Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grateful for Moms!

Little Boss Mirriam is totally dependent on Mom Ethel.  It is obvious there is a close bond between them.  No one knows what the future holds for them since both are HIV positive.  But then, none of us knows what the future brings.  So if you're fortunate enough to have a Mom, or know a Mom, or remember a Mom, or been like a Mom, or are a Mom, give thanks!  Watch for HealthEd Connect's honoring of mothers as well as others who have nurtured us for Mother's Day in May.  We will be posting info on our web page as well as sending cards in the mail the last of April.  Start making plans now to honor the mothers you know with a gift to HealthEd Connect that shows the depth of your gratitude.  If you just can't wait for our published info, contact Sherri anytime for more details at

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Endless pounding or End of pounding?

Millions of women spend countless hours every day pounding grain in a wooden mortar in order to make the grain usable for family meals.  It's a fun exercise for about 60 seconds and then reality sets in.  I know, I tried it along with SIFE team member, Taylor Johnson (above)! A back breaking and time-consuming task for sure.  The Sinkhani health workers in Malawi are advocating for a maize (corn) mill in one of the rural areas where women could bring their grain to be ground for a modest fee.  Based on the success of other maize mills, the Sinkhani believe a mill can almost pay for itself in one year.  We are now exploring possibilities with them to see if this would be a feasible venture.  They are estimating the cost to build a small building and provide 2 grinders to be around $14,000 US.  If successful, a project like this would make the Sinkhani totally self-sufficient regarding expenses related to their health work as well as provide them with a little additional income.  And that doesn't even count the major benefit of of saving hours of grueling work for the local women.  This idea is definitely worth exploring.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How much do 355 kids weigh?

Lots of time was spent weighing and measuring the 350+ kids at the schools in Chipulukusu and Kasompe this month.  That's lots of wiggling little bodies to get on and off of scales and to tell to "stand up straight" as they're measured against the wall!  If it took 30 seconds per child that's 3 hours of measurements!! They have just one scale in each school and asked us to consider providing an additional scale at each place to speed things up.  The Kafwa health workers are planning to weigh and measure the kids each school term as one indicator of their health status.  It's hoped the additional school lunches will improve both nutrition and attendance at school.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SIFE on the move!

Jen (left) & Taylor with Boss Mirriam
Jac and I met with Jen Abraham (one of the Graceland students that went with us to Zambia in January)yesterday to work on the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) presentation.  Graceland competes at SIFE Regionals in Chicago on March 28.  The partnership projects with HealthEd Connect in Zambia will be a primary focus of the presentation.  The script looks awesome!  If I were a judge, they'd be a shoo-in -- I'm confident the real judges will feel the same.  We videoed a short segment of me telling about our partnership. As usual it took an hour to get a usable 20 second segment -- I need to step it up!! We are so sad to miss Regionals this year which makes it all the more pressing for them to win so we can see them at Nationals!  What as absolutely awesome group of university students working on this project--truly some of our favorite people in the world!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Next Stop, Denver!

We're getting excited about several informal events planned in Denver in a couple of weeks.  Thanks to the hard work of some of our board members, we have three different opportunities to share about HealthEd Connect.  On April 1 Jeff and Karyn Manuel have graciously offered to open their home for an informal get together with some of their colleagues.  We've heard a rumor that Jeff's birthday is the next day so we're prepared for a double event!  Thanks to Cherry and Shandra Newcom, we have two more events planned for that week.  On April 4th we will be in Fort Collins where we hope to connect with several of our Graceland friends.  Then April 6 we will be at Greenwood Village (Denver).  So all of you Denver-ites -- spread the word!  We'd love to share the story of little Boss Mirriam  -- she's on the phone inviting you to come!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lights, Action, Camera!

Well, the video segment was taped and everything is now in Bryce's capable hands to create a HealthEd Connect video.  With a colorful world map as a backdrop, we did multiple takes to get a short video segment along with a longer narrative audio.  The HealthEd story itself is compelling so we're looking for a winner.  We're still on schedule to meet the production date of April 1 - and that's no April fool's joke!