Gathering Stories – Meeting New Friends

Since arriving in Lilongwe my senses have been on high alert. It is warm but not hot as it is spring moving into summer here. The air is often mingled with smoke. I asked about this and was told that fields are burned to prepare for planting. This takes place from August to the end of October. In November, the rainy season will begin. The rainy season is not the best time to be in Malawi owing to increased Malaria risk according to our TCH doctors. We will be home before it begins. Even so, our TCH-Baylor physicians and other healthcare providers stay and provide compassionate and skilled care that is making a huge difference in the lives of children and their families here.

Today, my work mates and I met many of the physicians and other healthcare heroes providing this care. We toured one hospital and one clinic providing specialized-care – one for children and one specializing in caring for women with obstetric fistulas. It was impossible not to be moved. In both, the care that is provided transforms desperate situations into hopeful ones. Key takeaways for me were these: what is being done here is working, education plays an enormous role in helping those receiving healthcare and that healthcare providers are dedicated, resourceful and skilled at making certain that those in need get the care that they need. The models for care being provided at both the hospital and the clinic could be replicated and successful across the world touching and improving the lives of many in need.

I can see why Malawi is referred to as the warm heart of Africa. My theory is that is because the people here are so warm and welcoming!