I don't know if I spelled that right. Good thing you probably don't know how to spell it either!
On Monday, Naomi and I hopped on moto taxis and headed out to Nergue-Gam. It's about 12 kilometers away, and takes just over half an hour to get there. I love moto rides, so going to villages on them is always fun.
The people in the village had gotten some misinformation about what time we were coming, so apme of them had been waiting for us for several hours already. They were in no rush though. We spent some time talking with the village elders outside under a mango tree. Then we talked with the responsable at the health center in the village. Then we returned to the mango tree and they gave us tea and gateaux! This was a pleasant surprise. I love tea. And Chadian tea happens to be quite delicious.
When we finally started our health education, there were about 120 people gathered to listen. They say on benches or on mats on the ground. Most of the kids just sat in the dirt. (There's really no reason not to; everything is dusty and dirty anyway). This village seemed much more orderly than some of the other villages we've been to.
We gave some health presentations on topics like malaria, personal hygiene, dental hygiene, tuberculosis, and things like that. The people who came to listen were super attentive, asked applicable and useful questions, and commented on things that they had learned and what they could change as a result of this new knowledge. For example, malaria is transmitted only through mosquito bites. This might seem basic, but it's not common knowledge out in the bush. Some think that it comes from the rain (not a bad deduction; there are more mosquitos, and therefore more malaria, during rainy season). This sparked a little discussion about mosquito nets, and how they are designed to keep mosquitos away at night. They're not exactly meant to be used as fishing nets....
It was a really enjoyable time of learning and discussion. The people were enthusiastic and interested. Unfortunately very few men were in attendance...but I guess not everything can be perfect. After we finished our health lectures, we asked some questions of those in attendance, shook hands and received many warm greetings, and prepared to leave. But they weren't done with us yet. They led us over to a quiet corner with a table waiting, and brought us a meal! I was so surprised. The food was quite delicious. The hospitality was quite amazing.
I don't know how much of the health information we presented in this village was new to the people. I don't know whether they will act on what they did learn. But I think maybe they will. They were energetic and enthusiastic about every topic we discussed. We returned on Tuesday to do more health teaching, and today to do a mobile clinic. This evening when we were preparing to leave and there were still lots of people waiting for a chance to have a consultation with a nurse, one of the older women suggested to me that we sleep in the village that night so we could keep working longer. Seemed like a good idea to me...
I would eat fish sauce every day if I could do it with a group of motivated people who want change and progress for their village.