Jok and I spent five great days in Piol. We met and talked with the entire staff of the clinic. They are all from Piol and very dedicated. The vaccinators that we support form a very strong team. They are very excited to be able to save the lives of children. They travel to out-lying villages where all of the children are vaccinated. Kuol (the man under the tree in 2007 with two boxes of medicine) is now the supervisor of the vaccinators. He and the rest of his team send greetings to all those in Ohio and around the USA who have supported them over the last two years. The two Community Health Workers are leaders in the community and the local Episcopal church. They are both very dedicated to their work at the clinic.
On Tuesday we had a very successful meeting with the chiefs and elders of the Piol community. They were all very appreciative of the new maternal and child health building and thankful to SRUMC and all their support of the Buckeye Clinic. 26 speakers shared their thoughts and concerns in the 2 1/2 hour meeting. They identified the current need as transportation for patients who need referral for treatment and need to go to another health facility. They also said a fence surrounding the compound is needed in order to keep it sanitary and keep the animals out. The fence would also allow them to plant a community garden. Without a fence the goats would eat anything that grows. They also expressed great concern about the security in the area. Cattle raiding continues to threaten this cow-centered economy and their livelihood. Although some people have fled the area because of the insecurity, the clinic was given as one of the reasons that villagers feel better about remaining in Piol.
We gave Buckeye t-shirts to the chiefs and took plenty of pictures. The chiefs presented me a goat in honor of our visit. It was later roasted and enjoyed by all.
Yesterday we left Piol and drove to Bor, the state capitol. Today we had planned to fly to Juba, the federal capitol, but there were some issues with our “reservations”. The flight was full and our names were not on their list, therefore, we are spending an unexpected second day in Bor. This will make the day and half in Juba very busy, but I am confident we will accomplish everything that we need to. We have another meeting with Ministry of Health officials and will check out medical equipment and supplies needed for the clinic.