In March, long-time Hands at Work in Africa anchor partner Westside King’s Church sent a team of congregation members to work with the Hands at Work Luanshya Service Centre supporting the launch of a new home-based care (HBC) organization in the community of Mulenga.
Below is the team’s report of their activities training HBC volunteers, mentoring youth, and generally participating in Zambian life.
TEAM ZAMBIA 2008
Westside King’s Church - Team Zambia: March 18 – April 8th, 2008
Team Leader: Dauna Geddes
Team Members: Kristen Brown, Cathy Orton, Dean Jones, Janelle Isaman, Alana Bray, Chelsey Morton, Sue Anderson, Jayne Ruckdashel, Jeremy Duncan, Stan Geddes, Richard Dahms
Destination: Mulenga village and Luanshya, Zambia, Kachele Village Farm
Mulenga suffers from a high rate of unemployment, noticeable poverty and malnourishment among the adults and children. Malaria is the most prevalent disease with AIDS being a close second. The usual living conditions consist of many families sharing a brick building that may or may not have covered windows and doors. Each family group has their own room or two within the building. Furniture is scarce and cooking is done outside in a dirt yard. Many homes had roofs that were falling apart which proved to be very difficult during the rainy season. There is no electricity in the average home and running water was unseen.
Some neighborhoods share a surface well during the rainy season but water becomes very scarce and consequently badly contaminated during the dry season. Water is available for purchase from Government-run deep well sights. (About 3 cents for 20 litres). Most yards had a makeshift latrine. Garbage and litter fill the pathways between houses. Nshema is the food staple with the addition of limited greens and vegetables and dried fish if the family can afford such luxury. The Bars were conspicuously filled early in the morning with the large numbers of unemployed males. Children were everywhere and often seemed somewhat neglected and unsupervised. There were few indications of children attending school. There is a large orphaned children population.
All but 4 of the HBC volunteers lived in Mulenga and supported themselves through various subsistence means. They were recruited from about 4 different local churches. The project is held together under the leadership of James Tembo, his close friend and neighbour Chanca, (who is a medical clerk in a Kitwe clinic) and a young local pastor named Blessings. They were enthusiastic leaders and excellent role models for the volunteers.
Prior to our coming they had begun a ministry of visiting, evangelizing and praying for the needy and ill in their community. They had gathered up the beginnings of a small emergency fund which they used to help people who were in desperate need for either food, medicine or health care. Members of our team made personal donations to this fund and the team officially left money in order for them to be supplied with two large locking storage cabinets so that once they found a place to house them they could have their own HBC resources in a safe place. We left HBC supplies with Mutende Home Based Care to be passed onto Mulenga once the cabinets were located somewhere.
In partnership with Hands at Work Luanshya Service Centre, train local volunteers and help implement Home Based Care in Mulenga Compound (Kitwe)
teach Better Choices to Youth Leaders in Roan
teach Housekeeping skills to Farm staff
British Airways – Calgary to London, London to Lusaka
Zambian airways – Lusaka to Ndola
Zambian Airways – Ndola to Lusaka to Livingstone
British Airways – Livingstone to Johannesburg, to London to Calgary
Team Accommodation and Food:
Kachele Village Farm: 15 minutes outside of Luanshya
Kachele consists of 4 bedrooms with sleeping capacity in beds of: 11 singles and one double.
There are light weight foam mattresses available for extras. The kitchen has a small stove, fridge and oven with basic cooking pots and dishes. There is a double sink for dishwashing. The living area is quite large with a dining table that can manage 12 people. Athough there is a lovely living room, there is no furniture for seating. There is an outside on a patio which overlooks an empty swimming pool and a large fenced yard. There are two bathrooms. The water is safe to drink from the tap. We did our own grocery shopping and cooking. Groceries are available in Luanshya at the Shop-Rite and in-season fresh vegetables and limited fruit is available at local markets. Norice, (the wife of one of the farm workers) was trained in housekeeping skills, laundry and basic cooking with the intention that she could continue to get paid by other teams who stay at the farm in the future. We were advised to pay her the equivalent of about $1 US per hour for housecleaning and $.35 per piece of laundry. We purchased a new mop, broom and all necessary cleaning supplies for her.
16 pax Local Taxi Bus – Paid standard rates plus waiting time
Occasional use of the Hands at Work truck.
Description of Team Activities:
1. Home Based Care (HBC)
18 HBC volunteers from Mulenga joined us at Kachele village for 3 ½ days. (6 men and 12 women). The Bunk rooms were cleaned and beds made up for them with bed linens and small pillow presents for each person. (Soap, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant). A local cook was hired to prepare three full meals a day for all of the volunteers. Our team purchased all of the groceries as per the cook’s food requests. She was assisted by Norice who was also paid an additional amount on top of her housekeeping duties in the farm house. Jayne Ruckdashel supported, encouraged and helped Agnes (the cook) and Norice wherever needed.
Before beginning the training, the team spent a morning doing HBC with Mutende Volunteers in Roan. The afternoon was spent in Mulenga meeting the Volunteers and visiting one or two patients in order to have a better idea of the atmosphere, issues, conditions etc. of Mulenga. The 3 day Training was held in the Thatched Roof Building on the Farm premises. Chairs were borrowed from Pastor Jacob’s church.
