walked in on her own power but just stood by the table with the largest eyes I've ever seen. No matter what I said I couldn't break her deer-in-the-headlights stare. Getting the shots was probably anti-climatic after what she was expecting. Poor girl!

Leah (3) was our absolute star! She didn't make a single sound despite getting two shots and the finger prick. 
Kapya and Humphrey (9 months) had to get two shots and they were not happy about it at all. I cuddled Kapya after to try to help calm her down and she responded by vomiting straight down the front of my shirt. She continued to cry whenever she saw me for a few days. I still don't know if she's completely forgiven me.  

Apparently Kapya loves Mary though!

The next day was pretty bad. Despite having given all the kids Tylenol, they still limped around the property and were mopey. At one point I saw Lizzy (5) leading Grace (4) up the hill to the dining room. They were both limping, but Lizzy was obviously taking care of Grace. They looked like two wounded warriors dragging home after a distant battle. 

Thankfully they are all better now and had recovered sufficiently to enjoy the birthday party a couple days later. That's an upcoming story. Stay tuned.....

And! The really good news?? No one tested positive for HIV!! A really wonderful thing!

Exactly Six Years Ago: Miscellaneous Musings Sometimes I forget all these adventures!
(Almost) Six Years Ago: Mayflies and..... (related to the above post and so relevant to this time of year)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Clean UP! Everybody! Everywhere!

Last month we got a letter from the District Council informing us that there would be a city wide clean up day to prepare for the upcoming Independence Day celebration. They told us that a church would be assigned to clean the orphanage property and then the District Commissioner would come around to inspect the work done. 
For this reason we opted out of the activity (being used for a photo op for someone who didn't even do the work didn't appeal to us much), but decided that the kids should take part for community unity. 

Johnny (9) raking the leaves, dry grass,  and baby mangoes in the courtyard

Unfortunately we got confused about the dates, and ended up doing the clean up day a week later than the rest of the village, but the kids didn't know that, so it's all good.

We decided to make it into a game. School was canceled for the day and a special afternoon movie was promised as well as a Field Day the next day for the 2 oldest grades.

On the morning of the Clean Up Day, Mary and I made lists of possible jobs and figured out how much time each job would take. We divided the jobs into 30 minute increments and wrote the jobs on little slips of paper.

Elias (11) checking out his new job. He's concentrating, not complaining, I promise.
I put all the job slips into my popcorn bucket and the kids could pull out a job to do. They only had to work at that job for 30 minutes, but if their job supervisor saw them slacking off their time would be increased in 10 minute increments. When their 30 minute job was done they got the little slip signed by their supervisor and then delivered it to me and pulled a new job slip.

Sandra (8) helping check if markers work as we decluttered the classroom

The idea was that the first graders would pull two slips out and the second graders would pull out three. Once they'd turned all their slips in to me they were free! Work day would be done!

Jack and Ana (both 5) sweeping the corridor around the courtyard.

We wanted the Kindergarten class to take part too so they worked with their nanny to clean their own bedroom, classroom and the hallways in that area.


One of the jobs was to cut the grass in the laundry area with scissors. Moriah (7) patiently cut away. 




All the kids worked really well. We had a couple who had their time extended, but for the most part everyone dug in and got the job done. It was a really good day!

That afternoon they all got to pile into our living room and sit on the rug to watch Astro Boy.

I hope we can make Clean Up Day an annual event so our kids can grow up seeing the value of a solid day's work. 


Just Over Two Years Ago: A Little Hump Day Humor This made me chuckle yet again!

Nearly Four Years Ago: Baby Bonanza Celebrated the birthday of two of these a couple days ago, and I can't believe they were ever that small!

Nearly Five Years Ago: San Diego Has Nothing on Us



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