Starting my service was difficult as the rainy season took people away. My counterparts proved their worth when some of them disappeared into the weeding of their fields while others found time for me and community development. It was astonishing how much the lack of involvement can take down your motivation. And i devolved into an insider. I kept to myself but I needed to keep busy. I needed to get somewhere to call home. So I got busy.
First came mild training. One on one talks and training and teaching led to seeing who is active and interested. And those who kept me waiting and pretended to know their “job”, I lost my patience and told off. I got tired. This is years of my life and I wasn’t going to hide away.
For the first three months of my service, the standard NHC member in my village would do the following:
• only be present during under five week or one day a month where mothers bring their toddlers for vaccinations and weighing
• do not talk during those days only to quickly direct the women out and gone after weigh ins and reporting immunizations.
• do not report papers and charts of ages of children who reported to the under five to the clinic after the day is over.
That was it. An NHC is more than that. They are the link for the community to the clinic. They are the public health sector to the community development.
But this February everything has changed. The new elections has brought my counterpart and best friend and partner, Violet from treasure to chairperson. In one month, the NHC is now attending “mandatory” NHC training I am hosting, have to give health education during village inspections, and fully be active, available and ready to take care of the community clinic.
This Thursday, I saw them do three skits about malaria and the frightening distance (7km) they can carry malaria from one person to another. And then the relationship of malaria to open containers of water to water sanitation. I saw them talk and participate and use my health charts one in English and translate them to BEMBA. I was so astounded that only job that day was sitting under a roof so the rain didn’t get me. I did nothing. The reports were in. The clinic was happy. Food was made and I went home early after a whole day of nothing for me. I trained them to speak in public and they learned the information from training I gave them and with the leadership and scariness of Violet, the 2015 NHC of the clinic might be exceptional.