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Door-to-Door in Chirimba

Clinician's Brief

May 2016

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Door-to-Door in Chirimba

Day 3

Another early start for us—up at 4:15 AM and on the buses by 5:30 AM. Our 8 groups (I’m with the Elephants) divided further into groups of 3 for our door-to-door visits throughout the town of Chirimba.

Jessie with Vincent and Yamikani, starting on their door-to-door mission.

Clinician's Brief

I traveled with Vincent and Yamikani, 2 local Malawi residents. Vincent has veterinary experience and helped vaccinate, while Yamikani helped fill out certificates. I collected data, and occasionally handled the animals.

We walked over 5 miles today through Chirimba, visiting numerous homes. We knocked on people’s doors (sometimes gates), and asked if they had a dog. If so, we offered to vaccinate for free. They were all appreciative, and occasionally we were invited inside to sit down for a visit.

It was another solid work day, from 8 AM to 4 PM. Most of us fell asleep (with smiles on our faces) on the bus back to the resort. The door-to-door mission continues tomorrow and Wednesday, May 4. This Thursday and Friday we head to Lake Malawi for a couple days off. 

Day 4

I'm starting to get used to the early mornings, climbing out of bed at 4:15 AM and getting myself on the bus by 5:30 AM. This morning, as the buses pulled away from the resort, I caught a glimpse of a pack of impalas (local resort residents), poised perfectly on the hill above. 

Spending time with the kids.

Clinician's Brief

We spent the day in Chirimba, this time in another area. We had a bit of a difficult morning getting oriented, and had a few struggles with the terrain, but were able to make our way. Each team carries a smartphone equipped with a path tracker and maps to help us navigate.

My team (Vincent and Yamikani) and I had fascinating conversations as we traveled and vaccinated. I’ve discovered that Yamikani loves music—he sings while we walk—and Vincent, who works for the Department of Animal Health, enjoys watching films and playing chess. Vincent and I have quite the routine down for vaccinating cats: the cats are placed in bags for their safety and we vaccinate through the bag. The bag seems to help calm them!

We had wonderful visits at the end of our day. The children often crowd around the van, waiting for us to come back. Many of them speak very clear English. One little girl asked where I was from; when I told her “Oklahoma” she said, "That sounds so pretty!" My teammate Sarah and I spent quite some time with the children (definitely made me miss mine).

Overall, it was another fantastic day. Tomorrow is our last work day for the week and then we will head to Lake Malawi for a bit of a break.—Jessie Foley


JESSIE FOLEY has a degree in veterinary technology from Cedar Valley College, as well as a degree in advertising and public relations from University of Arkansas. For the past 2 years, she has been production editor for Brief Media. She was previously on the veterinary nurse team at University of Tennessee Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Foley led Brief Media's efforts to build a team of volunteers for the Mission Rabies Mega Vaccine Drive in Malawi, Africa, and has joined the team in Africa.

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