July 28 7:04PM
I had the opportunity to spend a day at my host momma’s organization, “Call to Serve’. They are a home based health care NGO supporting and advocating for community members who suffer from TB, HIV/AIDS, chronic illnesses and various abilities. On Friday they led a regular community health promotion day. Being with this group of women for the day, watching them meet early, strategize and branch out into the community felt like I was with an unshakable force. This day was important to me because it showed me that I’m forgetting the endless different ways of seeing the world and prioritizing needs. I’ve never participated in community health activities and It was an eye-opener to see how little I knew. Here is a funny example: we partnered with the ministry of health for the event and had a ‘sister’ (a nurse) present who was talking about breasts. I was in and out of the conversation but I heard things like “I would use that one” and ” Id rather have one more perky”. I thought they were talking about breast implants for women who had a mastectomy. One of the women brought out a large rubber looking breast and held it out for the group to see. I was a little confused, and thought “why would a woman want that heavy-looking, thick, hard breast to replace the one they removed?!” So I asked, “would you put that under your bra?” The health promotions officer from the department of health looked at me with such shock and confusion –I think she was mildly disgusted with my ignorance– and responded “No, this is for breast-feeding demonstrations”. haha I have to admit I was embarrassed for a second but tried to comfort myself by thinking ‘hey, that was a legitimate question!’
Any who, this is supposed to be a PF entry so I don’t want to write too much. Aside from that little funny anecdote the day itself was a heady one for me. I often forget about physical health when I think about communities. I was glad to listen in on some of the conversations and learn that simple steps such as brushing your teeth are causing huge health issues here. Children are losing their deciduous teeth and some of their mouths are filled with rotten teeth and bear gums. The dental hygienist scolded some of the mothers there for brushing their own teeth and not their children’s. Each child was given a tooth-brush toothpaste. I left there wondering what other factors came into play that led to this absence of tooth brushing.