Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Good Things Come to Africa!

I am getting "amused credit" for bringing the rains to Karatu! Actually, the people are smiling because they've been waiting anxiously for the rainy season and in dire need of something to help with the crops and the animals. Since I happen to arrive on the same day as the rain, I'm getting a few kudos as well. Here's hoping that both the moisture and I keep up the good work!

Please note that the entries on this blog may sometimes appear out of order. Internet connections are not easy and yesterday I couldn't post the beginning entries and sent them on to a friend who may get them posted today. Rather than try and post them myself, I'm proceeding but the gist of those was that I arrived!

I just read the program description for the work I'll be doing. The problem they are addressing is the fact that the under-five mortality rate for 2000-2004 was 112 per 1000 live births and its infant morality rate was 68 per 1000. In Karatu where I am, the infant mortality rate was 93 per 1000 live births. However, since many children are born at home with traditional birth attendants or the mother actually doing the whole thing solo, the estimates are that 8 out of 10 children die at home and six of them withut any contact with formal health services.

This project is to create awareness among the birth attendants of potential problems and provide prevention education. I'm quite excited about a Survive and Thrive aspect to it as well which will help provide the mothers with a way to produce income.

The rains are nourishing the dusty fields and thirsty plants and providing a slippery approach to driving. Fortunately, I'm not the one in the drivers seat as cars are limited and the program has a couple of jeeps and drivers attached. I can't wait to see what my legs look like at then end of the day though. I am wearing skirts to fit into the conservative culture and that translates into muddy calves to be sure. I mentioned that the roads were dirt, right? Of course, now they are mud!

After trying to make the internet work last night, I sat down to a surprise meal prepared by my housemate who is a worker with the program. She is staying at the guest house until she can find more permanent residence. The potato and meat stew was tasty and we watched Out of Africa as we ate.

"I had a farm in Africa" never sounded so ironic and sweet as it did last night. She was curious about the relationships depicted in the story. And she provided commentary on the African elements. I think we both enjoyed the exchange of information.

Ok, that's enough infor for now. Let's see if I can actually post this time!

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