The finer points of the community health care (CHC) training can, on the surface seem mundane and obvious and although gaps in knowledge and understanding are unpredictable and astonishing it is the application that presents the challenge. Couple this with ‘traditional’ knowledge, the witch doctor and ‘mother knows best’, progress can be asthmatic at times and the miss-application of part-knowledge truly terrifying.
Whilst visiting a fledgling school that somehow functions with valiant voluntary teachers in dusty, tiny hot tin shacks with near zero resources and in the noisy shadow of a ramshackle charcoal factory, I was summoned into a family home. The tiny informal shacks present impossible challenges and the open-fire water pan had become dislodged midnight, emptying its boiling contents onto a toddler sleeping inches away. The physical damage to sixty percent of the child’s back defied description. The application of toothpaste in the mistaken belief in its medical properties was dumbfounding. The toddler was beyond tears.
Clearly there is still some work to do.
(This article is not meant as criticism of those concerned but to highlight the real life challenges that face the residents of Kibera daily. The toddler concerned was later taken to a clinic and the expenses covered. The toddler’s physical injuries are in recovery; the mental trauma is going to take a while longer.)