Tuesday, January 30, 2018


The fearless four are departing African soil!!.  Mike Keeble, Jac and Sherri Kirkpatrick, and Lauren Hall left KC Friday, Jan 12  at 2:00 pm and arrived in Ndola Zambia at 12:30 pm Sunday. We're now retracing our steps and heading home after an uplifting and successful trip.  Unfortunately we were not able to see many of our kiddos since the government closed all schools as a preventive measure against a cholera epidemic in Lusaka.  No problems in our areas but we all took extra precautions by Slathering on the Purell, washing hands, drinking bottled water, no salads, etc.  We took no chances.   Our last few days were spent in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa.  The Sinkhani volunteers are tirelessly bringing encouragement and health to their communities and now the Chiefs are rewarding them with a plot of land to build a place of their own. Onward!!

Monday, January 29, 2018

: Negotiating under the tree

We had the honor of meeting with 8 African Chiefs today.  The Head Chief for the Kasomba area gifted us with several acres of prime land overlooking the beautiful rolling hills of northern Malawi.  In return,  HealthEd Connect agreed to replace the current dilapidated building with a safe new structure for the Sinkhani healthworkers to use for weighing babies rather than "hanging them from the tree" as the Chief says.  The Sinkhani have big plans to also provide activities and teach life skills for the many orphans living in the area.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What a feast!

Our first night in Mzimba Malawi, they ushered the 4 of us into a tiny house, illuminated by a single candle, and began delivering covered dishes containing the usual nshima, rice, greens, beef chunks --- and chicken feet.  The 29 Sinkhani who had arrived from all over Malawi were served the same feast around the cookshack outside.  After a few minutes, we heard a timid knock on our door and one of the Sinkhani politely asked if we had any extra chicken feet.  Not surprisingly, we did!  So we gladly gave her our  left overs and sent her happily on her way.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fwd: You think you've got problems!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Sherri Kirkpatrick" <skirkpatrick@healthedconnect.org>
Date: Jan 17, 2018 8:38 PM
Subject: You think you've got problems!
To: <goodtogo5@blogger.com>

Moses is incredibly unlucky to have a severe allergy to maize (corn) and also be living in Zambia. Maize happens to be the main ingredient in the Zambian diet and is frequently the only food served for a meal.   His mother, says she's given him nshima (thick maize), sample (a cracked maize product) as well as thin maize porridge.  No matter how she fixes maize, however, he throws it up.   The Kafwa have adopted him as one of their clients and are trying to find other foods the family can afford.  There is an urgency to solving Moses' food crisis since he's HIV positive and cannot be treated until his blood count qualifies him.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fwd: One Happy Man!!

I'm having trouble getting news out from Africa.  I'm trying again!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Sherri Kirkpatrick" <skirkpatrick@healthedconnect.org>
Date: Jan 24, 2018 1:27 PM
Subject: One Happy Man!!
To: <goodtogo5@blogger.com>

Yesterday the Kafwa in Luapula Zambia, took us to meet Moses, a 93 year old marvel.  He nearly pulled Jac off his feet as he pumped his hand and engaged every facial wrinkle in a ear-to-ear smile of joyous welcome.  Moses has every reason to be happy.  Several months ago a heavy brick block fell from a rooftop causing a deep and serious wound on his leg that soon became infected.  The doctors wanted to amputate.  Not so fast said the Kafwa who immediately started treating the leg with a homemade guava leaf antiseptic.  They eventually also used some triple antibiotic ointment we had provided.  End result?  A saved leg with minimal scarring and a doctor who has invited the Kafwa to teach his staff how to make the guava leaf antiseptic. For you curious readers, you might want to Google guava leaf antiseptic to learn about research confirming it's efficacy against staph infections.  It's free, it's readily available in many countries---and it works miracles for people like Moses.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


These two moms were dancing, clapping, and waving these certificates when they met us coming in the school yard at Kasompe.  They had every reason to celebrate!!  They had just received news that their children had passed the 7th grade standardized exams!!  They were now carrying home  chickens to prepare a BIG splurge celebration meal.

We were thrilled for them but even more elated to learn we had 100% pass rate at both schools ---49 students at Kasompe and 58 at Chipulukusu!!!  That's an incredible feat for  107 orphans and vulnerable children who have so many challenges in life.  Kudos to their teachers for providing them with a quality efucation.  We couldn't be prouder...

Monday, January 15, 2018

Women's Health Care

I cannot independently verify the following statistics, but I CAN personally attest to the huge need that exists for women's health care in the poorest countries where HealthEd Connect works.  I will never forget an elderly, wizened, little lady in the DR Congo that came up to me many years ago with a baby in her arms.  I thought she was the baby's grandmother until she looked at me imploringly and said, "This is my 14th child and I'm worn out.  Can you do anything to help me?"    Unfortunately, there were no family planning facilities I could send her to.  Her plea has haunted me ever since.  I wasn't able to help her but she has certainly motivated me to do everything within my power to make family planning available for women I encounter today.  Like women everywhere, they desperately want babies....just not so many so close together.  Unfortunately, the decisions we make in the U.S. can have devastating impacts on women in the DR Congo and other needy places.

Shortly after taking office, the Trump administration reinstated the Global Gag Rule, designed to cut US funding to any organization that provides abortion services. While every Republican administration since Reagan has promulgated the policy (and every Democratic withdrawn it), Trump's expanded version is more disastrous for global health than any prior iteration. Not only does it cut funding to organizations for abortions, it slashes all US government funding - close to $9 billion - to organizations that offer a range of non-abortion related health services if they also provide, refer, or even just counsel about abortion. This expansion means essential health care for diseases such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and cervical cancer will be denied. 

Printed in the Hesperian Society 
online bulletin January 11, 2018:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Oh those vaccinations!

This baby doesn't know it now but it just received one of the biggest gifts available to children throughout the world -- vaccinations.  Josephine, the Wasaidizi health worker supervisor in DR Congo, was recently trained by the government and appointed as an immunization coordinator in her area of Lubumbashi.  She said she was chosen because of her long volunteer service to HealthEd Connect.

We're making huge strides in vaccinations throughout the world.

According to WHO:

During 2016, about 86% of infants worldwide (116.5 million infants) received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine, protecting them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness and disability or be fatal. By 2016, 130 countries had reached at least 90% coverage of DTP3 vaccine.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bikers Soldier Through!

Dan Mahlik and friends

A couple of months ago, Dan Mahlik, husband of one of our Board members, decided to host a HealthEd Connect event of his own.  He invited several guys to join him for a weekend of good eats and bike riding on his farm in Wisconsin.  The guys came -- and so did the rain!  But they soldiered through the weather and rode on.  Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch, so Dan 'charged' them for the weekend by collecting donations for HealthEd Connect.

  What a great idea to replicate for the new year -- exercise, fun, and food all rolled into one!