Children’s Health and Thukuta Village

Having recently become a mother, I know perhaps more than most the worry and heartache that comes when your child is facing health issues. At 4 months into the pregnancy we learned that our baby had several issues with his heart and possible developmental and physical disabilities. It was with great sadness that a month ago we had to say goodbye to our son Theodore Bartlett at 36 weeks in the pregnancy. The health concerns had become too much and his heart stopped beating. Although the past 5 months were painful, we were grateful to receive excellent medical care and we had time to emotionally prepare for the serious medical issues our child would be facing. I would reflect throughout all this how lucky we were to be living in Canada. The care and answers we could receive. It has brought my attention back to Thukuta Village in Malawi and made we wonder in what ways we could support perinatal health and children’s health in the village. We heard back from Rodrick in Malawi and were saddened to hear that 2 children have died in the village since June of this year. The causes are unknown as the 2 children were not brought to the hospital.

childThukutavillage

Hearing this reminded me of my first trip to Malawi in 2008. A child had died in the village we were volunteering in at the time and we were invited to share in the burial service. The beautiful display of love through communal grieving touched me to the core. I hold this memory very closely now. At the time the village did not know the cause of death, for the same reasons as Thukuta village. These occurrences bring up many concerns and questions. There is a hospital near Thukuta village but we can assume that villagers cannot afford the transport. Would they be open to going to the hospital if transportation could be provided free of cost? Have the villagers received adequate health education to know when to recognize serious signs of illness and a deteriorating state of health? Could bringing in a nurse to provide health education be useful? Could medical supplies be useful to the village such as fever strips, (little strips that are put on someone’s forehead and indicate if a fever is present)? Would the preschool benefit from a part time nurse who could also service the community? Today is International World AIDS Day and we are aware that there are villagers in Thukuta who suffer from AIDS. What is their health state, are they receiving adequate treatment? As a parent, are they able to take care of their children?

These are all questions which we hope Rodrick through WHEAMS will be able to explore with Thukuta in the next year. The hope is to connect with existing medical initiatives in the area and initiate a pilot project in Thukuta. The hope is to permanently fund a health initiatives in the village that is sustainable.

 

In memory of little T and because it is Giving Tuesday, I ask that you would consider donating to Warm Heart Initiatives so we can create a special fund for perinatal and children’s health for Thukuta village.

 

However small amount you can give we are extremely grateful and 100% of your funds will go to this initiative. Because we are volunteers, Warm Heart Initiatives has no overhead costs except bank transfer fees.

 

There are two ways you can donate: through Paypal by clicking here

or by cheque to Warm Heart Initiatives addressed to

Warm Heart Initiatives

1 Weredale Park

Westmount, QC H3Z 1Y5

UNICEF Responds to Malawi Flooding Devastation

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/feb/10/malawi-floods-devastation-far-worse-than-first-thought

Although Thukuta village remains largely untouched, food security is likely to become an issue as crop production has been devastated country wide. Tune in to hear how WHEAMS hopes to address the issue.

What I am looking forward to for our trip to Malawi by Jacinthe Dion

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I am anxious to see all the wonderful projects that I have discussed and read about that are currently in progress in Thukuta.  I have been presented with photos and videos and I am excited to see what are currently images in my mind take shape in real life.    

I look forward to seeing the village and meetings its people.  I am curious to see their reaction to me and I can’t wait for them to show me their culture.  I also look forward to meeting the board of WHEAMS.  It is exciting to be able to meet other people internationally with the same passion and enthusiasm to be part of a change and develop a sustainable world.

I am extremely excited to gain new knowledge and acquire new perspectives. I have the strong desire to learn and be able to see the world through a different pair of eyes. I could not be more thrilled to embark on such a trip with Amelia Birch and Elizabeth Johnstone who are very passionate and who have a lot of experience.  I look forward to seeing them in action.  To be able to learn from the community in Thukuta is a privilege itself and that is why I feel so blessed to also have the opportunity to learn from my own peers who are traveling with me.  They have already taught me so much just by going through the preparation for this trip with them that I cannot imagine how much more I will be able to learn from them once the trip begins. 

From a new language to a new landscape, new interactions and different foods,  giving and sharing yet having the opportunity to learn and receive as well.  To fly overseas for the first time and enter a new continent, to have earned the trust from my parents to let me go and to see a new culture: everything about this trip is new and exciting.  I see in this trip a new experience filled with challenges and goals, an endless number of learning opportunities coexisting with an endless number of opportunities for me to share my own knowledge. 

The task for me to pick what I am looking forward to the most is impossible.  It is just safe for me to say that I have been thinking and praying about this trip every day for the last few months and now it is weighing heavy on my heart to get up and GO.  This trip represents a once in a life time opportunity for me to get involved internationally, give back to a world that has already given me so much and be a part of something that is greater than anything I could have ever imagined.  A trip that holds so much power in itself to make a difference not only for the community of Thukuta but also for our community here and I am looking forward to seeing this impact at first hand.  I am looking forward to becoming a global citizen.