Africa with Clinton: Zambia (Day 4)
Greetings from Zambia:
Awakened by the sunlight streaming through my balcony windows. It was too dark to see last night, but with the daylight I can see that I have a wonderful balcony that overlooks the Zambezi River. I had to force myself to leave the room – I could have easily spent the day on the balcony.
Had a relatively late start: 8:15 breakfast, 9:15 departure for Event 1. Today we traveled for 90 minutes over some VERY bad road to a rural village to visit with some Clinton Health Associates. These native Zambians are trained by medical and social work professionals for one year, and then they are deployed to villages in Zambia, where they provide basic health care services and advice to a roster of clients. They are supposed to have a catchment area of 3,500 people but personnel shortages have meant that their catchment areas really cover 12,000 people. Initially funded entirely by the Clinton Foundation, the Zambian government has now, in the program’s third year, taken over the financing. It was fascinating to hear them talk about their work, their successes, and some of the challenges they encounter, such as traditional beliefs about pregnancy and contraception, husbands who refuse to let male doctors attend their wives childbirth experience, etc. Because of the lack of resources, the Health Associates get around to see their clients either on foot or by bicycle, carrying their paperwork and medical equipment by hand. Some days, the CHAs spent HOURS just walking from village to village. Their most needed item?? Not cars (road are too bad), but motorized scooters and more efficient carrying cases for their supplies.
TWO whole hours to get back to the hotel over VERY, VERY bad road. I mean BAD ROAD. I don’t think my back is ever going to forgive me.
Next event: Starkey Hearing Fitting. The Starkey Foundation helps deaf children hear. They’ve figured out a low-cost solution to help thousands of young people hear. Today we actually fitted young people with hearing aids and helped them to hear for the first time. The expression on their faces when they could hear someone’s voice was absolutely priceless. Something I’ll never forget. That and President Clinton himself fitting kid after kid with hearing aids, working with each one to calibrate it just right. And the look of joy on their faces and his as the mission was accomplished. Simply amazing.
Next up: we joined President Clinton as he walked over to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is spectacular. There are no other words. To view their majesty, you cannot help but know that there is a God and His Name is Glorious.
On the way back, we ran into a herd of zebras grazing on the grounds of the hotel. I had already encountered some zebras earlier in the day ; as I was leaving my room, they were right outside the door. Also saw monkeys, but I missed the elephants and the giraffes, though other delegates did see them. (posted the picture on twitter, and sent it around earlier today.)
We have an early calltime tomorrow – bags must be in the lobby by 6am, with departure for the airport at 7:30pm sharp. Tanzania bound.