2017 July Malawi Medical Team, Trip Summary

The team had an amazing week in Malawi, serving in the communities of Madisi, Mzira, M’mero, and on the final day the team worked at the Chakhaza Health Clinic.  We were fortunate to work alongside some talented Malawian nurses, doctors, and senior clinicians, surveillance officers (they are crowd control and do a great job!). We also had the good fortune to have Mercy Chifundo, the program director of ZOE Malawi, AND a trained nurse work with us during the week.

Oh, did I mention that we started the week by visiting various working groups of ZOE children that are sponsored by Church of the Resurrection?  Wow, it was amazing, young people caring for one another, raising crops, raising goats and rabbits, working as tailors or merchants in the local marketplace.  Older siblings are able to provide food and in many cases, funds to send younger siblings to school and buy uniforms and supplies. The young people have food security and a support system around them, contributing to their community.

 

On the mornings of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the team headed out on the bus with the Malawian clinicians to set up clinic in a school or church meeting spot.  On the last day, the team worked at the Chakhaza Health Clinic, which also serves as a maternity clinic for the community and surrounding area.  Each day was a sea of faces.  Patients waited patiently in the sun, no pushing or shoving, quietly waiting for their chance to see a physician.  Our team saw malaria, malnutrition, respiratory issues, diabetes, patients with burns and advanced disease. Many patients were referred to the Madisi church’s Nutrition Clinic for assessment and assistance.  We helped over 650 people and in those days turned away so many because time had run out for the day.

 

Each day, including Sunday, the team spent a few hours in the late afternoon, seeing patients at the Nutrition Clinic, located behind the church in Madisyn.  Each day, upon return from our mobile clinics, people were seated on the ground waiting for the medical team to return.  After a quick snack and a few minutes to catch their breath, the team headed down the hill to see more patients, usually 40 or more people.  Everyone that the team came in contact with were grateful for the gift of not only medical treatment, but compassion.   The people realized that these individuals had traveled very far to care for them.  Our team was met daily by smiles, handshakes and sometimes a hug!

 

After traveling back to Lilongwe, on Thursday, the team spent the night resting for the next big adventure, a short safari in Zambia.  We stayed at a beautiful tented camp on the edge of the Luangwa River. As we drove into the area, we were greeted by a couple of elephants, munching on tree leaves and one smaller fellow playing, yes, playing, in the sprinkler!  We stayed in comfy 2-bed tents complete with lights and a fan.  Though the latter was not needed as it got a little chilly at night. We had an evening game drive in South Luangwa National Park seeing lots of giraffes, zebras, elephants, cape buffalo, lions, puku, hippos, crocodiles, warthogs, greater kudu, leopard, and a variety of birds.  The park comes alive at night with sights and sounds!  The next day we had an early morning game drive, seeing lots of animals and catching several lions who were resting up from a busy night, with full bellies….if you catch my drift. The team then head back to the Kiboko, repacking and organizing, preparing for the flight home the next day.

Flying home, we watched several movies, read books, walked the aisles of the plane, and some even got in several hours of sleep!  A stop in Washington DC, several hours of waiting (flights delayed because of storms the previous day) and we were finally on a flight headed for KC.  We arrived home tired but filled with memories of a wonderful week serving others in “the warm heart of Africa”, Malawi and a quick 36 hours seeing amazing animals in Zambia.