It’s been fun malaria month. The malaria campaign that I conducted is just the start of the malaria projects I hope to do over the next year, but it has given me a better idea of the needs of each village in my district that the clinic serves and the challenges to health access in the most remote communities.
For World Malaria Day on April 25th, our country director and the Chief of Missions for Peace Corps Africa came to visit. All the volunteers from our work group got together at the middle school in Adeta to play games for malaria education to over 500 students.
Last week I visited Votré a village 10 km from mine, but a different ethnicity called Kaybe. Each house was 3km apart through corn fields and I was completely exhausted at the end of the day. I only realized how much Ewe I have learned when I was in a village where no one spoke French or Ewe, except for the wonderful health worker who was with me.
This month I have conducted house visits in 17 villages to over 500 households! Yesterday’s village was the last village, Goudeve Todji, the furthest village from the clinic in Goudeve, which is only accessible by foot. I left at 6am with my friend from village who agreed to show me the way. We walked through dense brush and I was terrified of snakes, followed by climbing rocks up a windy narrow path. I feel like I am a pretty skilled hiker after years in the Cascades, but I can’t believe Francois hiked this in flip flops. The best part was eating mangoes and looking at this incredible view. I told Francois that I love mangoes so he proceeded to climb the tree and fill up a backpack.
When we arrived in the village we did 30 house visits followed by visiting the school (shown below) to talk with students about malaria. After the training 4 students came up the the community health worker and said they had the symptoms I talked about. We tested them and treated them there in the classroom. I was the first volunteer to ever come to their village and the students told me they have never been told malaria comes from mosquitos. I’m hoping to go back in a few months and start a project there because everyone was so excited and motivated.