Ndathokoza!

I’m grateful!

Mike, Mei and Katherine were excellent critical thinkers, full of energy and supportive colleagues during the past two weeks. They were teachers – sharing their knowledge of physical therapy with doctors, nurses, community health workers, patients and families. And, they were listeners – being sensitive to the culture, compassionate and responsive. Patient care in Malawi is complex. You have to think through what you are doing and consider the many facets of your care. Every step of the way, Mike, Mei and Katherine showed respect for the patients, their families and the hospital staff involved in care. We had a lot of fun together, as well. I hope their experience here has nurtured reflection and sparked a passion for global service.

Yendani bwino! Have a safe journey home.

Dr. Nesbit

Mike and Mei giving "thumbs up" or "bho" to the five children on the pediatric ward who are on traction and are doing their bed exercises as they see us walk by.

Mike and Mei giving “thumbs up” or “bho” to the five children on the pediatric ward who are on traction and are doing their bed exercises as they see us walk by.

Mike, Mei and Katherine in front of St. Gabriel's Hospital.

Mike, Mei and Katherine in front of St. Gabriel’s Hospital.

Mike working with a patient in the village.

Mike working with a patient in the village.

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Tsalani Bwino Malawi!

Stay Well Malawi!

As our journey here in Malawi comes to a close, we reflect back on the many wonderful memories we have made here: our porch dogs Bobby and Timmy, our walks to the village for bread and vegetables, our afternoon soccer games with the locals, our hikes around Namitete, and of course our interactions with patients at St. Gabriel’s Hospital. The new friends we have made here and the impacts they have had on our lives will stick with us forever. Thanks to all of our friends and family who supported us throughout this experience and a special thanks to Dr. Nesbit without whom none of this would be possible. See you all soon!

 

Tionana!

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Kodi Mukufuna Kuyenda?

“Do you want to walk?”

Many of our patients suffer from strokes – or other disorders – that limit their ability to walk safely. Some were tailors, others primary schoolteachers, and some of our patients were children. With our limited Chichewa, we often ask our patients “kodi mukufuna kuyenda?” Without fail, each of them was always motivated to get up and walk, and they, along with their caregivers, were open to learning the techniques that we introduced. Each patient has shown great progress over the past week, and I wish we were able to continue to monitor their growth.

Tomorrow is our last day with the patients, and it has been an incredible journey to be able to interact with the patients and their families as we develop programs to encourage optimal movement patterns.

Tionana (see you later).

Playing cards with our patient to make treatment more exciting, while working on posture and upper extremity function.

Playing cards with our patient to make treatment more exciting, while working on posture and upper extremity function.

Walking to the village to treat a patient.

Walking to the village to treat a patient.

 

Odwala

Patient

Happy Monday! We began our week by treating patients in the hospital who may benefit from physical therapy. We have been working with patients in the hospital as well as at patient’s houses in the village.

The patient’s and caregivers have been very keen on following each specific step of what we are doing. A few days ago we evaluated a patient following a stroke and performed joint movements to assess tone and range of motion. The following morning we came back for a physio session and the patient’s caregiver wanted to show us what she has been doing to help her sister who had the stroke. Without being trained, she performed the exact joint movements we performed the day earlier during our evaluation. We were all impressed and smiled at her ability to mimic the movements even though we had only performed the movements for an evaluation and had yet to instruct the caregiver on exercises.

We are excited to see what tomorrow brings!

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Mwakhoza!

“You were successful!”

Our community volunteers were incredibly successful with the training program. Each day they became increasingly more confident with their ability to perform specific physiotherapy skills. On the final day of training the volunteers had the opportunity to demonstrate their skills on patients from the local village who needed physiotherapy. We were moved by their performance. They were detailed with their instructions and precise with their techniques. There was no doubt that they were more than prepared to successfully start treating patients in their respective villages.

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Alikanene Titamanga

“They talk, we run”

We have not forgotten about you!  It has taken us a few days to load pictures and login to the blog, but we are excited to be able to share our experiences with you thus far. We have concluded the 4 days of training with the community volunteers. On our first training day, they all sang “Alikanene Titamanga”, which tells a story about how people in the village can talk all they want about them, but they are all volunteers and they run; they run to help patients, and they run to tell the chief about all the sicknesses in the village. These inspiring volunteers all have jobs, but they have taken it upon themselves to serve as community health care volunteers to try to improve the lives of each ill patient in the village. We came here to teach, but we have learned more than we had expected.  We are ready to embark on our new journey to treat local patients for the remaining week.

Group activities with the volunteers.

Group activities with the volunteers.

Final day of training!

Final day of training!

Tionana.

Mwaswera bwanji?

How are you? (afternoon greeting)

As we become more comfortable with our new friends, the greetings become more informal.  Today we were introduced to Suave and Alex who work at St. Gabriel’s Hospital will be assisting us with our training.  Suave is a clinical officer (similar to a physicians assistant) who specializes in palliative care.  He has already scheduled us to treat patients this week!  Alex is our main point of contact who will be our translator throughout the training.  We are looking forward to getting started tomorrow!

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St. Gabriel’s Hospital. December 8th, 2014

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Katherine and Mei in front of the main entrance to St. Gabriel’s Hospital

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Mike trying to take credit for Katherine’s hard work 🙂

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Dr. Nesbit and Mei working hard on the posters.

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Having fun in the village

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Afternoon soccer game!

Zikomo. Tionana. (Thank you and see you later)

Muli Bwanji?

How are you?

Greetings in Malawi are a very important part of everyday life here in Namitete.  We have found that our knowledge of the Chichewa greetings have come in handy. A simple “Hello how are you?” or “Muli bwanji?” has brought many smiles to the people of Namitete as we walk through the village and around the hospital.

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A walk to the village

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Large mancala game in the local village

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First soccer game

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Namitete’s local furniture factory

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Pizza dinner made on the stove w/ pumpkin leaves

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Malawian donuts for dessert (For Dr. Mansoor)

Tsalani bwino (Stay well)

Tsalani bwino, tionana anzanga

Stay well and see you later my friend

Finals are over and we have landed in Malawi, Africa! After 20 hours of flight time and we are settling in at the Zitha house at St. Gabriel’s hospital. Its hot and humid but we are making dinner and playing cards with a cool breeze around us. We look forward to a restful sleep and time tomorrow to prep for our training session on Monday!

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Flight leaving SF0, December 4th 2014.

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Malawian Sunset from the porch of the Zitha House, Saturday Dec 6th 2014

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Arrived in Namitete, Malawi. Dec 6th 2014

Tsalani bwino, tionana anzanga

Stay well and see you later my friend.

Finals are over and we have landed in Malawi, Africa! After 20 hours of flight time and we are settling in at the Zitha house at St. Gabriel’s hospital. Its hot and humid but we are making dinner and playing cards with a cool breeze around us. We look forward to a restful sleep and time tomorrow to prep for our training session on Monday!

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Flight leaving SF0, December 4th 2014.

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Malawian Sunset from the porch of the Zitha House, Saturday Dec 6th 2014

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Arrived in Namitete, Malawi. Dec 6th 2014

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