The Village

February 4, 2010

It was something like out of a National Geographic Special. Impossible to even describe here. Poverty is a word that describes many things, but it does not adequately portray the living conditions of these people. I could type the word ‘heat” but that does not portray the intense heat and overpowering heaviness of the humidity and weight of the air, that was filled with the smell of goat dung and raw sewage. We were not prepared for what we would find, and after we parked our vehicle, and walked the hour to the village, we were left awestruck. The people were in the fields, eekking out a living from the reluctant and stingy soil. The half-naked children were left to care for themselves and their siblings, as their parents worked in the field. They did not go to school, as education was not a priority, or transportation was impossible

Walking to the village…

The purpose of the visit was for us to do a presentation on hygiene practices, and malaria awareness. But truly, it seemed like an impossible task…so much education was needed, and it was hard to figure out where to start.
The people came though, eager to hear what we had to say, eager for education, and instruction.

 Villagers listening intently..

As we talked, and explained the importance of  the simple acts of boiling water/hand washing/cleaning wounds/keeping flies off food/and cleaning up the area from stagnant water and anti-malaria procedures, you could see the information hitting home to the women, who nodded and made comments to each other, as we talked.

After a while, all the people nodded and listened intently…and you could see that they were processing what we were saying, and at the end of the presentation, were grateful for our efforts, and our meager gifts of band-aids, shampoo, soap, cotton balls, disinfectant, and eye glasses.

Village leader, with a gift of a bottle of shampoo….

Village Elder with his new glasses….

Its hard to describe the conditions without sounding patronizing and pretentious. These people are strong, resourceful and yet desperate for knowledge, education and the resources with which to help themselves.

We did what we could in an hour or so …and promised to return. We did not have the supplies, or the means with which to address all their concerns, nor to make more than a drop of difference in their struggle for survival.

And yes, we did go back, but that’s another story…

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