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  • Writer's pictureKristin P

Munyama Implementation – Day 3

Day 3: Emily taught Madison and I how to survey a field! This field in particular is one of two located behind the kiosk, which Alexander is looking to use for a garden. The initial survey that Emily performed will allow Alexander to obtain an estimate for a solar-powered water pump and the tilling/leveling of the land.

After lunch, we joined Alexander and some children from the village, who were playing the guitar and singing. Nancy and Alexander played and sang together, and we all joined in.

Nancy, Jenna, and I went with Alexander and our friend Alfred to the fishing village of Hanabuchi. Because it was during the day, most of the men were out fishing in the lake, but the women and children there were interested to have us there and showed us many aspects of their village. We don’t have many photos of the village because the Bemba people are much more shy about having their photos taken than are the Tonga, so we respected their wishes. We saw the grinding stone, where women grind sorghum into mealy-meal to make nshima; the hammermill that the village has is far away, and is also designed for use with maize, so it is not fine enough for sorghum. After this, we witnessed a coming-of-age ceremony for a 16/17 year old girl, which we were incredibly privileged to be invited to witness. We were shown the methods used to dry fish and store fresh fish, and we also saw the “upstairs homes” that are common in fishing villages near the water for protection against hippos.

On our way back from Hanabuchi, we visited the rural health center for Munyama and were given a tour by the nurse who runs the center. The health center is well-supported by the government in most ways: they are sent supplies each month that includes a broad range of medications. However, this health center has been operating without power for the last six months because, despite being solar-powered, the batteries used to power the kiosk are not functional and need to be replaced in order to power the center. As a result, the refrigerator that is used to store vaccines is non-operational, and other medications that need to be kept cool (such as IV fluids) are sitting on a shelf in the heat. The nurse explained to us how difficult it is to conduct a delivery by torch (flashlight); this visit really opened my eyes to how fortunate we are in the US as healthcare providers to have so many resources available to us, essentially whenever they are needed.​

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