Two Lipscomb College of Pharmacy Students Send Their First Impressions of Namwalia, Zambia

Global Health Leaders Brittany Latimer and John Deason arrived in Zambia last week. This is Brittany's first time in Africa, and this is John's first time outside the United States. Though both are dealing with a touch of culture shock in Namwianga, Zambia, they report a warm welcome at the local church, a fun time with kids over food and dancing, and a challenge with the local clinic to understand how best they can translate their knowledge of clinical care given the limited resources available for the patients.

We invite you to read their blogs and see their photos!
This past week I was involved with the coordination and follow through of community health fairs on the island. These health fairs are vital for the public in that they enable us to reach out to those living on the island and perform various health screenings for people who do not understand the importance of and/or do not have the funds to get these health screenings on their own.
Our show at Darien Lake - located between Buffalo and Rochester - had us a little concerned about being able to recruit volunteers, since it is a bit of a drive from either city. We were excited to have a great crew of volunteers come out and join us: a mother, daughter & aunt team of Susan, Carol and Melissa, as well as Corey, Chelsea, Cary and Lyndsey, who are a combination of friends, sisters and fiances that all drove into from Rochester! Our team did great, helping us sign up lots of new supporters and raising lots of money for our well building projects, working all night to talk to Brad fans about the importance of clean water.
Health education has been quite a success at the local high school. The Senior 3 class was very interested in and had many questions about the previous HIV/AIDS education. I based the next class on their questions. The following week I chose malaria as the topic because of its prevalence in the area. The students were misinformed about transmission of malaria. They thought that it was transmitted through unsafe drinking water, as so many of the other common diseases. I think that this may have been a communication error in previous education about removing stagnant water which breeds mosquitoes. I continued health education in the general paper (essay) classes which I mentioned in my last update. Students have turned in the required information on their selected health topics. The topics they could choose from were as follows: malaria, food contamination, safe water, community safety, and HIV/AIDS . The students’ personal experience stories are educational for me and very eye-opening to the severity of these community health problems. The quality of their work varies widely. Ensuring that each student learns has involved individual study sessions after school hours. The students know where I am staying and come to visit me for help, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes by my request. I am in the process of grading the papers and discussing the topics with them. It has been helpful to the students to spend so much time discussing major health concerns in their community. This education has served a total of 112 students. Teachers also learn and ask questions.
This is my first blog posting on my trip in Zambia. I’ve been in one week so far but it has seemed much more. Things operate so differently from how they do in the states, especially if you have never left the country! My first taste of Zambia was really on Sunday since much of my first day here was just spent traveling. We traveled to a small village called Kasibi where we attended church. It was one of the most humbling services I have ever attended. The church was no larger than the den at my parents’ house (and we don’t have a huge house). On the walls were either tacked or duct taped posters depicting Jesus or various biblical events. Most looked like they were thirty-plus years old and were very weather worn. The roof was tin and full of holes. I doubt very seriously that it kept the congregation dry during the wet season. The benches were small and old with no backings and were only long enough to truly fit four grown men tightly.
This is my first time traveling to Africa, so for me it is a very exciting time. I wanted to have a very open mind, but I had no idea what to expect. In only a week I have discovered so many cultural differences. The main differences I noticed were time, transportation, and friendliness. In Zambia the people are not concerned about being punctual. The people are never in a rush and they don’t mind waiting. As compared to a pharmacy in the US where people want their prescription filled in fifteen minutes or less. Mostly everyone walks to where ever they need to go since gas is about $9 a gallon here. Also you have to be a great visual learner and use a lot of landmarks to remember where you’re going because there are no street signs. There are just a lot of dirt paths that start to look the same. The Tonga people are so friendly and peaceful. Zambia is very peaceful, and the people greet you wherever you go. Here everyone looks out for one another and it feels very much like a community.
All is going well here in Urubamba, Peru where my day begins at 4:45 am each morning. I wake up, get dressed, grab a quick bite to eat and head to the local bus station to catch an early bus to the local villages. By the time I arrive in the communities, it is 6:30 am. It is imperative for us to arrive in the villages as early as possible as the village families work in the fields in the morning so we must arrive before they set out for their daily routines.
Last night, Hope Through Healing Hands hosted a meeting for local, Tennessee global health nonprofit institutions, universities such as East Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, and Lipscomb University, and faith communities to gather for an authentic sharing of stories, interest, and work.

Senator Bill Frist, M.D. keynoted the event, discussing the unique city of Nashville, as a hub for health care, music, and faith, and how these 50 organizations might intersect especially with the faith communities given a shared global interest in caring for the widow, protecting the orphan, and over all – loving our neighbors – even if across oceans.

Jars of Clay, an amazing group of men who have been longtime activists in the movement against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, shared the stage with Senator Frist. They sang an apropos song for the evening, Two Hands. Dan Haseltine, the lead singer, spoke eloquently about his longtime vision of a unified front of global health advocates in Tennessee who might work together, hand in hand, to face the issues of global proportion. Their experiences and work have led them to found Blood:Water Mission, a Nashville-based nonprofit focused on building wells in Africa. In terms of raising awareness and advocacy in the United States, together we are stronger.
We were greeted by enthusiastic fans and volunteers in Detroit, which made for a great night! We talked to lots of people, including several who were interested in volunteering and becoming involved with the campaign on a local level and on their campuses, something we always like to hear.

Our volunteers consisted of two ‘teams’ of people: Stephanie and Nicole, sisters on their summer break (from college and high school) and our team of enthusiastic high school girls: Erica, Emmy, Betsy and Marissa. Our crew did a great job, talking to lots of people and getting them excited about bringing clean water to people around the world. We were a bit limited in what we could do in Detroit due to the way the venue was set up, but our volunteer crew were true troopers, making the most of it and getting a record number of fans to take part in our text message fundraising campaign.

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