Sunday, July 20, 2014

In memory of the Foresters

Last week I went with Keita and his colleague Barry deep into the bush to begin a new Trachoma operations campaign. This time we  (   -projects) was sponsored by my father’s old college companions. My father Sten died before I was born, but his college pals have continued as a close unit of friends throughout their lives, and my mother and I have always been part of their community. Finally, when my mother married again she chose Gillis, another one of these old foresters. They are now all approaching their nineties, and sadly many of them are departing. This spring three of the old men died in the space of a month. Those that remain decided to honour the memory of their three friends by donating money to MaliMali’s eye operations which we have been carrying out sporadically over the last seven years. The message above reads ’ Thank you, the Foresters!’

Keita, Barry and I  travelled across a smiling early rainy season country side where the millet and the corn had started to grow and where the villagers were busy weeding the furrows. 
Once we arrived at the village of Noguna, some fifteen k from Djenné the examinations started on the villagers who had been waiting for our arrival.
The village chief’s house became a make shift hospital where Barry carried out the operations with the assistance of Keita.

This time we operated only three people, since many of the people that had turned up were suffering from cataracts, and that is a more complicated operation which cannot be done in a village setting. MaliMali has sponsored cataract campaigns too (see blogs December 2011 and 2013) and then a specially equipped  truck arrives to Djenné from Bamako with a team who operated on a 100 patients. This is very expensive (6 000 000 FCA= E9230). In comparison a Trachoma campaign like the one we have just begun costs 500 000FCFA (E770) and we will operate on 50 patients over the next few weeks in many different villages.