Traveled To 84 Countries On 6 Continents Building A Global Movement Of People Who Are Changing The World. Trying To Make Sense Of How Everything Fits Together In This Big World Of Ours. Now I'm Living In Sydney Like A "Real Person" Working In Charity Fundraising. It's Very Strange, So I'm Writing All About It. Read My Stories. Hopefully Laugh.
01 October 2014
Health Programs Deep In The Countryside
Tue 30 Sep: Going far beyond a paved road
Imagine driving somewhere really remote. From there, drive another 10 kilometres deeper into the remoteness. Are you there yet? Great. Now head another 10 kilometres away from there. Perfect. Now you have some sense of just how remote our visit today felt. Our hour long drive took us deep into a valley full of green tea farms. One of the most remote villages in northern Rwanda, the valley school is responsible for educating 1,700 children and it felt like we met almost every single one.
We started our morning in the local health centre, where we were able to watch firsthand new born babies given every vaccination under the sun—polio, measles, mumps, typhoid, tetanus, tuberculosis and a few others as well! In fact, every child is vaccinated against more potential infections and diseases free of charge by the government than we are in Australia, Europe or North America! Unlike at home where we have the luxury of privacy, here the children were all together with their mothers, the doctors, a small army of 27 foreigners and anyone else who managed to wander in from nearby. We were all marvelling in just how fortunate we are to have such a modern and relatively luxurious medical system.
From here we broke into three groups and had the opportunity to experience ‘a day in the life’ of some of the students in the local community. We visited their homes where their families welcomed us in with open arms, bug hugs and a kind offering of anything they had in the home. We were confronted with the stark reality that a family of eight can often live in a three-room home, sleeping shoulder to shoulder in one room while another is reserved for animals and a third is for cooking and eating. We carried water a great distance to cook, drink and feed the animals, tiled a small garden (which was exhausting) and got the best sense possible of what day-to-day life is like here, once again being reminded of how much we take basic needs—food, water and shelter—for granted, without even realising it.
After a box lunch in the school it was time to take to the classrooms, learning with and trying to teach to the middle and high school kids at the school. Their complex physics and maths work, however, left us wishing we had freshened up our minds before arriving! And like all great days here in Rwanda we finished with a highly competitive game of soccer, where the school fielded their best players and absolutely destroyed us. It wasn’t pretty.
It’s early to bed now as we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow learning all about the devastating genocide of 1994, that not only rocked their nation but the African continent and the world.