Strategic Health Initiatives trainers are teaching in Cheesemanburg twice a week. They are training individuals who will train others in community health issues. On the day I visited, they were teaching on River Blindness from the black fly and Schistosomiasis. I met one of the students Joseph Roberts and I just started to ask him questions on what he just learned – practise on me. I had studied this years ago, but it was good to hear him share what he has learned.
One of our first events in a new port is to host the pastors and church leaders on board. In the photo I am visiting with Pastor George and Pastor Bearh. They are friends and serve in the same community within Paynesville here in Monrovia. One is from the Pentecostal church and the other Baptist. They are also the ones who shared that I could keep using my African name Kofi as it is in the Kru language of Liberia.
The Mobile Eye Team concept was something that we tried in Ghana instead of the large mass screening for eye patients. The Minister of Health was very encouraged to know that this was what we were going to do here. The team goes to 4 advertised sites during the week and do screening for surgeries for the ship, eye health education and diagnosis for other eye diseases. At this site at the Duport Road Clinic, we normally see around 400 patients a day – in the picture I am watching Bob Hicks doing an exam.
Agriculture Training is happening in Cheesemanburg, a rural community. Ben is taking them through a lecture phase of two hours 12:00-2:00pm and he started with the book of Genesis from the Bible, God’s creation and the land. From 2:00-4:00pm they are working in the community garden. The participants are two from each of the surrounding the villages. A local man who has his own farm, Samuel, is helping the group also. The goal is for them to be able to take what they have learned back their own villages and share with others – both the spiritual and practical.
We are working in a second community near Bay Town, Upper Cheesemanburg is working on their well, digging deep enough to get water about 30 feet and enough water to last during the dry season, the season we are currently in. They have around 300 residents and the well is located right next to the clay house of Emmanuel and his wife. He is one of the men helping to dig the hole to 30 feet.
Congo Town School – This is one of our Community Development Services construction sites. I visited the property back in August. The church is running the school in a large rented house but it is literally overflowing with children and adults – not enough room on the benches or in the classrooms. As they have had some money they have started the construction of the school and we are partnering with them to complete the first level of the L shaped building. They have 760 students.
Fresh potable water – we had our struggles in Ghana with the well drilling, though here we just arrived and already have the hand pump on a well in Bay Town, a community of 200 + residents who previously obtained their water for a swampy water hole. The community was very responsive to the team on this one and they completely hand dug the hole themselves. The water has been tested and is of good quality. The day I visited, Dexter shared the community story and how they were rejoicing in the provision of water.
Gaye Town Medical Clinic has been on the heart of the people of the Gracie Reeves Memorial Baptist Church. They have been holding a medical clinic once a week in their church building, but there has been the great desire for a full time clinic. This is one of our construction sites and we should have the building done prior to the heavy rains.