Dearest Kudimba friends,
For the Autumn newsletter we have a special lined up for you.
Kate and Monica are Scottish medical students who volunteered in the local clinic whilst staying in Kudimba. We hope you enjoy reading their story.
“Our medical school elective to Malawi started with a 23 hour journey from Glasgow, Scotland. On our arrival in Malawi, me and my friend Monica were greeted by a very smiley and friendly Max. He drove us the 2 hour journey from Lilongwe to Kudimba in Lifuwu, showing us the points of interest and helping us get some basic supplies for our stay. The first view of the lake at sunset was impressive and we knew that we were in for a good 5 weeks in Malawi! After unpacking and settling in to our new home we bedded down under the mosquito nets for some much needed sleep.
The following morning we explored the small, friendly village of Lifuwu and acquainted ourselves with the beach. The children playing in the lake were keen to show us the small fish they had caught and Monica was lucky enough to hold one of them! We sussed out where to get the motorbike to the clinic, an unusual commute but fun nonetheless. We spoke to Cornelio and his family who live at Kudimba whilst cooking with our ingredients bought at the market earlier.
On our second full day in Malawi we began our placement at Pothawira Mission. Mr Peter Maseko established Pothawira in 2011 with his lovely wife Emma. On the large site a few minutes out of Salima Town there is a health centre, primary school and orphanage. Monica and I were based in the health centre which runs a busy outpatient clinic seeing 200-300 patients per day. Many of these patients are diagnosed with Malaria using the blood spot testing available in the clinic. By offering these services at a higher quality than government hospitals and lower cost than other private clinics the organisation has flourished and provides vital services to the community.
Days at the clinic were long but varied. We rotated between consultation rooms, treatment room, triage area and malaria testing room. Mr Maseko and the nurses were excellent supervisors and taught us how to dress horrendous wounds, perfect our injection technique and quickly assess patients. We learnt so much about healthcare in developing countries and how to make the most of available equipment in a poor resource setting.
Towards the end of our placement we visited Kunyumba (the day care centre for vulnerable children), we spent a lovely afternoon playing in the sand with the children. It was such a beautiful and happy place, you could tell the children were so fulfilled and that the staff love what they do.
Our time in Malawi would not have been the same without the help of the Kudimba staff. Cornelio gave us advice on where to buy the best tomatoes and helped us feel generally safe and secure during our stay in Kudimba. Mercy was an incredible help, she made sure we had healthy and tasty meals cooked for when we arrived back from Pothawira, cleaned the chalet and did our washing (my least favourite chore). I don’t think we could have coped without her!
Monica and I had such a good time in Malawi. We saw the highs and the lows of healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa, experienced Malawian culture, ate some amazing food (we would highly recommend Mercy’s rice and beans!), saw some beautiful beaches, met some wonderful, caring people and got to live in a stunning part of the world for a few weeks. Thank you to everyone to made our trip so incredible, especially Maaike!”
We are delighted that Kate and Monica had such a rewarding time with Kudimba. At the same time they showed great resilience in dealing with the challenging realities of life and healthcare in Malawi. We hope that many more volunteers and visitors will follow their footsteps.
The first picture shows Kate and Monica at the clinic. Also have a look at the other pictures and admire our newest Kudimba developments: the finished office building and the cherry on the cake; our newest beautiful guest chalet, this time in brick. We have managed to build this chalet thanks to a very generous donation of Gina and Adam from the USA who have supported Kudimba- and Austin’s studies- for several years now. Zikomo Kwambiri!
The next newsletter will be reported live from Malawi again, with updates and pictures of more exciting new developments!