Teen Club

Saturday, I came to the clinic for the monthly Teen Club that they do. It’s a really cool program.

 In the morning, the kids get medical care– either a doctor or a nurse visit, depending on what they need. Then they get a free lunch. And, then, there are a variety of games for them to play.

 I saw patients with Dr. Anjalee, which was interesting. I met a kid who got switched off first line therapy, not because he failed adherence and built up a resistance, but because he was experiencing side effects. (Peripheral Neuropathy, to be specific.) But he was doing a really great job of following the more complicated second line regimen. (He had a huge jump in his CD4 count, which is really nice to see!)

Lunch was a typical Malawian meal, except that it had rice instead of nsima. (Which is good, because I like rice more than nsima.) I ate with Amanda and Jenny, two nursing students from Seattle who have been around for a while.

After everyone is done eating, the kids form a huge circle and start chanting/singing in Chichewa. It took us quite a while to figure out what was going on, but we decided that they must have been introducing the newcomers. They dragged in a group of 5 English people, all of whom were very nice (Patty, Simon, Katherine, Sophie and Chris.) Then, they dragged in Amanda, Jenny and me. It was fun and a little embarassing.

 Then, we had the kids divide up based on what activity they wanted to do. (They could choose between football, volleyball, song and dance, and arts and crafts.) I ended up playing football with them. It was really fun, but I’m so bad! I haven’t played in years, and when I did play I was a goalie. So, my fieldwork is really quite terrible. The kids were nice, though, and didn’t laugh at me (much.)

It was really nice to see these HIV positive kids be so happy and healthy and excited. But it was sad to realize that the kids who were alive and playing were fewer than those who had died of the disease by this time. (75% of children born with HIV will die by 7 years of age if they don’t recieve treatment.)

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