Letter 4

The medical camp was very instrumental in determining what main problems of the Gohawa community members are. They range from lack of hygiene to unawareness, and a lot of people have simply adopted attitudes of indifference to the ailments that they suffer from, dismissing it as a problem with no solution. Diving directly into the problems of the community has made it much easier for me to see a clear and simple way to help tackle the problem, and that is directly from the source.

health posters

I spent the entire last week devising a syllabus and printing out huge and colorful posters in preparation for the workshops I wish to hold with the community members. I am scared and nervous, however, as I feel that their reaction to my workshops will simply be ‘in from one ear, out from the other’. After talking to the principal of the charity school that is going to serve as the location of the workshops, I have concluded that the community members and the students don’t implement any of the knowledge that they are made aware of unless this is by force. I don’t want my workshops to be just another lecture that the community members are forced to attend and pay no heed to. I want it to be something that leaves a marked effect on the community and increases the general health of the population of people there. In order to do this, I am putting a lot of my efforts into trying to make this workshop as interactive as possible and have also created some worksheets for the students and community members to work on to assess how many of the tips for preventative healthcare they have followed.

I recently visited the school and was overwhelmed by the amount of love and hospitality shown by the kids there, who instantly rushed to meet me and tell me their names. I have taught at this school before, but it is usually to the older kids in the high school section of the school at a time when elementary school children are on vacation. The principal of the school, Ma’am Rabia, often tells me that these students look towards me as a role model and that they follow everything I say very closely. Seeing the little kids and their excitement to meet me, was proof of that very fact, which kindled within me a great deal of optimism that perhaps my workshop and the information I dispel will have a lasting effect and will help them identify and combat diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

Although the main crux of my program focuses on these two metabolic diseases, I also have included hygiene measures for the community members to take, for things like using soap, brushing teeth, covering ones mouth while sneezing and coughing etc, are not common practices in this region. Good hygiene will help protect them from communicable diseases, which is important because bad health would exacerbate diabetes or hypertension as well.

I look forward to the coming days with immense hope and optimism that this preventive health model will be a sustainable one and one that created a measurable impact. Until then, here I am, sweating it out in the 400C weather, happy to be home and among people I love.

Kinza Khan is a T’20 Undergraduate and a 2018 Kenan Summer Research Fellow.

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