So my first blog from Malawi and I have been here 6 days. My arrival at Chilkea airport on Monday seems a lifetime away as so much has happened. The PIH office in Neno BOMA are a backbreaking 2 hour drive from Blantyre ,the nearest big city, the last hour on the most difficult track that can really only be driven by 4WD.PIH are kindly putting me up in one of their guest houses which is actually only about 5 mins walk from the offices – 3 mins if I use the short cut and I am sharing with 2 other ladies who work at PIHThere is limited shopping in Neno- only a local market where you can buy basics, vegetables and fruit and so I bought a lots shopping in the supermarket at Blantyre before travelling to Neno!
First day in the office on Tuesday and everyone is so friendly and helpful – getting me set up at a desk, sorting IT, meeting HR and having a tour of the offices and local community hospital. PIH work with the local ministry of health providing healthcare services for about 165,000 people in Neno, which is one of the poorest areas in the country, with 2 hospitals and 12 healthcare centres
My working week finished on a highlight with a field visit to Mwanza to see the final day of the community health worker ( CHW) training. Another interesting mixed road journey of backbreaking track and then lovely tarmac road. There were about 60 CHW from local villages all in a local community hall , who had come to learn how to recognise a number of diseases and then work with households to ensure that they get the correct medical treatment. The graduation was so uplifting with certificates presented and lots of singing and dancing!
It is so peaceful here with lovely scenery, the only trouble being the frequent power cuts ( so lots of candles) and the intermittent shower!
Busy week coming up with 3 days of field trips to visit various healthcare programmes and a visit to the main warehouse as Lisongwe – my project begins!
Tsala bwino (goodbye in Chichewa) and muli bwanji is how are you!