I can hardly believe that I have only been in Mongu for over a week, it feels like this is my new home. Everyone has been so incredibly welcoming and so kind; whether I am sitting in the back yard, biking through town, or working at the hospital every person stops to shake my hand and welcome me to Zambia. It is such a great feeling. Speaking of working at the hospital, this week my group (Elizabeth, Sherise and myself) were on the Children's ward. It was an incredible experience and I wish I could stay there for the duration! Each morning when we walk on the ward the children sit up in bed, smile and start waving - they are always so excited to see the "Makuwa's!" I have learnt so much from the doctors, nurses and students on this ward. We work very closely with the staff and this has made for a very postive learning experience. The daily routine of the ward is such a contrast to what I am used to, and the severity of disease and illness is like nothing I could ever have imagined. The incidence of severe malnutrition, malaria, and HIV is astonishing and it is so heart renching to see such young children so sick. It has made me truly realize how fortunate and blessed we are in Canada, and how much we have. It has made me come to know what life is really all about and what truly matters. There are many people here who have so little, and yet the smiles on their faces could not get any bigger.
As you will read below, we went to the Orphange on Sunday and were joined by over 200 children. When we arrived they were singing the most beautiful songs - it brought tears to my eyes. We started off by singing and dancing with them, and then we spilt into groups and did beading, painting, skipping, soccer, red rover, and bubbles! It was so joyous to see the children so happy and having so much fun. The couple who run the orphanage told us that it is rare that the children seem so happy, and they were so thankful for our presence. The children glommed onto us - I could easily have brought at least half a dozen home!
All is all everything is going really well. I am having so much fun, learning tons, and crying lots.
Sending all my love to my family and friends back home.