In September we had the very satisfying experience of running basic health training for local villagers. This was rewarding for us because the participants came with so much goodwill, laughter and enthusiasm. Most were personally invited after we’d observed, worked or just talked with them during the last year. We targeted several active women from the parish who live in areas remote from the clinic; and invited people who might be able to influence younger people –representatives from the police, high school and church scouts.
In the end, a small group of 15 attended from across the subdistrict. For some this involved walking two hours each way for three days to the Community Centre in Hatobulico. We are really happy with the fact that the group was mostly women and included many motivated and community minded people. We feel that the training capitalised on the relationships we have developed during our last 15+ months.
Participants received a basic health treatment kit in a rat proof case and personalised certificate. During the practicals everyone got a chance to try out all the items in the kit. Learning by doing is very important here as adult literacy rates are less than 40%. We also tried to only include items in the kit that can be restocked at the local Health Post.
The training was made possible through a small but very useful grant from Paul and Carole Stolier and Father Gabriel of their local Parish. Thankyou!!! We haven’t made any promises but hope we can find time in 2013 to revisit Hatobuilico for some basic ‘refresher’ courses.
During the three days Damian covered the basics of treating (and preventing) various illnesses and infections that he commonly encounters in the clinic. For example: looking after someone with a fever; preventing and treating dehydration; cleaning and dressing wounds and burns.
We do have a small regret that we did not run the training a few months earlier – which would have given more time to follow up the event with participants before we left Hatobuilico. But Damian has been very busy with clinic demands; and has been liaising with Fred Hollows to organise access to visiting eye care specialists and follow up surgery.
And Palms reminds us that volunteering is also about our own learning curves. In delivering the training Damian drew from his experience in recent months: translating for visiting Australian nurse educators who gave health training for villagers in Maubisse via the Mary McKillop Foundation; and helping Zeshi from Café Cooperativa Timor train clinic staff.
Another success of the Palms Australia/AusAID partnership under the Pilot Volunteer Fund. As this fund is vital to achieving similar good development outcomes in the future please help us bring the great success of this program to the attention of your local member of parliament.
Palms Australia gratefully acknowledges the support of Australian Unity towards Damian Rake’s placement.