This month marks my third anniversary in Mbayi. Many positive changes have come about during this time but the lack of medical care remains an ongoing concern. George Lufunda, Chairman of Mbayi, while pleading for a Health Post (small clinic) has been known to exclaim—“We have suffered for too long!”. Many have died untimely deaths because we do not have a health care facility for diagnosis, treatment and referral to hospital if necessary. Deaths from treatable diseases like TB and malaria, for example, are heartbreaking, expecting mothers have died on the 2 1/2 hour walk to the nearest clinic, children have perished on their mom’s back before reaching this very far destination.
So it was with great joy and gratitude that the team from Canada were greeted by the Mbay community. The villagers had already cleared the land for the proposed Health Post and dug the foundation. Now here were a group of volunteers from afar to help mould bricks!!!! It was a novel experience for all involved—visitors from a foreign country staying in Mbayi (all these Canadians about!) and for the visitors an authentic village experience living without electricity, the only water coming from a shallow well—untreated—and no indoor plumbing, of course. Once instructed on the method of making bricks from a huge ant hill, the two groups joined together working side by side each day until we had almost enough bricks to build the Health Post. Now friends, they parted ways, the Mbayi workers -boosted by the Canadians involvement—vowing to finish the process. And they did! 7,000 plus bricks (more than enough!) were stacked to form what is called an ichibili, the bricks were burnt and are now firm and ready for building.
Sadly, just last week Chairman George’s grandchild passed away, malaria the cause of the tragic demise of this 3 year old girl. In the midst of his grief George—a builder and in charge of the Health Post construction—is planning the process of putting in the foundation, full of hope that the funds will soon be available so that they can resume work on this life saving facility.