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October 30, 2014 / catherinebwrites


On Sunday I travelled by bus to Mazabuka to meet my friend Sr. Anna Haakaloba – but more of that anon.

The real work started on Monday.   Alfred outlined his long-term training programme for  audiologists, technicians and community groups and showed me the slides.   Boy, was I  impressed!  This guy thinks big and he thinks practical. We sorted out the information we needed for the workshops and decided who would do what.

We spent Tuesday buying a printer and workshop materials and getting them organised for the week..          

On Wednesday Alfred, his assistant Precious,and I  rose at the skreak of dawn and drove to Health Help Zambia  in  Mazabuka where Jonas, the director, had arranged a workshop for doctors, nurses, social workers, government officials and local radio presenters.

Charisma in action.

Charisma in action.

This is where I saw Alfred in action.  He was charismatic.  Funny, intelligent and engaging, he’s an inspirational teacher. We discussed several of the social and medical aspects of hearing loss with the group and as a result we were besieged with questions and the nurses who attended  decided to learn sign language to be able to communicate with deaf patients. Wow!  Then the presenters from two local radio stations interviewed us.  This   meant that the information got to a much wider audience. 


Hanging on our words.

Hanging on our words.

Me in action.

On Thursday, back in Lusaka, Precious and I gave a workshop in Beit Cure Hospital for a mothers’ group.   These women belonged  to a local church and, as some of them needed help with English, so  Pastor Britian Lubasi acted as interpreter.

Pastor  translating for me.

Pastor Britian Lubasi translating for me.


Precious in action.

Precious in action.


I have to say a word about Precious, she is  young, she is  pretty, she is self effacing but, put her in front of a group and she’s totally brilliant.  Clearly she’s highly intelligent and even more clearly the  mother’s loved her.   Mostly we  focused on hearing problems in children and the importance of speech and language.   The mothers asked detailed questions based on their own experience and that of their families and neighbours.   They were delighted with the information and  they couldn’t wait to share it with their community.

Some of the mothers

Some of the mothers.

The Pastor too was grateful and thanked us profusely.   Then a woman announced that she was going to pray for us.   She prayed at length thanking  the Good Lord for sending us to share all this useful information.  Well the Good Lord and Age and Opportunity! 

 On Friday Alfred and I gave a workshop for the student nurses in Beit Cure Hospital.   The focus here was on the medical but we also included the importance of speech and language because, as nurses, their communities would look to them for accurate information.

The Student Nurses students

The Student Nurses

Students, of course, are students and inclined to be skittish but  Alfred turned his charisma-0- meter right up to 11 and they were soon eating out of his hand.    As usual we answered a wide range of  questions and corrected  some serious misconceptions.   Alfred gave the students a short test and encouraged all of them to visit him in the Audiology Department and become familiar with the work that was being done there.   

That night I went to dinner with  all the Audiology staff.  We laughed a lot and talked of nonsense… and maybe there was a beer or two involved.

The following  day I flew home via Harare, Addis Abbaba, Paris and finally Dublin.  

Money at last  where mouth was!

One Comment

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  1. joetwo / Oct 30 2014 8:37 pm

    A good story well told. Glad to hear of your work Catherine.


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