When we have a team of volunteers in Ethiopia, I always ask the team to bring any donated funds with them so we can host a huge feast for the kids - and be able to meet any needs we become aware of while we are at the CarePoints. There are always a few concerns or opportunities that come up while we are there, and this year we used our pooled funds to purchase tennis shoes for ALL 130+ kids at Trees of Glory (the rough terrain really wears out their shoes quickly), to purchase a bible for each child at Onesimus and Kechene CarePoints (we had already purchased a bible for each child at Trees of Glory and Kind Hearts with a t-shirt fund-raiser) and most importantly to set up a medical fund for Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory so that we have funds readily available if any child requires medical care.
The children at our CarePoints do not have any type of medical insurance and their families cannot afford medical care. When there is an injury or a sickness, oftentimes medical care is delayed because of the lack of funds ... and sometimes it is delayed until it is too late. We want our CarePoints to have the ability to intervene and seek/provide medical care if a child requires it. We want each child to have the same opportunity for good medical care and treatment that our own children would have.
The kids and the staff are not accustomed to having medical care, so many times a child won't even report an injury or a sickness and they just try to deal with it and hope it gets better. While we were at Kind Hearts CarePoint, Juree noticed one of the kids limping, even though she was actively playing with her friends and joining in all of the activities. It was Metike, one of the little girls who has attended the CarePoint for nearly two years. I always call her by her first and last name, because it rhymes and she giggles every time ... Metike Aweke.
I went looking for her, and found her playing with her friends, while favoring her foot. I gestured to her foot asking if I could see it. It looked like she had stepped on a piece of glass or something and it looked to be buried deeply in her foot and painfully infected.
We knelt down in the dirt, rinsed it and cleaned it as best we could, then applied antibiotic spray, and bandaged it to keep it clean.
We brought it to the attention of the teachers and CarePoint director and asked them to have a doctor treat it right away. We paid for her treatment while we were there - which sparked the conversation about a medical fund so that situations like this can be addressed immediately.
The next day - we checked on Metike and found out that the doctor had cleaned the wound and given her a shot of antibiotic to control the infection - and she was to go back the next day to have the debris extracted from her foot. Having the medical fund readily available will help to make sure that the kids are able to get the medical care they need promptly. It also ensures that the staff knows the funds are available and that they don't need to hesitate in seeking medical care for the kids.