Day 3 in Africa
110km covered on the motorcycle today. Tarmac for the first hour, and then the rest on uneven surfaces. Have to say that I enjoyed the ride. Hard not to, passing through the most beautiful landscape I have seen. It was great to be out all together on our little mission.
But there was a purpose to our journey - just like the Riders for Health professionals who do this kind of trip every day. We visited 2 clinics. They were queuing at the doorway as we arrived. Mother, babies, men and women, young and old. The babies were weighed and logged, vaccinations were given, blood samples taken, and result of tests for HIV and TB given. Delighted to say we witnessed a young women get her HIV tests back, NEGATIVE.
The patients have a bit of a journey to get to the clinic. Lesotho is vast, people live sporadically. BUT, without this clinic, their journey for health/good living would be over 60km's (it would be like walking 2 marathons every day) an IMPOSSIBLE journey for mother with child, or a pregnant women. In fact, pretty impossible for all of them. To be frank, they wouldn't make it, over time they would deteriorate, and die.
I spoke with many patients in my broken local language and through our guide Mahali (her title is RfH programme director, but I see her more as a saint!) these patients would not be able to survive without RfH. Basically, it was a 40 minute journey on a motorcycle to reach them. No bike, no medicine, certain death. The roads are not good enough for 4 wheels. So it has to be done on 2.
The system is a good one. It works. There's still so much work to be done, something we hear all the time. But there is hope…
An honour to be here today to observe. Humbling. The local people I met are happy, they live in the most beautiful surroundings, but live with the most ugly diseases.
I'm sat outside in the dark in the middle of nowhere writing this. I feel a sense of 'hope' for the people I've met today.. can't wait to get going again tomorrow..
ps. Our team here are able to update our twitter 'on the road', thanks for all your comments.
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