January 13

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Final weeks in Neno

So coming back after my Christmas break I am now racing towards the end of my assignment in 3 weeks and I cannot believe my 6 months here is coming to a close. There is still so much to do and so little time……!

I was lucky enough to be home for Christmas and it was lovely to see all my family and friends – even if it was a whirlwind of visits, dinners, lunches, shopping and new house visits! Yes both my children have decided to buy properties and move out while I have been away – if only I had known a 6 month international assignment would give them the push they needed!!

Procurement projects are all progressing nicely with a couple of competitive bids out, another house to be constructed and a big construction extension for the hospital. The procurement policy has been rolled out with Faith, the procurement officer and I conducting 6 training session across 3 sites, with the last one being conducted this week. The warehouse is also being closed for the next couple of weeks for stocktaking and reorganisation which I have said I’ll help with as well – looking forward to finding all sorts of interesting things that I am sure have been there for a long time!

This week I was lucky enough to attend a home visit arranged by
PIH Programme for Social and Economic Rights (POSER) and a Screening for Health and Referral in the Community (SHARC) event run by Community Programmes.
In the home visit I met a family who required financial support from PIH to build a suitable house and so while the paperwork was being signed it seems the children appreciated the netball I took, one that was donated by one of my many net-balling friends in the U.K.

SHARC is part of the Integrated Care Cascade, developed in Neno, where PIH and the Ministry of Health visit hard to reach villages and designated hot spots and people can be screened for a range of conditions including HIV, hypertension, diabetes, TB, malnutrition and family planning. They also raise awareness of certain health conditions, address behavioural issues, helping people make healthy choices and provide information about available health services. The event often has a band or music and at this one they had young children take part in a dancing competition, judged by the attendees. Thank you to both Victor, Sam and the POSER and community programmes teams for make these trips possible

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Now the rainy season is upon us travelling is so much more difficult in the area and the journey into Blantyre (our nearest city) is now 2.5-3 hrs instead of the speedy 2 hrs it was during the dry season. We now have to go either the long way or even the long, long way! Many of the clinic visits are in jeopardy as the 4×4 and even the ATV’s cannot pass through the muddy and rough road. I am just keeping my fingers crossed for my airport journey back at the end of Jan.😟We have such a brilliant group of drivers here who drive in the most challenging of circumstances, in all weathers, at all times of the day and night, desperately trying to get people where they need to be.
I’ll leave you with a couple of photos & a video ! The video was taken at the office during one of the less heavy showers!

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My journey back to Neno from Blantyre after the Christmas break unfortunately there were 6 of us plus holiday luggage and of course the essential food shopping – still the we managed to get it all onboard and there was just enough room for the passengers!!

 

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The journey back from the home visit – get ready we are driving through the river and up the bank – honestly who needs to visit a theme park for a thrilling ride – come to Neno in rainy season😀