We had yet another busy day, today, here in Basankusu. After my morning wash in a bucket of rainwater, I set off on foot. First I called in at the new centre to follow-up hospital treatment for Mama Julie - she's from Baringa, 120 miles away, where I worked in the 1990s.
|Francis with Mama Julie|
Next, we welcomed Sr Felicity and SrPetronella, to our original centre for malnutrition, on the other side of Basankusu. The sisters are local nuns, both with experience in health and community development.They werevery impressed by our work in feeding malnourished children and teaching their parents. We’ll share our experiences another day with a view to developing a common project.
|Srs Petronella and Felicity|
On the way back, we called in at the wake of one of Judith's grandmothers. The all-female meeting had women chanting and dancing mischievously in a traditional ceremony that distracts people from their grief.
This afternoon, back at our new centre, we made a further follow-up of the woman from Baringa. In her seventies, she has an enlarged spleen because of suffering from malaria so many times. We’re trying to convince her son, that she should stop working in her vegetable garden. Typical work in a garden includes chopping firewood with a machete, digging, and carrying huge baskets of wood and vegetables on your back. It’s not very good if you have a medical condition like hers!
Then, a woman arrived with four small children and a pair of new-born twins ... she needed help to get back home, 140 miles, after her husband died.
|The mothers with their poorly children|
At the same time, a woman appeared with a 6 year old child, who looked like he was two years old, who'd had severe diarrhoea for two weeks and decided to come to us in the evening. We took her next door to our hospital and they decided he needed a blood transfusion. We had to go and get the nurse from his house and watch the transfusion by torchlight. Then we went to find medication for three of the malnourished children at a nearby pharmacy kiosk.
Just as we were getting served, a motorbike pulled up beside me on the dirt track; it was Fr Franklin, one of our local priests, who asked if I would be opening our internet this evening ... I climbed on the back of the bike and soon found myself back at Mill Hill opening up the internet room for local priests and NGO staff.
Our Chinese shopkeeper arrived and asked to charge all his gadgets, one in each room, while our generator was running, and then talk a little business.
Finally I've been able to grab a sandwich and write this ...