News from Buccama

The Health Centre has been a quieter place this week as the rush of visitors has stopped. Sister says they can go for months and months without any visitors and suddenly last week there were two lots of Italians and one group of Capuchin priests. All had to be fed, watered and guided round the Health Centre. Still all the work goes on. It is an interesting thing to be part of, as we too are visitors but we feel defensive of our hosts because big groups feel a bit invasive. On the other hand they bring things and sometimes donations. This time, Sister hopes that a new generator will be the result of the Italian visit.

Meanwhile the finishing touches are going on in the new maternity wing. The work rate is fantastic. When the money is provided all the finishing things get done: Lighting, electrics, plumbing plus endless endless scrubbing of the ceramic tiles.

The midwives are now working on the careful transfer of all the existing maternity equipment across to the new unit. It is hard to describe the difference between the old and the new set ups and the delight of the midwives in their new premises. No doubt for the brave mothers the experience is still well named in the word “labour” but their surroundings will be infinitely more pleasant.

Last evening I was present at yet another birth and was overawed at the skill and care of the midwives, the stoicism of the mother and the first anxious moments until the little one let out his first cry. That same night a mother came in with a delayed miscarriage and so we were met with the paradox of great sadness and great joy all in one tiny space.

We are now in full swing for the next set of visitors who are the representatives of our major donor.

They will open the new building and a great celebration is being prepared.

All the podoconiosis patients will be fed, the building will be blessed by our local priest.

However the first baby to be born there, will be born today. Babies don’t wait for opening ceremonies!