Thursday, February 26, 2015

We're Rollin'

The Zambulances (bicycle drawn carts) have been a huge success in DR Congo with countless people transported to the outpost hospital since the original Zambulances were delivered two years ago.  The health workers initially saved the Zambulances for use by the pregnant women who might need transferred to the hospital.  The demand for other urgent transport, however, soon became evident.  Last year over 160 people were transported in a 5 month period.  The bicycles really got a workout!

Happy smiles when the Zambulances made it to the Congo border.
Mattresses can be seen in upper left corner and bicycles are leaning against the tree.
The Zambulance program was such a success, the Wasaidizi health workers urged us to provide 2 more Zambulances for other remote areas. Finally after months of emails, planning, and coordinating the Zambulances were finally delivered.   Parts of the bicycles were manufactured in Malawi and had to be transported over 9 hours to Lusaka, Zambia.  From there they were transported over 6 hours to the DR Congo border.  They were picked up there and transported two hours to Lubumbashi by another truck.  Finally, they were put on large trucks and traveled another 2 hours to Kasenga District.  I assume someone then actually pedaled them to the respective villages where they will reside.  These are already well traveled Zambulances and they haven't even been put into service yet!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Girl Scouts can THINK!

Over 156 Girl Scouts took time to write letters to the children in Zambia.
Sherri & Jac will deliver the letters in May on their next trip.
Talk about energy and potential!  That was the overwhelming feeling in the midst of 300 Girl Scouts celebrating World Thinking Day on February 21 at the Brush Creek Community Center in Kansas City.  HealthEd Connect was proud to cosponsor the event along with the Children's Peace Pavilion.  A variety of booths were provided for the girls to sample cuisine from other countries and stretch their appreciation of other cultures.  The girls were especially attentive and responsive when I shared facts about the children attending the HealthEd Connect sponsored schools in Zambia.  They got it!  Several volunteered to go with me if I ever needed assistance :-)
Sherri helping a couple of Girl Scouts write their letters

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

8th Grade here we come!

Sherri visiting with Angela, who wants to be an accountant, Mwansa, who wants to be a lawyer, and Abel who would like to be a Dr.  They kept their dreams alive even though they didn't have enough money to enroll in the 8th grade.

When we arrived at Chipulukusu last month, Mr. Milimo, the head teacher, immediately wanted to talk about "his" students.  The head teacher always teaches the highest grade in the school so he knew the graduates well.  As a matter of fact, he confessed he held extra classes for them in the library everyday after school to be sure they understood all of their lessons.  After giving us his glowing report, he became sober and said there was a little problem.  Three of the students (2 girls and a boy)were double orphans and would not be going on to the 8th grade because they could not pay the fees. We assured him this was what the Girl's Achievement Program was all about -- keeping girls in school and then providing scholarships for them to continue their studies.  He nodded and then said, "But what about the boy?"  We made an executive decision on the spot and said HealthEd Connect would provide scholarships for eligible boys too.  You should have seen Mr. Milimo beam!  Within 2 days he had Angela, Mwansa, and Abel all enrolled in the government school and had taken them to purchase uniforms, backpacks, shoes, and required books.  The annual cost is about $200/year per student -- what a bargain! 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Good morning, madam

Whenever I walk into a classroom at one of the schools, the children always immediately rise and in unison say, "Good morning, madam.  How are you today?"  When I respond, "I'm fine, thank you.  And how are you?"  They answer, "I'm fine, thank you very much." 

They have obviously practiced this little routine many times and would be disappointed if no one ever showed up that they could actually greet. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

She did it!

Agness with report card

Agness is now a proud 2-year graduate from a Teacher Training program in Zambia.  She has taught the Reception (Kindergarten) class at the Chipulukusu school for the past two years.  She also attended teacher training classes after school and during school breaks while teaching full time.  She completed her training course with distinction in December!  She was so proud of her accomplishment she could hardly wait to show me her certificate when we arrived at the school last month.  Two years ago Agness didn't know how she was going to feed her children their next meal.  As she says, "I was desperate."  Then she was hired to teach in the Young Peace Makers School, received a HealthEd Connect scholarship to go back to school, and has completely turned her life around.  We're proud of Agness and her can-do-never-give-up attitude!  She is a real asset to the school and her community.