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Posts Tagged ‘health care’


I had the privilege of joining a team of educators in a life changing trip to Kenya in July, to see first hand the good work being done by Free the Children and Me to We, to personally experience the Maasai culture and to contribute in building an X-ray room for the nearby Baraka health care centre. To say that I was inspired is an understatement.

Living 2 weeks with very limited electricity (powered by a generator only to charge our cameras between 6 and 10 pm), no running water, away from our daily electronics and with no access to the internet was easier than I thought. This could be because we were kept so busy with a variety of activities, learning and building that I barely missed my computer. Although journaling by hand under a small pool of light from a battery operated head lamp, cocooned under my mosquito net at night took a lot longer and deprived me of some much needed sleep. But all this was worth it.

As a parent in a developed country, I wish all our kids could go on a trip like this and experience how those with so much less live and survive. Now that I have learned what Free the Children and Me to We do and how they approach their work, I can say I endorse and support them because they don’t just give them fish, they teach them how to fish, so that they can sustain the change even after Free the Children leaves the community. Before they even do the work, the community is consulted and involved in the decisions being made to improve their lives. In summary, here are the 4 pillars that Free the Children engage each community with:

  1. Education – building primary schools in the community
  2. Clean Water project – not only to provide clean water, but teach the community members how to operate and maintain the clean water system
  3. Health Care – not only to provide medical treatment, but also education and prevention to mitigate major illnesses and diseases
  4. Alternative Income – encourage, teach and coach community women groups and men groups to find ways to build alternative incomes, including “Merry Go Round” – a way for the community to pool and share financial support.

I was told that it takes Free the Children team members anywhere between 5 to 13 years to coach and support a community and to complete the 4 pillars in a community. Rather than explaining all this here, I will endeavour to put all my hand written journal entries into computer and post it here.

I feel so lucky to be living in a country like ours. It was an AWESOME trip, with an AWESOME group of Canadian, British Columbia educators.

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We tend to complain and bitch about our health care system and feel helpless not being to do anything about it. Well, I am going to do something, but this something has to do with praising our health care system … here is the story.

My father-in-law, a very healthy 87 year old with no previous symptoms, suddenly suffered a heart attack last Friday. He collapsed in the front yard of a house, next door to the friend that he was going to visit to borrow a wheel barrow. He was unconscious and his heart stopped for a while. For whatever reason, his friend looked out the window and saw him lying on the grass. 911 was called, ambulance came (20 min. later as it had to come from the next town), he was transported to the hospital in Vernon. He had a fantastic doctor from the Emergency Dept., who kept us informed on a daily basis with updates.

All the stars were aligned for him as this could have turned out much worse. I focus on all the positive things that went right:

  • He collapsed where his friend saw him.
  • His friend looked out the window for no particular reason.
  • His heart started pumping again on its own.
  • He only scraped his forehead, his face and his knee. He didn’t break anything or suffered other major injuries from his collapse.
  • He received great care from an¬†exceptional doctor, who has been very communicative, personable and offered much insights for the family. He phoned us every morning so far to keep us up to date, when he didn’t see us face-to-face.
  • My husband’s siblings really pulled together and drove to be with my parents-in-law, everyone did his / her best to help and stay in the loop, juggling with their own jobs, families and distance. All the spouses are supportive during this difficult time.
  • Thank goodness for emails to reach a large group of people quickly with news.
  • It looks like my father-in-law will be able to have the surgery to repair the blocked valve within days. (fingers crossed)

Even though none of us wants this to happen, the incident brought out the bright side of things … and the AWESOME people in our lives.

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