Update

Last week was a great week!  It was also a very busy week.  We visited centers, worked on establishing a medical baseline for the children served by BCC, and we had several dinners with friends!  It was wonderful to be able to get so much accomplished and have fun at the same time; however, we are incredibly exhausted and a little behind on some paperwork!

The Cornell students have proven to be a wonderful asset to BCC.  They are beginning to work in the day centers to establish a baseline medical record for the children with developmental disabilities served by BCC so the initiative can start.  They worked with students and doctors from the local medical school, KCMC, to design a central medical record that will be kept in the day centers.  This record will be used to track acute medical symptoms throughout the year.  The hope is that routine preventative healthcare visits in the centers will identify children’s’ illnesses earlier and that the data collected will be able to be shared with the doctor the child visits. 

We were able to collect the baseline data for 6 of the 11 day centers last week.  Next week we will work to collect the baseline data for the other 5 centers.  This will be incredibly helpful as we work to establish the alternative healthcare program!  When we receive more medical volunteers, we will work on a way to establish a record for the children who receive in-home supports from BCC.  The medical program is far from being complete, but the Cornell students helped BCC get a great jump start!

BCC is also working to establish a second bag cooperative.  There are a couple of tentative locations that Rosemary and Kaaya will check out, and there have been a few individuals identified who could participate in the new cooperative.  It is very exciting that the bags that the BCC caregivers are producing have enough demand to create the need for a second bag cooperative!  See below for one of the bags that the cooperative is creating!

As mentioned, we had a couple of dinners this week.  One dinner was in honor of the Faraja school for children with physical disabilities that we discussed in the “Through our Eyes” section last week.  It was very nice that we were included in this dinner and we were very grateful we were able to attend! 

We also met with a group of Nebraskan missionaries sponsored by the ELCA.  We met Rev. Martin Russell and a group that he brought to visit Southern Tanzania Wednesday afternoon for lunch.  They had a very tight schedule and did not make it to the BCC day centers, so we went to them and sold some of the cooperative items!  They were very supportive of BCC and many of the individuals in the group bought bags!  Also, another random group of Californians sitting in the cafeteria also bought bags!  We think we are becoming great sales people!  We will discuss the dinner for the long-term Nebraskan volunteers in Tanzania in the “Inspirational Tid-Bits” section this week!

This week we are preparing for the final week of July!  It is also the week we finally get a break!  We are going to visit one of Melissa’s former co-workers who is volunteering in Rwanda.  We will be in Rwanda from July 29 until August 4.  Our only real day off since coming to Tanzania was John’s birthday.  Besides that day, we basically work most hours that we are awake.  We decided that since July 30 will mark the completion of a third of our trip, we deserved a mini vacation.  We also joke with BCC that they are probably sick of us asking questions, so they need some time away from us as well!!

We have done some research on Rwanda before our trip; therefore, we will be writing about Rwanda in the “Through our Eyes” section this week.

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