Friday, June 17, 2016

A Global Connection

Gloria Upchurch, one of the co-founders of the clinic, has an organization entitled, “A Global Connection,” which supports her work with the clinic. A number of people – nurses, social workers, and others - arrived in Tanzania on Friday to work with the clinic on Saturday and Sunday, the 11th and 12th.  Gloria invited us to join them for dinner at the safari lodge on Friday night. What a treat!

On Saturday, the group arrived at the clinic early to put on a day of a variety of services: an eye clinic, a teeth-brushing clinic, and a training session for nurse-midwives across the region. Gloria had sent supplies for the clinic with us and with the entire group working with her – toothpaste and toothbrushes, reading glasses of various strengths, sunglasses (which went fast!) and Anti-Shock Garments (ASGs). The latter are rubber-and-velcro devices that are strapped onto a woman who has lost too much blood in childbirth. The ASGs apply pressure to contain the hemorrhaging until the woman can get to a hospital; they are designed to save lives. These devices are not simple to use, however, and they require training both in how they are to be used and how they must be cleaned after use so they are available to help another woman.  Nine midwives from across the region came to the clinic to receive the training. First they watched a video that carefully described when and how to use the ASGs, and how to care for them. Next, they practiced putting them on and taking them off.  A colleague of Gloria’s strapped a pillow to her stomach (As she pointed out, she had her last child 30 years ago!) and played the part of a pregnant woman while the nurse midwives practiced putting the device onto, and taking it off of, her. This is an amazing device, and Gloria was able to obtain nine of them for the Sinya area.

In the middle of all of this, the BECA group was able to pull Gloria away and do an interview with her. It was outside, with a view of the clinic and the valley in the background.

At the end of the day, as the group was putting away all of the supplies, a group of about 50 women gathered outside of the clinic and began singing and dancing as a thank you to Gloria’s group.  They drew the volunteers into the dancing.  Later, the Americans (from the U.S. and Canada) sang a number of songs (like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “You Are My Sunshine” – chosen because everyone in the group knew them) back to the women.

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