Day 5... In a nutshell:
1. An anonymous good friend donated money in January for the Malindza refugee camp borehole to be fixed. They hadn't had water in over a year and the refugees arrive from central Africa with cholera, malaria, dysentery and other diseases where sanitation and hygiene are extremely important. We bought the new pump and there was water flowing. But then a bit storm hit. The tanks shifted since they weren't completely full yet and the wind was fierce. They dislodged from their pipelines and now there are leakages everywhere. I panicked. The amount of money to properly replace the pipelines was a LOT. I did a hail Mary and reached out to an amazing friend who works here in Swaziland on the water crisis. Seth agreed to take over the entire refugee camp crisis and promised not to leave the site until it was up to his organization's standards. I met Seth because of a beautiful amazing friend of mine, Katie, who was his photographer and who has since died of cancer. It's amazing the connections the world spins for all of the right things to fall in place at the right time. GRATEFUL FOR SETH and his organization - The Thirst Project! Heart full.
|Tanks that cannot fill due to leakages|
|Leaks in all of the pipework do to being dislodged during a storm|
|The water the children will drink from a creek during the meantime until Thirst Project is able to save the day.|
2. Super thankful for our donors enabling us to provide free popup clinics. We had kids faking coughs and fighting over our DPH (Nyquil). We had people with "headaches" who just wanted Tylenol. I don't blame them. You likely have a cabinet full of first aid stuff. What happens when you experience stomach problems, severe headaches, eczema, cold/cough/flu and you have no medicine to help your symptoms. It's not lost on me that the 500 people we saw did not indeed currently have a headache or a cough, but I am happy we could provide them with relief when inevitably they did. I kept giggling about my husband's "man-colds" that basically knock him unconscious and require surgery/medication/lobotomy to heal... for all of the man-cold people in line, and everyone else, you're welcome for your Tylenol. ;)
3. But we also had people at our clinics with severe situations. For instance we had a 3 year old girl who had a wound in her leg (we still don't know how - playing?) and a worm entered and started to live/grow there. Nothing disgusts me. During my PhD program I worked with human feces for 6 years. Vomit, no problem. A visible worm growing and moving just under the skin of a 3 year old? I tried to channel my husband and keep the best poker face I could while I secretly shuddered inside.
4. We also had a 12 year girl who was HIV positive and was rejecting the 2nd line of drugs. In America this wouldn't be a big deal because we have over 20 lines of drugs, but in Swaziland there are only two. So now this sweet angel will slowly die an icky death and the reason she rejected her drugs so soon? She lacked food to take the medication properly. I know it is putting a bandaid on cancer, but after the clinic (so others wouldn't see) we drove around the area in search of her house (it turns out it was "just past the tree and the rock on the other side") to offer her the leftover beans and soup that were in our trunk.
5. We had a couple more highlights like one of my best friends Kristen Lee and her friends make Days for Girls reusable sanitary pads that were a highlight at the clinic. 50 pad kits (all we had room for this trip in our suitcases) were gone within minutes. Similarly with our sanitized and recycled used hotel soaps. Poof. Gone. And the kids were sniffing the soaps and commenting on how "fresh and clean" they would smell after bathing. Tiny used hotel soaps.