Boost for African clinic: Stouffville team helps build addition to its latest Igoma partnership project
With the help of volunteers from the Stouffville Igoma Project, a medical clinic in Africa will soon have an addition for an infant care facility and a laboratory.
Work on the addition was started by the project team and about 20 workers from the Tanzanian village of Igoma during the team’s three-week stay there.
By the time the team returned to Canada in mid-June, the clinic’s foundation was complete and project members had handed out more mosquito nets and helped build a church in another village.
About 20 Igoman residents worked on the foundation, which was built from the rocks on the property.
To break the rocks, they were heated in pots and split once the first cracking sounds were heard.
Men and women carry rocks and concrete in small slings, resembling stretchers.
Igoma residents have continued construction on the clinic and the walls are almost up.
The clinic was originally built in 1988 by volunteers from 13 churches in this area. It can now serve residents 24 hours a day.
The project pays salaries of the doctor and clinic officers, who are much like doctors in training.
One staff member is having his two-year study program as a laboratory technician paid for by project.
Funds from the project also enable another Igoman resident to be trained as an ultrasound technician.
The project team brought along about $15,000 worth of medicine to the village, which has a population of about 40,000.
To make sure there will be more tradespeople in the village, the project is funding the education of 10 people at the nearby vocational school.
Education is a focus for the project in a country where only about 10 per cent of young people attend high school.
“Education is a huge problem,” project chairperson Peter Neufeld said.
The project’s latest endeavour is to send at least five students to high school this year.
“We want to expand that program,” Mr. Neufeld added.
In addition, project volunteers want to have 1,000 mosquito nets hung in the village this year.
Volunteers who want to join a team going to Igoma pay their own fare and accommodation. The cost is around $3,500.
The major fundraiser for the project is an annual dinner and dance, which is planned for Oct. 19 at EastRidge Evangelical Missionary Church.
By Hannelore Volpe
Staff Writer, Stouffville Sun-Tribune