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Today was all about community. Deb and Marie spent the morning cooking and playing with the women from the village health committee. They colored and worked on arts and crafts, and had more participation and enjoyment from the mothers than from the children. Our team continued to build stoves and had a great day getting to know new families.
Lunch was prepared by the women in the community and it took 20 minutes of musical chairs to properly seat members of the community and our team. We’re not exaggerating! At lunch we came together with our Medical Teams International community and the village community leaders to eat and discuss the needs of their village. We learned how the local government and committees work together to improve quality of life for residents. The city government, known as the “Cocodes,” embraces participation from women, which is empowering to see. Everyone had a voice and shared their hopes, including Theresa, the female representative of the Cocodes who said she wants to see her community continue to develop. She thanked our team for walking side by side with her community as we did our work.
There was a shift today in the stove building process. Community members took on the task to build their own stoves and help their neighbors. In fact, it was the children at the end of the day that were putting together pieces of the stove on their own.
The day ended with a kaboom! Lightning and thunder touched down just inches from some of our team member’s feet. Deb’s hair stood on end as Marie tried to take the umbrellas away from the children who were trying to stay out of the rain. The rain poured down and adventures continued; our van got stuck in mud. Between our team and the community members who came to help, we were finally able to be pulled out. Even the women and children helped. There was applause, real joy and celebration when we made it out. This was truly communities pulling together. Marie gave the children stickers as part of the celebration.
Today we learned about being equal in community. Even with our language barrier we easily worked together and provided each other with what was needed. It was a cool day.
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