Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Roof Fixers

As soon as we arrived in Zambia in January, the Kafwa insisted we visit one of their clients.

He is suffering from TB and they know there is little they can do except make him comfortable.  Their immediate concern, however, was a hole in his tin roof that was allowing the rain to pour into the blue pan by his bed.  As Grace said, "We don't feel good if people are suffering."  Funds were provided and when we asked who would fix the roof, Grace looked surprised and said, "We will!"  And fix it they did.




​A little patient in the Kanti Children's Hospital
​This pretty little HealthEd Connect-Nepal volunteer, Usha, doesn't spend her leisure time frivolously! We joined her at the Kanti Children's Hospital in Kathmandu where she visits young cancer patients monthly. In her soft, sweet Nepali-English, she told us, "I just want to see them smile because they have so many painings!"  Throughout this rustic hospital, we saw signs of the loving Nepali spirit. Many moms and dads live in remote villages so must live in the hospital with their children. The hospital does not provide food for patients, so mothers and grandmothers cook rice and dal on the hospital floor.  Laundry is washed in the toilet room and hangs from the open-air hallways to dry and parents lie in hospital cots with their arms wrapped around their sick children. This may not be the sterile environment of an American hospital, but we could see that the children are tenderly cared for by loving staff, parents, and volunteers like our Usha.

Michelle Mahlik
Philosophy Department, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
BOD, HealthEd Connect (www.healthedconnect.org)

Thursday, March 24, 2016


We joined forty girls at the weekly GAP meeting and had a great lesson AND fun!  Mavis, one of the GAP leaders and teacher at the school provided a meaningful activity demonstrating privilege.  Each girl waded up a piece of paper and tossed it toward the box in the front of the room.  Obviously the girls in front were 'privileged' to be closer to the box and therefore had a better chance of hitting it.  Moral to the tale:  Stay in school and you will be in a better position to have privileges in life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Precious Moments

Precious Moments Figurine

Chipulkukusu ribbon-cutting

The ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new classroom block started an exciting new chapter in the evolution of the Chipulukusu school.

The occasion was made even more special by the presentation of an adorable Precious Moments figurine presented to HealthEd Connect a couple of years ago by Melinda Butcher who owns Precious Moments.  We've enjoyed it in our HealthEd Connect office until now but thought it's permanent home should be in Zambia with the children.

Bright Smiles in Nepal!


​Two Nepali Soyamsebika healthcare workers show their beautiful smiles while they practice dental care procedures at our training in Nepal last week! American dentist, Mike Hawkins, taught about the connection between oral and physical health. Each volunteer received a free dental checkup from Mike, a first for many of them!

Michelle Mahlik
Philosophy Department, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
BOD, HealthEd Connect (www.healthedconnect.org)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Himalayan Trek

This gentle, smiling man is Ramprasad Gurung, one of our most faithful Nepali healthcare volunteers.  A sick wife, a newborn, and a nine-hour bus ride followed by a five-hour trek into Kathmandu didn't stop Ramprasad from attending our healthcare worker training this week!  Ramprasad lives in a remote mountain village that suffered massive destruction in the 2015 earthquake. A year has past since his family and fellow villagers received a tarpaulin for shelter, food, and medical supplies from our HealthEd Connect-Nepal team, but they are still living in these makeshift homes. Imagine the chill inside the thin tent walls that provide little protection from the Himalayan winds that sweep down the mountainside!!  As you read this blog, Ramprasad will be trekking back to his village with a new skill set that he will use to help his village. Our hearts go with you, Ramprasad!

Sewing for orphans

Do those Kafwa ever sleep?  In addition to running a palliative care program for 30 clients, cooking porridge lunches at the school, raising lush greens in the garden, helping with the GAP program, and running a grief support program for the orphans, they've added another program to their repertoire.

They are sewing uniforms for the orphans.  They were able to make and sell 10 uniforms for $3.50 each.   For the orphans, however, that is a prohibitive sum.  So the Kafwa decided to raise money to purchase fabric by renting the Kafwa Center for community meetings.  They then donate their time to make the uniforms and give them to the children.  So far they've donated 25 uniforms.

Uniforms are no small thing!  They are proudly worn to announce to the community that a child is enrolled in school, and in this case, a really good school!  What would we do without Kafwa?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Camera Magic

Mike Keeble surrounded by admirers
One picture is worth...well...in this case a friendship for life!

Mike Keeble, HEC board member, patiently demonstrates the wonders of a digital camera to an admiring audience.  Mike diligently handles multi-million dollar budgets on his day job at the KUMC and gives the same quality time and attention to the kids in Zambia.  But I bet he isn't as big of a Rock Star at the Med Center as he is with the kids!

They loved him!


The health workers in Kathmandu had a great time "shopping" for Go foods, Grow foods, and Glow foods during our training yesterday.    Now you can figure out how that matches up with the latest nutrition  guidelines you know about!
Sent from my android

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Never too old

Sherri and Grace checking out new books
The library is expanding as more books are added each year.  The kids love it!  And so do the older folks.  Bernard Chalwe, the School Board Chair at Chipulukusu, told us recently, "Even me, I use the library.  It has helped me a lot."  The teachers also have a section where their college text books are kept for reference.

Mr. Milimo, the Head Teacher, is busily investigating ways to open the library to community members who have made requests since it's the only library in the community.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

What about Boys?

Many signs of welcome were displayed by the children who lined up to greet us at Chipulukusu.  Some, like this one holding the sign, are sharp little boys who are high achievers in school.

As a matter of fact, Sylvester, one of the 7th grade boys received the highest  score among all boys taking the standardized exam at 20 schools.  He was also a double orphan with no means to continue school.  We managed to find a way to provide him a scholarship even though we don't have a specific program for boys like we do for girls.  Yet.

Hopefully that will change in the future as more donors join us to support additional school programs.   Wouldn't it be a shame to keep such a high achieving boy out of school for lack of $140?  He just might be the one that finds the cure for cancer...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cost of a smile

What is a smile worth?  This smile cost about $140 and will last a lifetime.

This is one of the eleven 7th grade girls at Chipulukusu that received a HealthEd Connect scholarship to go to the 8th grade.  The scholarship paid for school fees, a dictionary, a Good News Bible (school requirement), and a jersey (sweater).  The scholarship committee tells us some of the girls cried when they were told they had received a scholarship,  They thought their school days were over.  When asked what careers they hoped to pursue the girls said journalists, nurses, teachers, and accountants.

In order to get the girls all the way through the 12th grade, they are encouraged to come back to the Chips School and share in the Girls Achievement Program (GAP) weekly activities.  We're hoping for 100% retention rate!