Sorry for the lack of recent posts, the Internet is still non-existent in parts of Malawi. The girls spent the past week at the Mua School for the Deaf. The boys left on a separate outreach trip for a few days and were definitely missed! The accommodations in Mua were very “African” to say the least…. Bats, giant spiders, and other ominous bugs haunted each of our rooms. The girls toughed it out and became master bat dodgers and bug killers by the end of the week! Each room represented its own spiritual animal or person. Stories outside the room told what the person or spirit represented.
The days at the school were long and busy! We saw about 165 students in two days, which kept us quite busy. A prominent hearing aid manufacturer was here about 3 weeks ago and fit nearly every child at the school with hearing aids. We performed our typical testing battery and added in a little extra hearing aid evaluations. Although many of the students were not receiving the benefits we would normally require back at ASU, we were glad we were capable of providing services and increasing their satisfaction. The children at Mua were extremely proud to wear their hearing aids and you could tell they took extra care to ensure they are in good working condition. We had fun interacting with the children! Even though we only have one team member who is fluent in sign language, we learned how to communicate quickly and overall the week went well! During some down time, the kids enjoyed watching us dance to the “Cupid Shuffle.” Some of us got some dance shows in return… These kids had moves!
The last day at Mua, we opened the doors to local villagers. Like many we have seen, they were extremely grateful that we could see them. We saw a lot of wax and drainage and a lot of time was spent counseling on how to keep ears clean and dry. A few men from our lodge even came to get their hearing checked! I think they were excited to see us at work and be a part of our experience. We ended the day on a high note with a little boy named Peter who stole our hearts. He played with Paige and Jacey while his hearing aids were being programmed and gave us all a few good giggles. He had a huge smile on his face when he got his hearing aids! Smiles as big as his make this whole trip worthwhile.
We were also excited to have Courtney join us for the week. For anyone who doesn’t know, Courtney was an ASU student who came on the Hearing for Humanity trip and fell in love with Malawi. After coming twice as an AuD student, Courtney came a third time and stayed. She’s currently working in southern Malawi in a new clinic in Blantyre. Who knows, maybe that will be one of us in a few years! It was great to have another Malawian outreach expert on the team!
This will be our last night with Internet for a few days, as we are headed to Zambia for the safari tomorrow! Woo hoo!