Recently, there was an incident in my community that struck a cord with me. A 40 year old man decided to go fishing with some of his nephews in a river that runs through my community. Mom calls it my village, but it’s like a small (500) people. Being an epileptic, the man had a seizure while fishing in the river, and consequently fell in. Being as no one he was fishing with knows how to swim, no one jumped in to save him. By the time, help was called ( and when I say help I do not mean 911 or local police) the man had been swept by the current in the river down towards the nearby lake. This happened about four in the afternoon on a Monday. Neighbors, friends and family (mostly the male populous) soon after started a rescue party beginning to search down the river. However, there was one tiny BIG problem hindering the search rescue. The river is filthy dirty. When I say dirty, I mean human and animal feces, you name it trash residue, and whatever falls in. The people who did know how to swim did not want to jump in to look around, go figure. Every time I think there is positive progress here, I am reminded by the fact that this is a developing country, with significant problems in action-solving here. When the police were finally called, there was little they could do, considering they did not want to jump in either. Everyone is upset that no one will jump in to search the waters, when really they should be upset that the water is an issue in the first place. Sidenote, people also take water from the river, to drink as well. I know. Can’t even begin to think about it. Long story short, man was discovered in the lake 72 hours later. And its usually custom here to have a vela, kind of like a wake, except the whole community shows up for free food and coffee. But there was no vela, only burial service because the time they found the body, there wasn’t much of a person left. The whole incident was upsetting because of the duration of the search and the issue with the water. These are the people I will be working with for the next two years.
As a result of this event, local government and myself have iniated a campaign for swimming lessons. Don’t worry, this will be done at local pool and not feces water.
Also the doctor assigned to my community and myself have been talking about coordinating a first aid and cpr workshop. No time like the present I have been telling myself. So along with the swimming classes, and first aid, maybe just maybe someone who was affected by the training will be able to rescue someone in need. Dramatic? Maybe. But life here is just like that. Things that we associate as basic functioning So So needs are not even passerby thoughts here. Events like this remind me why I am here.