On Monday we learned that the church bell would ring everyday at 5:30am, 6:00am, and 6:30am. I am all for getting up early in the morning, but after getting maybe 3 hours of sleep at night, it was not a good time. Between the dogs barking, heat, waking up around 2:30 because it had cooled off so much that I was freezing, nights were a nightmare.
I gathered my scrubs and made my way to the bathroom. At this point we hadn’t had the idea to open the small window in the bathroom yet so the bathroom felt like a sauna. The shower consisted of a small pipe coming out of the wall. In order to not run out of water for the rest of the week some people took showers at night, some in the morning and we had a bucket to collect water to use to rinse ourselves so the water could be turned off between washing the hair, body, etc. The water was also very cold, however this felt amazing.
Once ready we went down and ate breakfast which always included bread and fruit. From there I would take a trip to the roof to admire the mountains. At about 9:30am we began to make our way to the clinic for malnourished children that we would be volunteering at. It was a short walk from the church, but on the way we would have to stay alert so we didn’t get hit by a motorcycle (someone almost got hit twice). The adults that had little shops stared at us as we walked up to the large gate of the clinic. A line had formed outside the gate to see the doctor who recently began working there.
Inside we were greeted by children who threw their arms up in the arm for us to pick them up. The little boy who came to me was actually there because was up for adoption so he was heavier than I anticipated. I lifted with my knees and somehow managed to pick him up. I waddled over to the bench where we were going to get the run down of the clinic by one of the women who helps runs it. While she was talking to us, a nurse came out of another set of gates carrying a child that had passed away that morning. While this was sad, what was more sad was that the other kids were used to this so it wasn’t like a new, upsetting thing to them.
We then made our way into the section with the rest of the children. They were all swarming us. I went into the smallish room where they all sleep and picked up a baby who was recovering from kwashiorkor. Her skin was cracked from being so swollen. After some time with her I made my way over to a little boy who was only 5 months old, but he was smiling and giggling, by far one of the cutest babies I have ever seen. It was soon nap time for him though, so I made my way outside to the older kids. Most of the people in my group would rather color with them so I ended up playing pass to 2 kids with 2 separate balls and kicking a ball with another. That is more activity than I had done in a long time.
At noon we had to leave so that the kids could have their lunch so we went and had ours. Most of the other group went back to the clinic in the afternoon, but I was dying from the heat and stayed back to drink rehydration salts. It may taste nasty, but I felt so much better after.
In the evening we set out to do activities with the children of the village. I painted at least 20 girls nails in 10 minutes. There was also a soccer game going on, jump rope, and coloring. The kids enjoyed it so much, but given there is no lights and it is unsafe at night, as soon as the sun started to go down they began to run home. We then wondered back to our room which by this point was covered in lizards and bugs. When we scared the lizards they would run into holes in the walls. I like to think they were the only reptile in the walls.