As many of you know I have officially transitioned from being a Peace Corps Volunteer to working for Operation Smile in Madagascar.
I decided why not keep this blog and write stories about the awesome work Operation Smile is doing in country.
We recently held our 14th mission in Madagascar. The mission welcomed an international team of 80 volunteers supported by numerous local volunteers!
A new initiative and highlight of the mission was our Patient Village!
The Patient Shelter also known as the Patient Village, provided patients with daily workshops and educational activities. Our ultimate goal with the Patient Village is to offer patients and care givers’ a safe and positive place to stay, eat, and form a community.
The patient village offered:
– Three warm meals and good sleeping conditions (Mattresses and blankets)
– Educational workshops throughout the week focused on empowering our patients and their care givers. These workshops were organized and implemented by Peace Corps Volunteers, Local NGO’s (PSI), Local Community Members (ONN), and Local Student Clubs.
Here are some examples of the various workshops that our families were abel to experience:
- Nutrition and Healthy Foods
- Culinary Demonstrations
- Handwashing and Hygiene
- Dental Hygiene
- Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health
- Compost and Gardening
- Music and GamesZumba and Karaoke
- Arts and Crafts
These workshops were organized every day, allowing our families to learn new skills, build memories, and build a new community at the patient village.
Quotes from our families:
“I felt like although I was far, I had a community I belonged to. It makes me feel happy that I can share this experience with others”.
“I was able to make a home away from my home. I really enjoyed meeting people that are in the same situation as I am. It made me feel like I am not alone. My child is not alone.”
“I learned so many things this week! Gardening was my favorite, I believe I can make the same when I return to my village. I will be able to provide for my family.”
“I really enjoyed the dancing and singing. Zumba was so wonderful. I loved seeing vazahas (foreigners) move ! They really know how to dance!”
“I enjoyed preparing songs and speeches for the Operation Smile team. It was wonderful to share our culture with them, to show them how much we appreciate them helping us. We cannot offer much, but we sang with our heart and I think it showed them how thankful we are.”