Nkhata Bay recap

Better late than never! What a crazy two weeks it has been. Access to Internet has been limited so we apologize for the delayed blog posts. Last week Sunday (12 June) a small group of us (Jayce, Kalee, Ashley, Dr. Helms-Tillery, and myself) drove up north to do outreach in Nkhata Bay with our ABC friends Peter, Elijah, and Kamuzu. Nkhata Bay is about a 45 minute drive from Mzuzu and is located on the coast of Lake Malawi. The chalets at Mayoka Village were just a stone’s throw away from the lake, and each night we fell asleep to the sounds of the lake right outside our windows. We enjoyed an incredible view each morning before leaving for clinic. In addition to the great view of the lake, we also enjoyed the company of some monkeys that inhabit the area each morning at breakfast.

We were stationed at Nkhata Bay District Hospital and worked closely with Jon and Lonika, a Dutch couple who have been involved in deaf education in Malawi for several years. After surveying the people of Nkhata Bay and realizing the huge need for ear health and hearing care, they hoped that we could assist them in providing these services to those in need. Nothing like this had ever been accomplished or even attempted in the Nkhata Bay area, so we had our work cut out for us. But that week was nothing short of successful! With the help of Jon, Lonika, the clinical staff from NBDS, and the students from the deaf school who prepared delicious lunches for us each day, we saw over 250 people and fit close to 100 hearing aids over the course of three days! We couldn’t have done it without their hard work and incredible hospitality.

I know that I speak for my fellow ASU group members in saying that we greatly enjoyed partnering with Peter and the ABC students, as we all worked very well together and also managed to have a bit of fun outside of clinic. We spent a few of our evenings playing cards and board games after dinner. We ended our time in Nkhata Bay by celebrating Jayce’s birthday on Wednesday night with the help of the Mayoka employees, who baked him a birthday cake and insisted that he give a speech in front of all other dinner guests (video available upon request).

Though this was an exhausting work week (because of clinic AND the crazy stairs we climbed to get to and from our chalets each night), I learned SO much from my teammates and the others that we worked with. And now that we’ve had our first taste of the lake, I’m so excited for our trip to Cape Maclear this weekend!

-Elise

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