It was terrific to receive an update from David (my Sweetie) on Recheal's Clinic last week. Doesn't she look happy in this photo? Although I get reports on the progress at the Clinic from Elly Nankunda every couple of months, there's nothing quite like a first hand report. To bring you up to date, Recheal is now seeing between 300 and 400 patients a month, and earning enough money for a modest income for herself. The water catchment system was installed in time to catch the September/October rains, the solar system is working well, and Recheal has recently hired a lab technologist/"nurse" to help her part-time. The nearest hospital in Kabuyenda is giving immunizations at the Clinic once a month, and HIV/AIDS testing and counselling continues, as well as diagnosis and treatment of common ailments, the most frequent being malaria. Recheal has achieved her dream, and there's no question it's of huge benefit to many, many people.
You may remember seeing a photo of the Clinic last year, and it still looks much as it did then. The changes I can see include curtains now hang in the entrance - to keep flies and mosquitos out - and evidence of a hedge and a vegetable garden. The sign in front of the Clinic and the hand-washing stations were the only other requirements needed before it could be registered with the Ministry of Health. And that too has now been done. David was able to visit the site because his reason for being in the country was to implement his 4-year Widows Garden Project. When he learned that ACTS would be limiting its work to water projects, and no longer involved with the women who are widows and grandmothers due to HIV/AIDS, he developed his own project, this time on a volunteer basis. He managed to raise over $20,000 this year, with which to support 90 widows in renting sufficient land (3 plots) to grow crops for their families, and to sell enough to pay for the rent next year. In other words, it should be totally sustainable. The goal is that by the end of 4 years, there will be 360 widows with the land they require to be self-sufficient.
Of course after the Widows Gardens Project had been announced and the first 90 widows chosen, there had to be a feast. Here are a few of the women preparing beans, and below, there's one mighty fine pot of "posho" (corn porridge) being prepared.
And after the meal was finished, the dancing began. So hard to capture this in a photograph, but perhaps you can feel the sense of celebration and almost hear the clapping and singing.
And here's the drum that keeps everyone dancing and singing in unison. Although David is now retired from his work with ACTS, it feels very right to both of us that he continue to work with these people who have been so much a part of his life for the last 20 years. It always was so much more than a job to him, and I'm so proud that he continues to bring positive change to some of the poorest people in that part of the world.