Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Road to Djati during rainy season
I've been thinking very hard about how to launch the final phase of the project for Djati (the building of a very much needed medical building for the 1,000 people of Djati and surrounding villages). I've received word from our team on the ground in Guinea Bissau that circumstances have turned dire.  When the team is able to go in to help, they are treating 60 people a day. The people are being treated without an actual medical facility and NO lights. Stop for a second and just imagine being treated by your doctor or having your tooth extracted in the dark by flashlight.  It just makes me so sad!

the school has to double as a medical clinic when not in use
Recently our team purchased some disposable cameras and sent them to Guinea Bissau via Maritza when she returned to Africa after some much needed R & R. The purpose was to have the children take pictures of their everyday lives to share with all of us (a "day in the life" if you will).  The cameras were handed out to the children and they quickly filled them up. We had no idea how we would get the cameras back to the US as my experience with mailing and shipping things to Guinea Bissau leaves a lot to be desired (remember the little dresses took 4 months). Well, it just so happened that at the same time the cameras were ready to go, an American couple (who were in Guinea Bissau to adopt a precious little baby from Casa Emanuel) agreed to bring the cameras back to the states and then ship them to me. I received them yesterday. Thank you Grace & Clint!
The cameras arrived to a happy and willing group in Djati, Guinea Bissau. Antonio Djati holding bag

Here's the interesting thing. The children really had no experience with cameras, much less a disposable camera. I don't think they had much instruction either. They had no idea what the pictures would look like and they couldn't see what they were shooting. So, I had to chuckle at many of the pictures. Lots of cut of head shots, and pictures in the dark. Yet, I'm thankful and grateful for their effort.

I'll be sharing more photos as we move through the project.
This photo from the camera of Vasco Delora camera # 12
Antonio Djati, the principal of the school, sent a camera marked with my name which included photos showing the route that is taken by the sick during the rainy season. None of our Africa team has ever made that trip. It is a very long and treacherous route by canoe. I think it is about 25-30 miles to the nearest city for medical help. Remember Djati is an isolated village with only one road in. I'm not sure how long it takes, but it took us at least a couple of hours by car. During the rainy season it is impossible to get in to help the sick. Only under critical circumstances do they even venture to take a sick patient out by canoe to Quebo for medical attention.

Constructing a building dedicated for medical use would ensure that there would always be a place where the villagers could go to receive medical attention all year round. This would be life changing!! We will stock the 2 room facility with medical supplies, we'll have trained local villagers who can provide medical treatment when no outside doctors are there and equip the building with solar for lighting. The center will also serve the sick from surrounding villages who will be more than happy to walk a few hours to receive help.

Next week I'll begin posting about how YOU can get involved with this worthwhile project. We plan to get the 1st round of funds to Freddy (our project manager) by Xmas, so we only have about a month. The building needs to be completed by May 15 as that is when the rains will begin again.

here's that AWFUL road to Djati in the dry season

the beginning of the trip by water (please note the baby on the back of the woman)

Antonio Djati

I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and remind you to please take a minute before you indulge in that hearty meal, to say a prayer and give thanks for your blessings. We are truly blessed to be living in this great country called the United States. Even the poorest among us are not as bad off as millions of people around the world who face hunger and disease on a daily basis.

Picture courtesy of Antonio Djati

Well, looks like I just launched the project!

And a special thank you to Antonio Djati - Without whom we would not have these wonderful pictures to share.


Anonymous said...

Yes, sometimes we forget how lucky we are. Thank you for bringing it all into perspective. Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting story. I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting story. I love your blog