Home Based Care Training Schedule:
Wherever possible the team used visual and participatory teaching methods. We brought posters, games, note-books, pens, name tags and other various teaching aids from Canada. The flip chart board was used to record input from the volunteers during discussion or question periods. Each morning began with some singing and a short devotion. All of our posters and teaching aids were given to the volunteers at the end of the formal training along with 12 copies of the “RED Book – Where there are no Doctors.”
11:00am start time
- Welcome speech by Pastor Jacob, Hands at Work, Zambia
- Ice breaker (Ball of Wool – to learn about each other and show connections)
- The Calling of God to Service in Home Based Care – Jean Aimee Gifford (H@W, SA)
- The Role of the HBC Volunteer in the community – Pastor Youram, Mutende Home Base Care
- Community Needs and Resources – Jean Aimee
- Exercise Break: Hokey Pokey, Coconut, ToeKnee ChestNut
- Psychosocial Care – Dauna Geddes
- 6:30 Dinner
Start time: 8:00am
- Morning Devotion: Jeremy Duncan
- Sanitation and Hygiene – Dean Jones and Stan Geddes
- HIV/AIDS – Janelle Isaman and Kristen Brown
- Nutrition – Jayne Ruckdashel
- Common Diseases and Treatment – Sue Anderson and Cathy Orton
- Exercise Break: Head and Shoulders, Hokey Pokey
- The special needs of orphans and children with HIV – JeanAimee Gifford
- 6:30 Dinner
- Start time: 8:00am
- Morning devotion: Jeremy Duncan
- First Aid, Wound Care and Common Treatments: Chelsey Morton, Alana Bray
- HBC patient assessments; Volunteer organization, records and procedures – Pastor Youram
- Grief and Loss: Jayne Ruckdashel
- 6:30 Dinner
9:00am – 12:30pm Mutende Home Based Care in Roan
1:00pm - Volunteers Leave for Home
Practical/Field Training and Support
The volunteers divided themselves into working groups and two of us accompanied each group. While visiting patients we tried to encourage them to use the “Red Book”, notice and act on practical needs such as house-cleaning, sanitation issues and the overall health of the family.
Mutende Record Keeping forms were used to assist in doing client assessments.
9:00am to 12:30pm – HBC with volunteers in Mulenga (existing patients)
Volunteers given Chitenga HBC bags with basic medical supplies, men given back packs.
9:00am to 12:30pm – HBC with volunteers in Mulenga (new patients/ practice assessment techniques)
9:am to 12:00pm – HBC with Mulenga volunteers (new patient followup)
12:00 – 2:00 pm Closing and Farewell
Volunteers given a personally hand written card, a silver angel medallion and a certificate of volunteerism with their name.
Personal donations were made to the Mulenga Emergency Care fund.
2. Better Choices
Six members of our team spent about 20 hours teaching the Better Choices curriculum to a group of 10 young adults in the community of Roan. Training took place in a room at the back of Pastor Jacob’s church. These youth leaders were selected and had begun their training with Hands at Work volunteers Natalie Blair (Footprints program) and Jordan Dalley. The plan is to have each of them responsible for one section in Roan where they can support and mentor vulnerable teens in their area. Our team was very impressed with how well they understood and retained the information in the course and were able to teach it back to them on graduation day. Their graduation took place at a park by a lake where we supplied lunch, beverages, soccer balls, T-shirts and some time spent swimming, playing soccer and teaching them how to make macramé bracelets with hemp, beads and cotton embroidery thread.
3. Bush School
The team spent one morning volunteering at a Bush school near Kitwe. We were able to leave them with some books, toys, sports equipment, paper and other school supplies.
Team Debrief at Livingstone Falls
Our accommodation was $35 a night per person in shared rooms. Chanter’s Lodge was clean and more than adequate. It had a lovely garden and well kept swimming pool. Breakfast was included and the other meals we ate there were quite good and fairly reasonably priced by Canadian Standards. We spent 3-4 hours at Victoria Falls with time reserved for a team debrief in the afternoon. The next day was spent on an all day Safari at Chobe Park in Botswana. This included a few hours on a river boat and the remaining time in a jeep. Lunch was included at a beautiful Hotel on the river and many animals were seen and enjoyed by all.
Kachele Village farm is a simple, comfortable and more than adequate place to stay. It is quite isolated in its location so planning any activities away from the farm must include consideration with regard to transportation costs. As a result there were very few opportunities to explore or experience the area from a “tourist” view. Going anywhere apart from the farm involved a minimum of 20 – 60 minutes travel time.
Having the local volunteers on site for HBC training was a very special event for them. I imagine that for some it would have been their first time in a bed of their own. Meals were a highlight for them and the camaraderie and sense of team they developed was significant when given this opportunity to be “away” from their normal lives. Ideally these volunteers can continue to receive incoming Hands at Work teams to provide ongoing training and encouragement.
The Youth Leadership Group, established in Roan would also benefit from follow up, training and encouragement.