Saturday, July 16, 2011

Marching first event in Mabaruma

So remember about two months ago when I talked about persons with disabilities and special needs education, well last week I helped coordinate my first event in Guyana with the purpose of drawing positive awareness about persons with disabilities and to give the community an opportunity to address the needs, learn the history and celebrate these individuals in Mabaruma. The three-day event consisted of a march to draw awareness and two days of physicals for persons with disabilities that live in river communities. This type of event was the first of its kind in our community and I would say it was rather successful with 90 people attending the march. We started the march Tuesday morning at a shop down the road from the hospital and marched through the center of the compound to the recreational park with thirty-five children and adults with disabilities from five communities, their families, hospital and education staff, Peace Corps volunteers and community members. Once at the recreational park we had a one-hour ceremony that included an address from the rehabilitation assistant, a musical performance by the one and only Nathaniel Stewart (he is a musical icon here, if you didn’t know), and a finger-painting activity for all the children and adults that will soon be displayed at the hospital.

Following Tuesday’s event, I helped coordinate two days of physical examinations for children and adults with disabilities, that included an eye test, dental screening, vaccinations, physical exam with the doctor and a rehabilitation assessment. Twenty-seven children and eight adults were screened. This was the first time many of these people had ever stepped inside of the hospital, let alone received a full work-up. It was touching to see some of the adults so excited to receives glasses so that they could see better. One 35-year old man with Downs Syndrome had a fractured wrist for two months and didn’t even know it. But since he couldn’t move his arm due to so much swelling, we took an x-ray. Come to find out, he had two small fractures in his wrist after slipping on some mud. Once we set the bones, we were able to put it in a cast. Success! One young boy with cerebral palsy was fitted for a wheel chair and will now be able to move around and not have to be carried everywhere. Just some of the more memorable stories of the week. It was really great to see the staff at the hospital come together and help a very underserved community access medical care. After, three days of running around and dealing with all the hiccups events usually have, especially in a developing country (coordinating transportation was hell), I was extremely pleased with the outcome of the event. The icing on the cake is… I wrote a press release and Nate took some snazzy pictures and we submitted it to the national newspapers of Guyana. Guess what, one of them picked it up! Nate’s picture and a section of my article were published in color on the front page of “Stabroek News” nationwide newspaper. One event down, who knows how many more to come!

Does this look familiar?
It's the picture from the newspaper article. :)
Till next time.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on an awesome event and especially on the article! From all reports, it was a great event that I really missed out on. -Travis