One of the most pleasurable experiences, personally, in the past two months was returning to Kendu bay after working in the area 3 years ago with Operation Crossroads Africa. Not only was there a very warm welcoming from those who remembered our previous group, but the progress in the hospital was uplifting to see as well.
Tamari, the Head Matron at Kendu Adventist Hospital, had spent a day with me on the first visit showing me what she thought the hospital was lacking, namely a new surgical ward with recovery area, incubators in the maternity ward and toys for the peds ward. She explained that the cost for all additions would be raised by a "harambee", a community party where locals gather to donate to a particular cause.
Upon arriving at the hospital, the progress in the area is clearly evident. A large surgical ward is currently under construction, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has constructed a center for HIV/AIDS patients to receive counseling and ARVs from a knowledgeable, determined staff, and even the maternity ward is equipped with incubators.
Not only were the tangible changes impressive, but the cultural mindset concerning HIV/AIDS has turned around completely. Community members are receiving ARVs regularly, they are healthier, and this in turn has encouraged others to go and get tested. A positive test is accepted with a sense of relief; now that the cause for recurrent illnesses and overall poor health has been found, they can begin to receive the same effective treatment as their neighbors.
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