For our final week, Rebekah and Rebecca were paired together again at the Save-a-Life Centre and Village of Hope Clinic. We have been a running joke throughout this whole experience with locals finding it humorous that we share the same name, asking if we are twins. In response, we resorted to our given Lozi names for most of the week.
It was a pleasure to work at the Village of Hope Clinic and see firsthand the incredible health care that is being provided. This clinic is funded by the Zambia Project, a missionary organization that has established the Village of Hope initiative here in Mongu. The goal of the Village of Hope, is to provide healthcare, nutrition, shelter, and education to those children in need.
These services are provided through the clinic, school, orphanage, and Save-a-Life Centre, with plans for further expansion.
The Village of Hope is entirely run and supported through volunteers, employees, sponsors, donors, and money raised from the jewelry sold at the Hope Art store. The Hope Art store, sells jewellery, stuffed animals, and bags that are all handmade by local volunteers. The profit from the store goes directly to supporting the Village of Hope initiatives. In fact, with the purchase of two beaded bracelets, two malnourished children can be adequately fed for 2 months. Both of us enjoyed some shopping, knowing it is for a great cause!
We also had the pleasure of working in the Village of Hope clinic. During our time in the clinic, we were pleasantly surprised by the resources and medical supplies that were available for use. These resources were familiar, and made our work easier in many ways. We worked closely with a couple physicians at the clinic who were very knowledgable and we were able to learn a lot from them. Our time in the clinic was very unique, in that we had the opportunity to step into the role of a nurse practitioner. Within a few hours of our first day, we were triaging, assessing, diagnosing, and prescribing medications to our patients. This is not within the scope of the registered nurse back in Canada, but it was exciting to have the opportunity to practice this skill. We were both surprised by the knowledge and skills we had to offer in the clinic and by the end of week were able to see patients independently. However, it was very difficult communicating with the locals, and found ourselves frustrated with the language barrier. Many times, we felt that we could have provided better care to our patients if we could speak the native language. Somedays, we relied heavily on a translator to communicate.
The staff at the Village of Hope and Save-A-Life-Centre have built incredible relationships with the local and surrounding communities. Although newly established, the Village of Hope clinic has seen over 1400 clients. It is evident how greatly needed this clinic is in the community, with locals walking hours to receive the health care they need. We both gained anew appreciation for the locals who walk hours to the clinic, when we had to walk hours to their homes for home visits. We both could not imagine walking hours when feeling unwell to access health care services.
After long days in the busy clinic, we both welcomed the thought of spending an afternoon with the children at the Village of Hope orphanage. Upon our arrival to the orphanage, we were greeted by the children with overwhelming excitement and joy. As we learned, many of these children are orphans or are children who are not able to live at home anymore due to their living conditions. Despite some of the difficult circumstances that some of these children had come from, their love and zest for life was infectious. We both found ourselves laughing and playing with the children for hours. Many times, the media can portray orphans as sad and hopeless, but it was evident that these children were some of the happiest children we had ever met. We could also see how the children loved and supported each other and a true feeling of community and family was evident at the orphanage.
The mission of Village of Hope-Africa "is to bring lasting hope to orphans and vulnerable children by providing them with love and care so they can embrace adulthood as contributing members of society." This was very evident during our time at orphanage and in the clinic. We were continually impressed by the high quality and commitment to care of children and families in the Mongu community. The doctors, nurses, and other staff at the Village of Hope and Save-A-Life-Centre are an essential reason why the programs are so successful. It was an honour to work closely with the staff and with the local people of Mongu who we saw in the clinic.
For more information about the Village of Hope, please visit this site:
Rebekah and Rebecca